Racism at Emory (Yun Ch’i-ho & Kitty Andrew)

I’ve always heard about the segregation and slight racism my family experienced growing up. As they are originally from South Africa, my parents were raised during the apartheid. Populations were divided by color, and we fell under the category of “Asians”.  By no means did my parents bring this up regularly and I’m not suggesting that I’ve had to deal with the same situations, but it allowed me a parallel when reading Urban’s article on Yun Ch’i-ho.

Yun came to the US at the age of 24. He was considered an exiled politician from Korea because he was associated with a failed uprising in Seoul (Loftus). He spent two years at Emory with the purpose of helping the Church’s missionary expanding to Korea. Once here, Candler took him under his wing and we hear about all the experiences through Yun’s diary.

Surprisingly I assumed that Yun would have experienced more racism taking into consideration that he was at Emory in the 1890’s. It seemed like in an all white school, the only racism mentioned was when he became infatuated with a white woman and would hear that it was not appropriate by close friends. This happened on multiple occasions, for example, when Nettie Candler was quoted saying, “You didn’t stay there long enough, as if had you stayed long, you could have gotten one” which was interpreted as no white women would think of a Korean that way.

Yun was always in a position where he was overanalyzing everything that went through his mind subconsciously. If he said something, he would make sure it didn’t offend his peers. If he saw an attractive woman, he would think how it would affect her future. He was very cognizant of his interactions while at Emory, and I think his experience would have turned out completely different had he not.

I thought the article on Kitty’s Cottage was refreshing to read in which a person with important community standing makes a decision. In a time where black women had little rights, Andrew took a stance against popular beliefs. The end result was Andrew building a cottage near his house that allowed the black slave, Kitty, to stay in America as a free woman.  This cottage is now behind Oxford’s Old Church and holds a great deal of history.

Romance and Race in the Jim Crow South: Yun Ch’i-ho and the Personal Politics of Christian Reform

Kitty’s Cottage and the Methodist Civil War

http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/spring2004/korean.html

 

3 thoughts on “Racism at Emory (Yun Ch’i-ho & Kitty Andrew)

  1. In reference to the part of your post dealing with Yun, I agree that it is interesting that he does not mention more about racism in general toward him, but only when it comes to gaining the affection of a white woman. Though this resonated something I have heard being a practice here in the South, which is called the blue bloods. From the way it was described to me was that you were considered white if the blue of your veins was visible through your skin. Now, this was more traditionally used when trying to determine the race of a mixed baby. But let’s face it the South has never really been known for having the most well educated people, and therefore, my point is if this practice was commonly used, even though he obviously not Caucasian (but his skin was light enough) then this may have played a role in why he was not writing as much about racism toward himself more.

  2. Sumo: you say in your post “the only racism mentioned was when he became infatuated with a white woman and would hear that it was not appropriate by close friends.” Why do you think THAT is where it would surface? Why might this racism from his white classmates appear around Yun’s possible romantic relationships with white women? Also important to keep in mind is that we are just getting a snap shot of Yun’s archives in the Andy Urban article. I wonder if we would find more references to racism and/or discrimination if we read all of his diaries?

    • When I mentioned he would receive racist comments from friends, I think I oversimplified to get my point across. There is very little mention of racism in Urban’s article aside from the mention of the Candlers. Maybe it is naive to think that he did not deal with more racism, but I will continue to assume that unless I find more information.

      In regards to why it would only surface when romance was discussed:
      Urban had a way of emphasizing Yun’s love life. I think that was a majority of the focus of the paper, so Urban would have had difficulties fitting in other occurrences of racism (if other instances did occur).

      There is a good chance that if we read through more of Yun’s diary, we would events of discrimination. If that is the case, I would definitely read Urban’s article in a different light.

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