On Wednesday evening, June 1, a heated lecture was held at the lecture hall of Hong-Jae Library in Gwang-gyo. The key words of the lecture were Suwon & Multiculturalism. On this day, Yeon-kwon Kim, a professor in the department of French Language and Literature at Kyong-gi University, gave a lecture on the concept of multiculturalism, multicultural families and foreigners' position in Suwon, and ways to coexist peacefully with them. Though the lecture room was not full, the lecture room was filled with enthusiasm of the people who had discussions and questions afterwards.
Ο The idea of multiculturalism
What kind of idea do people think when they hear about multiculturalism? Some people will think of positive images such as co-existence and symbiosis, or some people will have a negative image due to Oh Won-chun's incident occurred in five years ago.
In fact, multiculturalism makes no sense. Culture is a natural phenomenon to create new forms and change, while intertwining, exchanging, merging, and mixing with each other. In other words, multiculturalism is an internal process of culture - heterogeneous cultural groups coexist, change, and create new cultures within a society. There is something intrinsically wrong with the argument of multiculturalism.
People often tend to create certain categories, such as 'immigrant women' and 'foreign workers', when they refer to multiculturalism. Categorizing cultural groups is to assume a dichotomous views, dividing them with us, creating the confies of our own communities in our heads. In other words, it aims to target and objectify multicultural families and foreigners.
Ο 2 types of multicultural model
There are two types of social model for multiculturalism. The most ideal model is the Canadian mosaic model, which completes a single picture as a whole, but maintains each color and size. The key is to achieve unification as a whole, while having ones’ own unique colors.
The second model is the melting pot, the U.S.'s past policy. Because it is difficult to follow the ideal mosaic model in a multicultural society, fusing minority cultures into multiple cultures is the heart of this model. The different elements melt together into a harmonious whole with a common culture for a homogeneous society. Integrated, but Individuals disappear.
Ο Ideal multicultural model
There is a need for dynamism, creating a new culture by combining and interacting with pre-existing people and new people within themselves, through mutual communication and mutual exchange. The method of communication - after you draw the line, and speak to them "hey you guys, come to this way." - is quite far apart from the ideal. To get closer to the ideal, we need to reflect on the value of multiculturalism in a humane.
Ο Multiculturalism in Korea
It is clear that Hines Ward brought some social controversies about multiculturalism from around 2006. Korean nationalism, unlike nationalism as it exists in multiethnic countries, is partially based on the concept of pure bloodlines. Before Korea became aware of Hines Ward, Koreans just didn't think very much about multiculturalism. However, with this incident, many have come to realize that their ethnic identity is not a fixed thing.
South Korea has undergone many changes. In 2009, The Multicultural Family Assistance Act was enacted, and government started to establish multicultural centers and invest a budget to them. The national charter of education changed, too. Still, the problem is that multicultural families are seen as something to be looked after, rather than living together. It seems to lack an interaction (interactive aspect). We need much change from this time.
Ο Suwon city as a multicultural society
The city of Ansan in Gyeong-gi Province has the largest multicultural population, followed by Seoul’s Yeong-deung-po district, Suwon city. But after 2017, Suwon is expected to overtake the Yeong-deung-po District. Because the number of multicultural families in Suwon is rising rapidly across the nation. (The growth rate of foreigners in Suwon is approximately 13%.)
☞ Picture from Supporting Service Guide for Foreign Residents in Suwon
Ο Why they gather around to Suwon?
Traffic is easier than other cities. It is easy to go to Ansan, Seoul, because of Suwon Station. So it seems to have increased from Suwon Station. The most important public institution for foreigners is the Immigration Office, and the Immigration Office is located in Yeong-tong, Suwon, Gyeong-gi Province.
There are also many foreign support organizations. Mayor, Tae-young yeom is promoting Human City and providing educational supports to multicultural families.
Ο First foreigner in Suwon & The current population
According to records, Suwon's first foreigner is Enver; Catholic French priest. Missionaries and merchants usually visited here first. Since 2000, the census of foreigners in Suwon have taken. It is a foreign demographics in the modern sense. Nowadays, many foreigners came to take classes at universities.
Ο The most foreigner-populated area in Suwon
Foreigners are living the most in Paldal-gu. West side of suwon - Godeung-dong, maesan-dong, seryu-dong - is most populated. In the modern era, the railway was connected, and West Suwon - the south gate and Suwon Station. - was developed mainly. Then, as the modernization, the east side developed much later. (Construction of a new Highway) Approximately 95 students in Jindong Elementary School, 80 students in Seryu Elementary School, and 60 students in Namsuwon Elementary School are attending now. (There is a special class at Ji-Dong, which have a bilingual program.)