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Biracial Korean teacher promotes openness through education

By Lee Hyo-jin

Debby Basu, 27, is a teacher at Kumchon Elementary School in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. Born to an Indian father and Korean mother, she was raised with a bilingual talent and openness to other cultures.

Basu decided to become a teacher when she was in elementary school, wanting to have a positive influence on others. And now she is achieving that goal, sharing her experiences and answering students' questions to broaden their perspectives on cultural diversity.

Debby Basu / Courtesy of Debby Basu
Debby Basu / Courtesy of Debby Basu
"When I introduce myself to the class on the first day of school, I explain to them about my unique background, which they find quite fascinating. I believe the interest will lead them to develop an awareness of ethnic diversity in our society," Basu told The Korea Times.

Recalling her childhood, people's misperceptions of biracial families was the only real difficulty she encountered growing up, she said.

"A wide assumption here is that all multicultural kids are going through some kind of hardship due to prejudice or discrimination, which wasn't true in my case and many others," said Basu, adding that she was just a typical student, no different from other teenagers.

As a member of the civic advisory committee on multicultural family support measures at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Basu highlighted the importance of public education on multicultural awareness to the young generation.

"Although the influx of foreigners is a global phenomenon, it is difficult to expect a high level of cultural openness from the elderly generation in Korea, as they are not used to it," she said.

Basu believes that dispelling hostile attitudes can be done in the classroom at elementary schools, as "public schools should educate children to respect and accept foreign cultures so that they can grow up to become members of an inclusive society."

But she pointed out the lack of regular classes on multiculturalism in the current education curriculum, and expressed her hopes that the educational authorities will better acknowledge its importance in the near future.

Married to a Cuban national, Basu witnessed the services for marriage migrants after her husband moved to Korea in March 2020. Although her husband is satisfied with his new life here in general, she viewed that there is room for improvement.

"Foreigner-related policies are too focused on the countries from which Korea receives most of its marriage migrants. We were a little surprised that a lot of governmental documents were poorly translated into Spanish, one of the most spoken languages in the world," she said.



By Lee Hyo-jin

Debby Basu, 27, is a teacher at Kumchon Elementary School in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. Born to an Indian father and Korean mother, she was raised with a bilingual talent and openness to other cultures.

Basu decided to become a teacher when she was in elementary school, wanting to have a positive influence on others. And now she is achieving that goal, sharing her experiences and answering students' questions to broaden their perspectives on cultural diversity.

Debby Basu / Courtesy of Debby Basu
Debby Basu / Courtesy of Debby Basu
"When I introduce myself to the class on the first day of school, I explain to them about my unique background, which they find quite fascinating. I believe the interest will lead them to develop an awareness of ethnic diversity in our society," Basu told The Korea Times.

Recalling her childhood, people's misperceptions of biracial families was the only real difficulty she encountered growing up, she said.

"A wide assumption here is that all multicultural kids are going through some kind of hardship due to prejudice or discrimination, which wasn't true in my case and many others," said Basu, adding that she was just a typical student, no different from other teenagers.

As a member of the civic advisory committee on multicultural family support measures at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Basu highlighted the importance of public education on multicultural awareness to the young generation.

"Although the influx of foreigners is a global phenomenon, it is difficult to expect a high level of cultural openness from the elderly generation in Korea, as they are not used to it," she said.

Basu believes that dispelling hostile attitudes can be done in the classroom at elementary schools, as "public schools should educate children to respect and accept foreign cultures so that they can grow up to become members of an inclusive society."

But she pointed out the lack of regular classes on multiculturalism in the current education curriculum, and expressed her hopes that the educational authorities will better acknowledge its importance in the near future.

Married to a Cuban national, Basu witnessed the services for marriage migrants after her husband moved to Korea in March 2020. Although her husband is satisfied with his new life here in general, she viewed that there is room for improvement.

"Foreigner-related policies are too focused on the countries from which Korea receives most of its marriage migrants. We were a little surprised that a lot of governmental documents were poorly translated into Spanish, one of the most spoken languages in the world," she said.



이효진 lhj@koreatimes.co.kr


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