[Daniel Fiedler] Segregating children is wrong

[Daniel Fiedler] Segregating children is wrong

The Korea Herald

Daniel Fiedler, Professor of Law
Wonkwang University

This year under the guidance of the Seoul Office of Education a new elementary school and a new high school were opened in the Seoul area. While generally the opening of new schools would not be cause for comment, in this case the new schools are specifically for children who come from “multicultural” backgrounds. The high school is designed to educate “multicultural” teenagers who have dropped out of regular public high schools, while the elementary school will operate as a regular school but with special emphasis on teaching Korean culture and language. The Seoul Office of Education argues that this is a necessary and progressive approach to assist in the education of these children; however, segregating these students from their Korean peers is neither appropriate nor desirable for the future of South Korea. And the use of the term “multicultural” to describe these children is a thinly disguised euphemism for mixed-race or mixed-descent, a concept that has no place in 21st century discourse.

For a comparison one only has to look to the failed experience of the United States in segregating the races during the first half of the 20th century. In the United States the euphemism used was “separate but equal” and the idea was to have schools only for black children and schools only for white children. The United States then extended it to separate cars on trains, to separate public bathrooms and even to separate drinking fountains and soda shops. However, after almost 60 years it became apparent that the “separate but equal” approach was an abject failure and, in 1954 the United States Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Since that time integration and equality have been driving forces behind affirmative action programs in education, employment and everyday life in the United States. Nonetheless, the United States still struggles with the impact of that half century of segregation as reflected in the racist attitudes that still exist among the less educated and provincial members of American society…

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