Saturday, April 21, 2012

D-day 8: I am Korea-American


Chapter 1 The First Wave of Korea Immigration
Chapter 2 Korean Picture Brides and the Korean Independence Movement in America
Chapter 3 The Korean War and the Second Wave of Korean Immigration
Chapter 4 The Immigration Act of 1965 and a New Group of Korean Americans
Chapter 5 Striving for the American Dream and Korean Small Businesses
Chapter 6 Korean Churches in the United States
Chapter 7 Los Angeles Koreatown: Past and Present
Chapter 8 Korean Americans and Education
Chapter 9 Korean American Ethnic Identity



© Korean American History
Hyeyoung Kwon (University of Southern California)
Chanhaeng Lee (State University of New York at Stony Brook)
Korean Education Center in Los Angeles 2009

Chapter 3 The Korean War and the Second Wave of Korean Immigration

Background:

Liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule (Photo from the Organization of Korean Historians)

In 1945, Korea finally won its independence from Japan. However, Korea‟s hope to gain the sovereignty of the nation-state was increasingly threatened by the Cold War. After World War II, the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States turned the Korean peninsula into a war zone from June 25, 1950 until July 27, 1953 when the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. Koreans refer to the Korean War as literally Yugio (June 25) since it marks the date on which the North Korean Army crossed the 38th parallel, a dividing line chosen by U.S. military planners at the Potsdam Conference of 1945 between North and South Korea.

The Korean War brought about devastating consequences for many Koreans. During the three years, according to Ramsay Liem, three million civilians lost their lives and approximately two million troops were killed or severely injured in the battlefield. Due to the war, the peninsula was again divided into two Koreas along the Demilitarized Zone. This division separated many Korean families. A report of the Korea Red Cross indicates that about 10 million family members were separated. Despite the massive number of casualties and its horrible effects on many Korean families, the Korean War remains the “Forgotten War” in the eyes of American people because it was eclipsed by the triumph of World War II and the defeat of the Vietnam War.

Korean refugees in P„ohang on August 12, 1950 (Photo from Harry S. Truman Library and Museum Photograph Database)

The Korean War brought a massive number of American soldiers into South Korea. A report estimates that the number of American soldiers reached approximately 330,000 during the Korean War. Among them, 70,000 military personnel remained in South Korea after the ROK- US Mutual Defense Treaty signed on October 1, 1953.

While the presence of American soldiers influenced the lives of all Koreans, it had the greatest effect on the women who were employed on the military base or worked around the stations. Many women worked on the base as interpreters, clerks, receptionists, cashiers, cooks, and waitresses. Just outside of the stations, other women worked in bars and clubs. For those Korean women, American soldiers represented the ideal of material abundance. They also viewed marriage to an American soldier as an effective means to avoid the patriarchy of Korean society.

With the passage of the War Bride Act of 1945, wives of American soldiers were free to immigrate to the United States on a non-quota basis. About 6,000 Korean women took advantage of the law to immigrate to the United States as GI wives, accounting for 40 percent of Korean immigrants from 1950 to 1964. This period is commonly called the second wave of Korean immigration. The number of Korean military brides reached its peak in the 1970s and 1980s. Each decade witnessed the immigration of 40,000 Korean women as wives of American servicemen to the United States.

Upon arriving in the United States, Korean military brides developed their own communities. Many Koreans associated military brides with prostitutes, and as a result of this stigma, they were targets of ostracism in Korean American communities. They also failed to blend into the American mainstream society due to racism and cultural isolation. They were often expected to retain Orientalist traits of Asian women such as “docility, deference, and domesticity” by their husbands. Though many military brides tried to raise bicultural and bilingual children, there was enormous pressure on them to raise their children in the so-called normal American way. However, within the community of military brides, they were able to share their unique hardships with each other.

Young Ja Wike (left) on a documentary film And Thereafter: A Korean “War Bride” in an Alien Land (2004) directed by Hosup Lee (Photo from KoreAm Journal)

Adopted Korean War orphan, Kang Koo Ri in 1956 (Photo from Time magazine)

Another group that entered the United States during the same period was children who were war orphans or the offspring of mixed parentage. As a consequence of the Korean War, many children in Korea became orphaned while some parents had to give up their children due to extreme hardship and poverty. Many parents painfully let go of their children, believing that America would provide better opportunities for their children. Approximately 5,000 children came to the United States as adoptees, with more girls than boys. Along with Korean military brides, these adopted girls accounted for more than 70 percent of Korean immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s.

Many adoptees grew up in predominantly White middle class neighborhoods without many opportunities to interact with other Korean Americans. Adoptive parents believed that they had to help these children assimilate into the American mainstream society rather than expose them to Korean culture. As a result, many Korean adoptees grew up without learning about their heritage and culture. Recently, however, many adoptees have started to speak out about their unique experiences of isolation and discrimination. They also started to form support groups such as the Korean American Adoptee and Adoptive Family Network, the Adopted Korean Connection, the Boston Korean Adoptees, the Korean Adoptees of Hawaii, and so forth to create their independent, yet common identity.

Lastly, another outcome of the Korean War was the increasing number of highly educated Korean Americans who came to the United States. Influenced by American cultural dominance in South Korea, about 6,000 Korean students entered the United States between 1945 and 1965 to seek higher education. A few students returned to Korea after receiving their college degrees, but many of them managed to stay and establish permanent residency and even became naturalized citizens.

References
1. Chan, Sucheng (1991). Asian Americans: An Interpretive History. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
2. Kim, Bok-Lim C. (1977). “Asian Wives of U.S. Servicemen: Women in Shadows.” Amerasia Journal, 4(1), 91-115.
3. Lee, Daniel Booduck (1990). “Marital Adjustment between Korean Women and American Servicemen.” In Hyung Chan Kim and Eun Ho Lee (Eds.), Koreans in America: Dreams and Realities. Seoul: Institute of Korean Studies.
4. Liem, Ramsay (2005). “Creating Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the „Forgotten War.‟” In Ramsey Liem and Seung-Hee Jeon (Eds.), Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the “Forgotten War.” Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Still Present Pasts.
5. Paik, Sook Ja, and Kim, Dong Soo (1998). “Revisioning of Family Reunions: A Case of Korean American Women and Their Families Separated by War.” In Young I. Song and Alice Moon (Eds.), Korean American Women: From Tradition to Modern Feminism. Westport, CT: Praeger.
6. Yoon, In-Jin (2005). “Korean Diaspora.” In Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, and Ian Skoggard (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Culture around the World. NY: Springer.
7. Yoon, In-Jin (1997). On My Own: Korean Businesses and Race Relations in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
8. Yuh, Ji-Yeon (2003). “Imagined Community: Sisterhood and Resistance among Korean Military Brides in America, 1950-1996.” In Shirley Hune and Gail M. Nomura (Eds.), Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology. NY: New York University Press.

Click on Read more for Korean translation



© 미주 한인 역사

번역이찬행 (뉴욕주립대학교)
로스앤젤레스 한국교육원 2009




3장 한국전쟁과 제2차 이민 물결

배경:

Liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule (Photo from the Organization of Korean Historians)

1945년 한국은 마침내 일본으로부터 독립을 쟁취했다. 하지만 주권 국가를 이루려는 한국의 소망은 냉전으로부터 점차 위협을 받게 된다. 2차 세계대전 이후 소련과 미국의 갈등은 한반도를 1950625일부터 정전협정이 이루어진 1953727일까지 전쟁터로 탈바꿈시켰다. 한국인들은 한국전쟁을 보통 육이오(625)라고 부른다. 왜냐하면 이 날은 북한군이 위도 38도 분계선, 1945년 포츠담 회의에서 미군측이 남한과 북한 사이에 설정한 경계선을 넘은 날이기 때문이다.

한국전쟁은 많은 수의 한국인들에게 파괴적인 결과를 안겨주었다. 램지 림에 따르면, 3년 동안의 전쟁에서 3백만 명에 달하는 민간인들이 목숨을 잃었으며 대략 2백만 명의 군인이 전투 과정에서 죽거나 크게 부상을 입었다. 전쟁으로 말미암아 한반도는 비무장지대를 경계로 다시 둘로 분리되었으며 그 결과 수많은 가족들이 생이별을 겪을 수밖에 없었다. 한국적십자의 보고에 의하면 이산 가족의 숫자는 1천만 명에 달하고 있다엄청난 사망자 숫자와 한국인들이 겪어야만 했던 끔찍함에도 불구하고 미국인들에게 한국전쟁은 제2차 세계대전의 승리와 베트남 전쟁의 패배에 의해 가려진 잊혀진 전쟁으로 남아 있다.

Korean refugees in P„ohang on August 12, 1950 (Photo from Harry S. Truman Library and Museum Photograph Database)

한국전쟁으로 수많은 미군이 남한에 주둔하였다. 연구에 의하면 한국전쟁에 참전한 미군의 숫자는 33만 명에 달했다. 이들 가운데 7만 명은 1953101일 체결된 한미상호방호조약에 따라 남한에 주둔하게 되었다.
미군의 주둔은 한국인의 삶에 커다란 영향을 끼쳤다. 특히 미군 기지에 고용되었거나 그 주변에서 일하던 여성들에게 미군 주둔은 가장 커다란 영향을 미쳤다. 한국 여성들은 미군 기지에서 통역관, 사무원, 리셉셔니스트, 캐시어, 요리사, 웨이트리스 등으로 일했다. 여성들은 미군 기지 밖에 있는 바와 클럽 같은 곳에서 일하기도 했다. 이들 여성들에게 미군은 물질적 풍요라는 이상을 표상했다. 한국 여성들은 또한 미군과의 결혼을 한국 사회의 가부장제를 벗어나는 효과적인 방법이라고 생각했다.

1945년 전쟁 신부 법안이 통과되면서 미군의 아내들은 쿼터의 제한을 받지 않고 자유롭게 미국으로 이민을 올 수 있었다. 6천여 명의 한국 여성들이 미군의 아내 자격으로 이민을 왔으며 이는 1950년에서 1964년 사이 전체 한인 이민자들의 40퍼센트를 차지하는 규모였다. 이러한 이민 물결을 제2차 이민 물결이라고 부른다. 미군의 아내로 이민을 온 한국 여성들의 숫자는 1970년대와 1980년대 각각 약 4만 명씩을 기록하며 정점에 달했다.

이들은 미국에 도착한 이후 자신들의 커뮤니티를 형성하기 시작했다. 한국인들은 미군의 한인 아내를 매춘부와 연관시켰으며 이러한 오명의 결과 이들은 한인 커뮤니티에서 배척의 대상이 되었다. 미군의 한인 아내는 또한 인종주의와 문화적 고립으로 말미암아 미국 주류 사회에 완벽하게 섞이지도 못했다. 한인 아내를 둔 남편들은 아내가 아시안 여성들에 대한 오리엔탈리즘적인 특색들, 유순하고 복종적이며 가정적인특색들을 지니고 있을 것이라고 기대했다. 이들 여성들은 자녀들을 한국어와 영어를 사용하고 양쪽의 문화에 익숙한 아이들로 키우고자 했지만 이른바 정상적인 미국식으로 키워야만 한다는 압력도 많이 받았다. 그렇지만 이들은 자신들이 형성한 커뮤니티 안에서는 그들만의 고유한 어려움을 함께 나눌 수 있었다.

Young Ja Wike (left) on a documentary film And Thereafter: A Korean “War Bride” in an Alien Land (2004) directed by Hosup Lee (Photo from KoreAm Journal)

Adopted Korean War orphan, Kang Koo Ri in 1956 (Photo from Time magazine)

비슷한 시기에 미국에 이민을 온 한인으로는 전쟁 고아 혹은 혼혈 아이들이 있었다. 한국전쟁의 결과 수많은 아이들이 고아가 되었으며 몇몇 부모들은 극심한 어려움과 가난 때문에 아이들을 포기할 수밖에 없었다. 많은 수의 부모들은 미국이 자녀들에게 더 좋은 기회를 주리라 믿었기에 고통스러웠지만 입양을 선택했다. 대략 5천 명 가량의 아이들이 입양되었으며 이들 가운데는 여자 아이들이 훨씬 더 많았다. 미군의 아내로 이민을 왔던 한인 여성들과 한인 입양 여자 아이들은 1950년대와 1960년대 한인 이민자들의 70퍼센트 가량을 차지했다.

입양된 한인 아이들은 대부분 백인 중산층 지역에서 성장했으며 한인들과 접촉할 기회를 갖지 못했다. 한인 아이들을 입양한 부모들은 아이들에게 한국 문화를 가르치기 보다는 미국 주류 사회에 동화될 수 있도록 도와야 한다고 믿었다. 그 결과 상당수의 입양 한인들은 자신들의 유산과 문화에 대해 배울 기회가 없이 성장했다. 하지만 입양 한인들은 최근 자신들이 겪었던 고립과 차별에 대해 말하기 시작했다. 그들은 또한 여러 후원 단체들(the Korean American Adoptee and Adoptive Family Network, the Adopted Korean Connection, the Boston Korean Adoptees, the Korean Adoptees of Hawaii 등등)을 만들면서 독립적이지만 공통적인 자신들만의 정체성을 형성하기 시작했다.

마지막으로 한국전쟁이 가져온 또 하나의 결과는 고등교육을 받은 한인들의 미국 이민이었다. 미국의 문화적 지배로부터 영향을 받은 약 6천여 명 가량의 한국 학생들이 1945년과 1965년 사이에 보다 수준 높은 교육을 받기 위해 미국에 들어왔다. 이들 가운데 몇몇 학생들은 학위를 마친 뒤에 한국으로 돌아갔지만 대부분은 미국에 머물면서 영주권을 받았으며 일부는 미국 시민으로 귀화했다.

참고문헌
1. Chan, Sucheng (1991). Asian Americans: An Interpretive History. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
2. Kim, Bok-Lim C. (1977). “Asian Wives of U.S. Servicemen: Women in Shadows.” Amerasia Journal, 4(1), 91-115.
3. Lee, Daniel Booduck (1990). “Marital Adjustment between Korean Women and American Servicemen.” In Hyung Chan Kim and Eun Ho Lee (Eds.), Koreans in America: Dreams and Realities. Seoul: Institute of Korean Studies.
4. Liem, Ramsay (2005). “Creating Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the „Forgotten War.‟” In Ramsey Liem and Seung-Hee Jeon (Eds.), Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the “Forgotten War.” Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Still Present Pasts.
5. Paik, Sook Ja, and Kim, Dong Soo (1998). “Revisioning of Family Reunions: A Case of Korean American Women and Their Families Separated by War.” In Young I. Song and Alice Moon (Eds.), Korean American Women: From Tradition to Modern Feminism. Westport, CT: Praeger.
6. Yoon, In-Jin (2005). “Korean Diaspora.” In Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, and Ian Skoggard (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Culture around the World. NY: Springer.
7. Yoon, In-Jin (1997). On My Own: Korean Businesses and Race Relations in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
8. Yuh, Ji-Yeon (2003). “Imagined Community: Sisterhood and Resistance among Korean Military Brides in America, 1950-1996.” In Shirley Hune and Gail M. Nomura (Eds.), Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology. NY: New York University Press.




✎ From the ☾ moon that shines bright as a shooting star ☆

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