[Vice News] North Koreans Facing Discrimination in Koreatown, Los Angeles

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Facing Discrimination

Los Angeles currently holds the largest number of North Koreans, and Vice interviews current North Koreans that have defected into the United States. One interviewee said that North Koreans would rather live in Los Angeles over Seoul because they would not be discriminated as much, because non-Koreans would just assume that they were Korean people. But in Seoul, they would face discrimination more often, where everyone knows you are from North Korea.


Another North Korean explains that at a place where she works, once they found out she was from North Korea, they stopped treating her with respect, and even tried to withhold her pay. She also wishes for reunification in that it would bring peace of mind for everyone, in addition to her family residing in North Korea.


There are a few reasons that I can think of that explain why North Koreans that defected are being treated this way. This hostility can be traced back to the age groups of different South Koreans. The older generation that directly experienced or was directly affected by the Korea War have more of a solid connection, whereas the younger generation never lived through what the conditions were at the time. This leads to the younger generation thinking that North Koreans are of completely different heritage from South Koreans.

Because of this perspective view, younger South Koreans find it hard to accept North Koreans as “one of them”. In order for reunification to become reality, they need to accept that whether you’re North or South Korean doesn’t matter under the umbrella of one Korea. Discrimination should not be a thing, as it shares similar characteristics to racism. There is no point to treating another differently just because they’re from North Korea.