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Robert E. Kelly’s Nanny? No, She’s His Wife.

If you’ve been surfing the Internet this weekend, you’ve probably seen this video: “Children interrupt BBC News interview”.

Robert E. Kelly, a Political Science professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University, and his family became an instant hit overnight. The video of his interview concerning Korea’s former President Park Geun Hye’s impeachment – which I do recommend watching for his diplomatic words – shows a very rattled father attempting to keep his cool when his children decide to crash the party. It’s got to be the funniest thing I’ve seen this year. Luckily, an Asian woman swoops in for the rescue! The video’s humility and charm has raised many discussions and of course, memes. However, among the many responses, the casual racism is outstanding. It shows that there is still a long way to go.

Social media responses show assumptions that the woman herding the children away is the “nanny.” Seeing posts such as “Immigrant nanny probably got chewed out/fired,” or “I bet the nanny was fired!” upset me deeply. These “jokes” are not funny. In fact, the woman in the video is Kelly’s wife.


Robert E. Kelly (centre) with his wife Jung Ah Kim (on the right)

Even in the news, reporters refer to the woman as the “nanny.” These remarks may not be purposely malicious or directly racist; however, it shows prejudice and a lack of judgement. Such casual racism may lack the intent of hurting other races, but imagine the people on the receiving end. There is still harm and humiliation in words such as “Oh, the Asian nanny.” When people tell me, “Jenny, you’re a really pretty Asian,” I wonder why can’t I just be a pretty girl? What if one day I marry a Caucasian, and we have children. Are people going to ask me, “How long have you been working for the family?” It hurts knowing that people still can’t get past the idea of different ethnicities, and it really shows that there’s a long way to go.

It starts with speaking up, either for yourself or someone else. Let’s shut down racism together.


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