Banana? Fresh Off the Boat?: Self-Perceptions and Dissociating from Other Koreans

Banana? Fresh Off the Boat?: Self-Perceptions and Dissociating from Other Koreans

November 23, 2021


  • Grace Kangmeehae Lee, President, KMH Future Financial Planning Inc. and Co-Founder, Citadel Property Management Group (1st gen)
  • Harry Kim, Project Coordinator, City of Toronto (1.5 gen)
  • Jean Kim, Co-Founder, LYP Program Inc. (1.5 gen)
  • Henna Choi, Lawyer, Karoly Law (2nd gen)
  • Edward Jang, YorkU Schulich Undergraduate Student (2nd gen)

With moderator, Hannah Sung
Award-winning journalist and Co-founder of Media Girlfriends

At this event, our panelists consider how internalized racial oppression (IRO) leads to concealing aspects of one’s identity and to intra-ethnic othering (calling Asians “FOB” or “banana”) and dissociating – distancing oneself from other Koreans or Asians. Through what lens do Koreans see themselves and other Koreans? How do racial and ethnic stereotypes (about Asians and/or White Canadians) impact our self-concept and how we think of other Koreans? How do they impact our behaviour and our interactions with other Koreans?

In alignment with and building on the series of anti-racism conversations beginning in 2018, we again turn the microscope inward and ask how we might build more cohesion and inclusion within ourselves, within the community and across structural divisions such as migration, gender, language, and nation. As a community, do we experience self-loathing? Why are there very few Korean-Canadians on the Order of Canada (for example)? Do we do enough to lift up and support community leaders? How do we overcome these barriers and build an inclusive and supportive community?

Open to all, this second Korean-Canadian Student Conference is co-organized by the York Centre for Asian Research, the Korean Office of Research and Education, the Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation, York University’s Hallyu-Dongari and the Canada Korea Business Council in collaboration with the Korean Consulate in Toronto. Funding is provided by the Korean Consulate in Toronto and the Academy of Korean Studies.