Update: for two great views on this topic, please read these pieces side by side:
The Metropolitician: "Be White"
Adeel "Taking the Metropolitician Challenge"
You've seen this video, if you read the K-blogs. It's been discussed elsewhere...
1. This video is from May -- which pleases me. This video was made by Koreans, for Koreans -- unlike "banning" dog meat during the olympics, this video isn't a performance for a foreign audience. It's Koreans trying to start an earnest discussion. We expat bloggers and viewers didn't figure into it at all. I like that Koreans are deciding to start these kinds of conversations.
2. It's only two guys, and a 5 minute video: who knows what story the original footage told. I'd be surprised if the narrative was as clean as it's presented to be.
It's impossible to make a general statement about whether Koreans are racist or not, just from this. Absolutely impossible. (Though the youtube commenters have been quick to do exactly that.)
Here's a research proposal of sorts: How to Make This Experiment Actually Tell Us Something About Racism in Korea.
(soundtrack: Mashup-Germany - Top of the Pops, 2011. Love these year-end mashup things.)
A. Count the number of passersby in the full hour of filming, or film until a set number of pedestrians pass by. Or until the subject of the experiment (the white guy, or the SEAsian guy) has approached and spoken to a set number of people (say 200, or 500). Send them out so they spend an equal amount of time approaching strangers on the weekend, the daytime, the afternoon, the evening, and lunch break.
B. Make a few categories of responses, say:
1. stops longer than ten seconds and helps
2. gives less than ten seconds of help
3. passive negative response - averts eyes, moves to other side of sidewalk, walks faster, etc.
4. active negative response - says "no" or responds with hostility
5. does not notice
Log the responses from video footage, so that different subjects can be compared in terms of their rate of the different types of responses.
C. Train the subjects to use the exact same wording and body language in their approaches. If you have the budget, have one set of subjects being more direct, and another set being less direct... in the exact same way, with the same wordings and gestures, as much as possible.
D. Ensure there are equal numbers of male and female, good-looking and unattractive, tall and short subjects in each group.
E. Find that variety of subjects across more than two races: South-east Asian, South-Asian, Middle-Eastern, North-African, Central-African, Caucasian, Latino/Hispanic, and East-Asian.
F. Repeat the experiment using similar groups, similarly trained, or the same group in:
1. a residential area
2. a busy downtown area
3. a popular tourist area
1. a big city
2. a medium-sized city
3. a tourist town/area
G. If possible, have an equal number of subjects approaching people speaking Korean (the local language) and English (a commonly spoken cosmopolitain language).
H. Repeat the exact same experiment, as closely as possible, in several major cities on each continent, or in a big city, a medium-sized city, and a tourst town/area in several countries on each continent/region of the world.
Gather statistics. Crunch numbers. Compare.
IF, across all those factors, Koreans still treat the white guy more favorably than the dark guy, TO A GREATER EXTENT THAN the average of all the groups of people, from all the places, in all the data we've gathered... and far enough above the average that it can't be accounted for with the margin of error inherent in gathering statistics...
we can say that this video shows Koreans are more racist than other countries.