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Framed by WarKorean Children and Women at the Crossroads of US Empire$
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Susie Woo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479889914

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479889914.001.0001

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Mixed-Race Children and Their Korean Mothers

Mixed-Race Children and Their Korean Mothers

(p.148) 5 Mixed-Race Children and Their Korean Mothers
Framed by War

Susie Woo

NYU Press

This chapter looks at what happened to the Korean women and children who remained in South Korea. It sets the stage by describing how President Rhee’s 1953 directive to remove children with American fathers to the United States heightened the vulnerability of those who stayed. The South Korean government worked closely with Harry Holt and in 1954 established Korea’s first welfare agency, Child Placement Service, expressly to remove mixed-race children. The chapter describes how US racial identification practices used to determine which children were “part-black” were introduced to and became institutionalized in South Korea. It also describes how Korean women were erased in this process. They were coerced to give up their mixed-race children and were offered no support from either government. For the children, solutions ranging from segregated schools to welfare reports that pathologized them as “social handicaps” relegated this population to the margins. The chapter ends with a consideration of how mixed-race children and the mothers who fought to raise them navigated the ongoing legacies of US militarization in South Korea.

Keywords:   mixed-race children, US racialization, US militarization, Harry Holt, President Rhee Syngman, Child Placement Service, birth mothers, vocational training, social welfare, disabilities

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