On March 10, an interview video of a professor resided in South Korea with BBC News became viral of various reasons. The video is starring an interviewee called Professor Robert Kelly, a woman called Jung-a Kim, a daughter called Marion (4 y.o.) and a son called James (9 months). Have you seen the video?
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 10, 2017
Most people initial reaction of the video are funny at how refreshingly candid the children are during the professional setting of the BBC interview. When I first saw the video, the caption already said the woman is the wife so I never assumed she’s the nanny ever. I do wonder a bit of the resemblance of the kids to both parents, that’s my first thought. Then I thought the kids are adorably innocent compares to the serious setting of the interview. I did wince a bit at how cold the father is towards the goofy children, he does not look like a warm father to me, but I gave him benefit of doubt, yea he may be flustered as well and just trying to control the smooth continuity of the serious interview. I also noticed how frantic the woman’s manner is, she looks panic and guilty, which gives a stark difference to the interviewee. I believe she can be calmer in handling the situation despite the serious talk. Still I gave her another benefit of doubt, thinking that she might just express involuntarily at how unfamiliar she is in this serious situation caused by her children.
Setting benefit of doubt aside, few hours after the video published and comments flooding in, an article came up saying how the writer notices many people assumed the woman who dragged the children away is the nanny instead of the wife. Interesting is my first thought because I did not even skim through all the comments of the video. It only seemed real once I saw another reaction of my Facebook friend who also identify her as nanny despite the video caption mention wife. So I decide to look into it a bit more detailed.
Few days since the video went viral, there are only more and more people notices how so many people identify her as nanny instead of wife. These are the contrasting reasonings about the identification I’ve read so far:
The negatives said that people assumed she is the nanny because of the racial inequality or white supremacy that make people think Asians are more likely to be a nanny than a wife to a white professionals. Asians are also more likely to just work there with the sole responsibility to take care of the children away when the interview was proceeding.
The positives said they assumed so firstly because of her manner, she did not seem calm enough as their mother to shove away the children, she behaves more like a nanny who is doing horrible mistake in her work and about to be penalised or fired in her job. Secondly, it’s the husband’s manner who looked like he is an angry employer who is about to penalise / fire the woman who is supposed to keep the children away from the important interview.The positives basically saying that no matter what her race is, it’s her mannerism that fuels the assumption.
My conclusion is it is fair enough to say that both the parents’ mannerism may look like they are in employee-employer relations instead of husband-wife relationship. But it does seem wrong to still assume so when the video you saw clearly stated that she’s the wife. It makes me question further, is it again the racial issue? mannerism issue? or simply ignorance of the clear caption when watching a video?
As an Asian woman myself, I do want to believe the world is becoming a more equal place where there’s no racial assumption impaled on each race, so we can co-exist without racial prejudice and really getting to know each other as an individual. However after watching this video trends unfold, I honestly can’t help to re-surface this racial issue, currently simply observing how people / writers’ opinion toward this interesting case.
My second and my last question is “Why no one asked Jung-a Kim’s point of view about the viral video?”
It bothers me for days now that no one has not thought to give her a voice and publish them (of course) to express her opinion as the wife / woman who shove away the children towards this phenomena. Here I will give a elaborate explanation on why it is important, just in case anyone think I am just winding things up bigger than it should be.
- The professor/the husband is already contacted afterwards about writing this phenomenon on Twitter.
- Even the professor’s mother got asked of her response towards the video of her son’s family going viral as published first by Daily Mail. Ellen Kelly interviewed by Daily Mail. Well I know she is the mother of the infamous professor-who-keep-his-cool during the interview, but she is not even on the video, why interview her instead of the other character aka the wife who is clearly seen in the video.
Now, why there’s no media / article give the wife some space for her opinion? I could only think of three reasons :
- It’s racial and sexist issues that women of colour is rarely given a voice in the world’s talk.
- It’s her privacy as in she does not want to be contacted for any interview.
- It’s language barrier which means she does not speak good English so the media which mainly uses English as its language of communication fails to communicate with her.
- She is just oblivious / indifferent to any media attention and gladly to be out of it.
Any other way, I think if I got the all the resources I need, I would gladly interview her and see what she thinks of the phenomena about that video of her family going viral. Even if she is actually indifferent of the result, I think it’s a good outlet to give woman of colour some voice they need and to serve as an implicit support that woman of colour’s voice matters and should be given more room in the world’s talk. On the other hand, woman of colour themselves should again be encourage to actively express her voice more in the world’s talk despite the lack of room. In the context of Jung-a Kim, I want to emphasise that her voice matters even though she may be a simple housewife / yoga teacher who wants to keep her life simple, and despite being a wife of a professional / professor.
In terms of language barrier I would comment no more than it’s just a menial matters in my opinion. If I got the chance to interview her, I would gladly find an interpreter / Korean friend who can help me through the interview in order to listen to her opinion.
Lastly, if she was indifferent to the media attention or to protect her privacy as most Koreans seemingly believes in, it’s all her own rights to do so. No one should do otherwise but again her voice could serve a lot more purposes as stated above than she realised.
As a final remark, this article is just a result of curious inexperienced / resourceless graduate who sincerely eager to read the article of other experienced / resourceful journalists of respected media who will give Jung-a Kim a voice and cover her opinions about the video. I believe her response is most likely to be interesting than boring.