Key, Taemin, and SHINee’s production team issue apologies for colorist remarks towards Minho, which is something at least

Okay wow, while I was busy getting excited about shitposts and Chuseok, apparently I missed a whole controversy with SHINee members Key and Taemin coming under fire for colorist remarks to fellow member Minho.

In a segment from SHINee’s self-produced series SHINee-ing, the trio were having a chat in bed, and the convo turns towards Minho’s skin color:

Taemin commented to Minho, “Ever since you started playing golf, when I see you, all I can see are only the whites of your eyes and teeth.” Key also remarked, “Why did you get so sun-kissed/tanned? If Minho closes his eyes and mouth at night, you’ll go, ‘Minho?’” while mimicking a search with his hands for Minho.

While this would’ve drawn backlash no matter what, it was likely made worse by the fact that these kinds of comments directed towards Minho are nothing new for him, and he honestly seemed to give the kind of courtesy laugh to it that one does when they’d prefer to roll their eyes or tell people to shut the fuck up.

Anyway, eventually Key and Taemin each issued apologies in Korean and English, while PRISM Production Center issued one in English.

Unfortunately, the Korean netizens/fans who are dismissive of this being a problem are not necessarily incorrect that these norms are a part of the culture/society. As I’m sure many of you who follow K-pop know by now, these types of jokes are not uncommon, which is why many netizens/fans don’t see anything wrong with it, and also why SHINee felt comfortable putting this content out there with English subtitles and all.

Of course, that also doesn’t mean it’s wrong to change said aspects of culture and society. While a lot of this issue overseas has understandably been centered on how this relates to racism, on a day-to-day basis in Korea the bigger impact is definitely on Koreans with darker skin*, other Asians (especially foreign workers), and mixed Korean/Asian kids from international marriages. Thus, it’s hardly purely a race issue either — which is something many fans/netizens were using to defend it (cause Minho’s Korean too) — so pretending it’s a Western thing is dismissive of how it impacts people in the country.

*Also the classism this is rooted in is another issue entirely.

That said, Key and Taemin issuing an apology for this kind of colorism is actually rare and it surprised me. While maybe not wholly satisfactory, it’s at least a step towards awareness in Korea and perhaps slowly changing things, so I’m glad people called it out and brought it to attention.


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Thot Leader™