With this caption:
Foreigners in traditional Korean costume pose for a picture at the 14th Chicago Korean Festival on Sunday.
Well, they're clearly not Korean, but are they actually foreigners, or just white people? It's Chicago after all, which means that any Koreans in the audience would be, um, foreigners, along with anyone not a United States citizen. Yonhap ran the same picture yesterday, and identified the three girls by name: Alicia, Felicity, and Iris.
In January I posted an article from Korea Journal, and there was some discussion about whether Koreans can actually be 외국인. Here's an excerpt from the journal article:
Another illustration of the same problem [of referring to natives of another country as foreigners in that country] occurred in a Korean restaurant in San Francisco, where I was eating dinner with a young Korean man doing graduate studies at Berkeley. Pointing to a group of non-Asian diners at a nearby table, he remarked, "A lot of foreigners come to this restaurant." It was all I could do to continue chewing my 냉면 without blurting out, "You're absolutely right, Mr. Kim, and you're one of them!" Apparently there is a dissonance between the English word, foreigner, and the Korean conceptual model.
In English, the word refers to an abstract relationsihp, not an intrinstic attribute. Nobody is inherently a foreigner; anyone can become on simply by crossing a national border. Foreignness is a question of context, not essence. Ms. Kwon in Canada and Mr. Kim in San Francisco, for example, fit the English meaning of foreigner, as would a Canadian missionary in Taejon or an American pursuing graduate studies in Seoul National University.
But the Korean-English sense of foreigner is clearly different. It is a category in which neither Ms. Kwon not Mr. Kim could ever be included. It is a category in which a Canadian naturally belongs, as he sits reading a newspaper in his own house in his native town in Alberta. Membership in this category is defined at birth, is completely context-free and is absolutely permanent. One group of people, including Ms. Kwon and Mr. Kim, can never, under any circumstances, belong to the Korean-English category, foreigner, whereas the members of another group are born as foreigners, will die as foreigners and will always be foreigners, no matter where they are. More remarkable still, this second group includes something like ninety-eight percent of the human race.
The discussion in the comments section, and also carried over onto Gypsy Scholar's post on the same topic, centers around mostly whether "foreigner" is an accurate translation of "외국인" and, if 외국인 always applies to non-Koreans, whether Koreans visiting other countries are in fact surrounded by 외국인 when they're amongst the locals.