January 20, 2020 10:50
CNN accused South Koreans of "the most bizarre criticism of a U.S. ambassador in recent memory" over the peculiar accusation here that Harry Harris' mustache evokes memories of Japan's occupation of Korea.
In a piece Friday titled "Racism, history and politics: Why South Koreans are flipping out over a U.S. ambassador's mustache," CNN said, "Harris was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father, who was a Navy officer, and some online commentators have pointed to Harris' heritage along with the mustache in their criticisms."
"But Harris isn't Japanese, he's a U.S. citizen. And calling him out for his Japanese ancestry would almost assuredly be considered racist in the United States."
Harris was the first American of Asian descent to lead the U.S. Pacific Command and was appointed to his current post in July 2018.
"South Korea is a homogenous society without racial diversity like the United States," CNN pointed out. "Mixed-race families are rare and xenophobia remains surprisingly common."
It was Minjoo Party lawmaker Song Young-gil who compared Harris to the mustachioed former Japanese viceroy to Korea, garnering some plaudits in the local Twittersphere. Wartime emperor Hirohito also sported a mustache, as did fascist dictator Gen. Hideki Tojo.
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