And that's the point. We're not Korean so we couldn't see it.
So that's why I find it a bit unsettling that School Library Journal's diversity issue includes Culturally Diverse Books Selected by SLJ’s Review Editors as a list that's divided into two sections: Culturally Specific and Culturally Generic/Neutral. The latter is defined by them as "... books ... in which the main character(s) 'just happen' to be a member of a non-white, non-mainstream cultural group. These stories, rather than informing readers about individual cultures, emphasize cultural common ground."
My second response is to wonder why the books in the Culturally Generic/Neutral category need to be separated from the Culturally Specific category, which is defined as books featuring "...authentic and positive portrayals of people from diverse ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds, as well as characters who identify as LGBTQ or are from underrepresented socioeconomic groups." Really? Then why is Matt De La Peña's The Living in the Generic/Neutral category? It's been a while since I read it, but what I remember most about it is that the main character was a working class Chicano kid, and his class, gender, and cultural identity played an important part in how he interacted with other people and how they interacted with him. Oh, and there was that tsunami.
In fact, it's interesting that ten of the thirteen books in the Generic/Neutral category were actually written by people who belong to the culture about which they are writing, while only seven of the thirteen Culturally Specific books were. The only book on the list with Native American characters was written by a white author. It was classed as "Culturally Specific." It makes me wonder how If I Ever Get out of Here by Eric Gansworth would have been classified if it had been included on the list. Would it have landed on the Generic side because the main character likes The Beatles?
Even more interesting is to look at how the stars fall on this list. Of the twenty-six books included, eleven are starred -- eight in the Culturally Specific category. Of these eight, five are written by white authors, outsiders to the cultures about which they are writing.