The Land of Many Kims

Brendan Nyhan whacks Bill Richardson:

On a related but less serious note, Bill Richardson was quoted saying the following about negotiating with North Korea: “Their U.N. guy calls. His name is Ambassador Kim. K-I-M. They’re all named Kim.” A tip for future presidential candidates: It’s never a good idea to say “They’re all named ____” about any ethnic group.

I’m not one to rant and rave about political correctness out of control, but this is political correctness out of control! If you’ve ever tried to learn about anything Korea-related, as an American, one thing that happens is you rapidly become confused about who’s who because, well, it’s actually the case that an incredibly large proportion of Koreans are named “Kim.” Specifically, of the nine members of the DPRK cabinet, eight are named Kim. Wikipedia says that twenty percent of South Koreans are named “Kim.” It makes telling anecdotes about one’s interactions with Korean officials somewhat confusing in a funny kind of war.

UPDATE: As you should be able to see at the link, it’s four not eight Kims out of the nine DPRK cabinet members. I have no idea how I made that mistake. Apologies.