This terribly embarrassing video making the rounds shows how learning just a little bit of the local language can help prevent a massive misunderstanding.
Robert J. Koehler of The Marmot’s Hole informs us that the incident occurred between a 24-year-old African-American English teacher and a 61-year-old man on a crowded bus in South Korea. According to Koehler, “The elderly man reportedly said “니가 여기 앉아” (a sign of consideration) but not knowing Korean, the man in question interpreted “니가” [pronounced “nigga” and meaning “you”] as the N-word which led to his violent outburst.”
Of course, the only accounts we have of this incident come from the Korean media. But, insult or not, this ugly American – an English teacher, no less – sets the perfect example of how not to act in a foreign country – or even in your own home town. Really dude, turn it down a notch, will ya?