Regarding the Korean wife-nanny illusion (Mum’s the word: assumptions about woman in BBC gatecrasher clip raise hard questions, 13 March), I fail to see where the evidence for prejudice (ie, an unreasonable assertion based not on evidence) is. We all make rapid pragmatic assessments (form “stereotypes”) about others – it is part of our evolutionary inheritance. Without this, it would be very difficult to navigate the social world. These assumptions are based upon, among other things, experience, ie to how many Korean maids as compared with Korean wives have we been exposed? They can, of course, as in this case, be proven to be incorrect and our assumptions are then open to revision.
Professor Frederick Toates
• Caroline Davies centres on viewers’ class and racial prejudices, as if the debate lay with “respect-worthy wife” v “lowly nanny”, and as if we should beat ourselves up if we mistake one for the other. This goes deeper. It’s about a man and a woman. Man the expert, smart and poised (at first, anyway), looking us in the eye. Woman entering his awful situation, doing her best. At floor level, trying to make herself invisible, yet caring for the children, gently getting them out of the room. (Note how she manages it – the minimal fuss the kids make despite being thwarted.) Mid-chaos, she takes upon her own face and body all the physical, mental and emotional stress of the moment, sacrificing control of her own poise and presence, and does not give up until the door is closed. Brava!
I hope that they are both laughing together about it now. Let’s all laugh, because it is funny. Then it rather behoves the rest of us to look again.
Frances Corkey Thompson
Ilfracombe, North Devon
• By the way, does anybody know what Professor Robert Kelly actually said about the South Korean presidency?
• Join the debate – email [email protected]
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters