Good article from the Times on comments such as, "That Barack Obama is so articulate."
Grrr. I'll keep it short, since the article itself is pretty self-explanatory.
One thing I've noticed even since 1994, when I first came here, was that Korean people always seem much more surprised to see me speak in Korean than the white person I'm with, if it's a group of foreigners w/o anyone who looks ethnically Korean.
My friend Beth and I even did this as an experiment at times back in 1994, where we'd go in and be looking at stuff, and the Korean person, if they didn't know English, would always try Korean with her first. One time, in a store in Jongno, I was asking all these questions to an employee and he would answer her. He was kind of doing it unconsciously, but it was more than obvious.
More recently, a similar thing happened when I and two white women were in a restaurant, and no matter what I said, the waiter would answer back to the girls in Korean. They would nod, and we were all smiling at this, since we'd knew this would happen; one of the women mentioned that the waiter should probably talk to me, since I was asking the questions. I think he realized what he was doing and looked kind of embarrassed.
So there's a little bit of that over here as well.