?! asked in TravelAsia PacificKorea · 10 years ago

How can hiring be so blatantly racist?

So, I'm looking for a role in teaching English in South Korea at the moment, and even though I had been told by many that they only prefer Caucasian teachers, I decided not to listen to the crap and judge for myself. That was before I got this response:

"I am so sorry to tell you this but yes most director would like to hire Caucasian people or Korean -Australian. Some directors never mind the ethnic at all but more directors would like to hire only Caucasian. So what I want to tell you is it is not easy to us to find your and your sister's jobs here in Korea."

First of all - the English of the people teaching English isn't perfect, as you can see from the letter, secondly, um, I am a journalist in Australia (a print one at that) and I have been awarded for my written & spoken English here, so I kind of find it a little sad that this can still openly happen nowadays. Anyway, I can't be bothered trying to push my skill set in a country that is more interested in my ethnicity rather than what it should be concerned with, which by the way, is my grasp on the English language! Anyway, just to make things clear, I don't think Koreans are racist (before I get the usual haters), just that the policy is. This would have been news if it had happened in Australia, why isn't it the same in other regions?

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The basic fact is this: if you are white and Western you stand a better chance of landing a job than if you are not. If you are black or Asian then you may well be discriminated against.

    Given two similarly qualified and experienced candidates, one white and one black or Asian, no one would be surprised if the white candidate gets the job. Then the Asian candidate. And finally the black candidate. Generally speaking, the darker ones skin, the harder it is and this has led on to the situation where native speakers who happen to be black are passed over for non-native speakers of questonable ability who happen to be white.

    However, that is not to say there are no black or Asian TEFL teachers. On the contrary, there are many but there can be issues finding work if you are not white.

    There is one common reason why white teachers are preferred: in the mind of many people a typical westerner will be white and parents want their child to be taught by a typical westerner. There is sometimes the feeling that a black or Asian teacher is not western enough and that they will not have the same level of English as a white teacher.

    In other words, if the teacher is tall, blonde, blue-eyed and white then parents will think their child is learning better, more genuine English than if the teacher has African or Asian or Indian features.

  • Ian
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Did a recruiter say that? Sounds like it, but if your interested in teaching there I would find another recruiter or school directly, as you wouldn't be the first non-white skinned person teaching there. Some schools won't care about that. I have a friend from Korea who I met in the States. Upon visiting me in Korea he told me that Korea is a racist country. I called about a job while there once and on the phone they asked me what color my skin was. It exists.

    Discrimination can be practiced quite openly in Asia and in my experience Korea's not very different from other Eastern Asian countries in that aspect. It may be more nationalistic than some other Asian countries, but you will find that same sort of discrimination in China, Japan, and in Taiwan. Discrimination may not only be about skin color, but it can also be sexual. I have seen schools post jobs saying that they are looking for a female teacher (quite common), a male teacher (less common), or a Caucasian teacher.

    Many schools even prefer American accents over others. Which is unfortunate as exposure to different accents adds to the language learning process. Discrimination exists in Asia.

  • 10 years ago

    Here it is in a nutshell from a director's point-of-view.

    On one hand, you have a 22-year old white Western male. A fresh university graduate with a degree in Business. A tad rough around the edges from his lack of work experience. Who cares. He's young, white and good-looking (presumably). On the other, there is a black woman. Older, responsible, and with good credentials in the field of Journalism. It is by no means related to teaching English but it is widely accepted that experience in education is not essential. The white male is offered the job.

    Second scenario. On one hand, you have a black woman. Older, responsible, and with good credentials in the field of Journalism. On the other, there is a Southeast Asian professor with a masters in Education and 7 years of experience teaching English as foreign language in a reputable university. The Southeast Asian would be lucky to even get one interview.

    In addition, they will prefer an attractive prospect over one that is not.

    I'm sure racist issues such as this will create a ruckus in Australia or any other Western country. This is Korea where systems, culture, and bigotry are vastly different from what you are familiar with at home. Koreans can do whatever they please in their country.

    If you really want to seek employment in Korea, persevere. I'm sure there are at least a handful that will consider your application. Just don't expect it to be as easy as it would be to an entitled white male.

    Source(s): I am not Korean.
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Forgive :)

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