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Skin color
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Joined: 26 Sep 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all, first post here, looks like a pretty cool forum! Smile

Do you guys really feel that there is that much discrimination, based on skin colour/ethnicity, in some regions? Of course you'll get small minded people everywhere, but is it really that big a problem in some regions/countries?
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Joined: 07 Oct 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Re: Good link to a study on ESL Discrimination Reply with quote

ESLDaily wrote:
There was a study done by one of the Korean Bloggers last year where he posted numerous different nationalities on the major ESL employment websites. Very interesting results:
Nationality study:

Skin color study:

Other studies were also done up on the same Blog, including age and sex discrimination in the ESL market.

Very interesting study. To think that Koreans arrive in droves to study English in the Philippines!
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Joined: 29 Sep 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject: non-Caucasians involved in ESL teaching Reply with quote

I am ethnically Chinese and was born in Britain,
and was educated entirely in English during
primary and secondary school in either Britain
or Australia. I obtained the highest marks in
an English language subject
during the final years of secondary school, where I was
the only "non-white" person in the school.
I have multiple tertiary degrees to Ph.D
level and have wide experiences of using English
in diverse workplace roles and community roles in English-speaking
societies. I used to be a successful ESL teacher in Australia, and also had
set up and was the leader of a community group which
had fostered English teaching to migrants from
non-English backgrounds. Didn't have any problems at all then.
Now, based on what I have read (and I have read nearly all
of the online forum postings and literature about non-Caucasians
who are involved within the ESL field internationally), it appears to
be a well established fact that Caucasian-looking persons from
a country with a majority Anglo-Celtic culture such
as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand and Ireland have a much easier
time getting a job in the ESL field internationally. In other words
it is much easier to get an ESL teaching job when "one looks like the
assumed part".
This does not mean jobs for non-Caucasians who
have near native fluency are not available. There just happen
to be fewer of them. Simple as that.. Whether this factor comes into
play will typically depend on whether ESL teachers are scarce somewhere.
One cannot argue with the facts and the facts indicate
that many ESL schools in Asia and elsewhere have
a stereotyped view. Each country is different.
Personally I don't regard this phenomenon to be racism.
In the real world, for some jobs, perceptions can be important, particularly where the customer who is using the service is sensitive to the issue. It is not a dissimilar concept to an actor or an actress of non-Caucasian appearance who wants to get a certain role in Hollywood. Someone cannot play a role they are not ideally suited for.
Over time, I would expect the outdated view of English teachers of Caucasian origin being somehow preferred to other races to change, as persons of non-Caucasian appearance take on more of the prominent roles in English- speaking societies (for example, US President, members of parliament, corporate leaders and so on). President Obama speaks top class American
English and he isn't Caucasian-looking is he?
I have only recently started making enquiries whether it's a good idea to
stay in this field. In the case of Taiwan at least, it appears
that one leading school where ESL is taught is not
fussed whether the applicant is of Caucasian origin or
not (probably because there is an excess demand for good
ESL teachers there). There are now also clearly some (though probably
not many) Filipinos and other Asian-origin persons who teach English in China, for instance. I know of a friend of a friend who was raised
in an African country who has taught ESL for many years in China.
So it's clearly not impossible to be an ESL teacher, if someone is not "white".
In my experience, being a native speaker of a language does not automatically make someone into a good teacher, as there are a range of
factors involved. Wanting to be a teacher, and having good
pedagogical skills are important, regardless of what someone looks like.
But if ignorant hirers regard external appearances to be important, there isn't much which can be done, is there?
C'est la vie!
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Joined: 29 Sep 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:06 am    Post subject: Job ad for ESL teacher Hong Kong says foreigner preferred. Reply with quote

Job Title: Native English Teachers Wanted
Job Description:

- Foreigners preferred

- Able to teach Playgroup, Cambridge English (Starters, Movers, Flyers, KET, PET) and other English courses

- Work on Saturdays (2-7pm)

- $1000-$1500 per day (depending on no. of participants)

Comments from the poster to this forum:

(i)The first two words under "job description" confirms the point made
in this and similar forums, regarding the preference in some (not all) situations within ESL for certain nationalities or ethnicities to do the teaching.

(ii)The unwritten explanation I have heard, is that in some situations, apart from the actual words and sentences being taught, some learners are hoping to experience what they regard to be a "true cultural immersion" thus the preference for a native English teacher to be also of particular ethnicities.

(iii)I would be very interested in knowing whether a similarly worded advertisement, if found in a developed western English-speaking country
(eg. Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom), would be consistent with the laws against racial discrimination in employment of
that country.
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Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:47 pm    Post subject: When your face doesn't fit... Reply with quote

Appearance is a problem even if you meet all of the criteria e.g. EU citizen etc. If you do not fit the idea of a quintessential English teacher the odds are stacked against you. As a Black British female who has taught abroad and in the UK. I have a good BA with dual honours, a PGCE and the CELTA. Yet although I am born and bred in London, I know when I go abroad even for a holiday, I have been treated unfavourably.

My time teaching in Madrid was a sharp reminder of how racist people are when constantly being stared at or commented on in the metro. Whilst in Ecuador I remember when I lived briefly with a teacher and her family, a neighbour asked if I was working for them i.e. the home help/maid! Although there is an Afro-Ecuadorian population they are just as marginalised as the original Ameri-Indian people. There is so much discrimination in this world and it would seem that the rite of passage for choosing to work abroad only works if you are white so the "World is your oyster" is something that does not easily apply to someone like me.
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Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:23 pm    Post subject: Questions Reply with quote

Mort: why do you have such a hard time believing that a racial problem exists, if so many people are sharing this COMMON experience on this website and others - dismissing it as a few small-minded people makes me wonder why you wrote your post.

LHuang: You made a decent point e.g demonstrating "good pedagogical skills" for teaching abroad, but getting to this stage isn't even an option for non-whites. Despite your numerous academic accolades you don't think it's racism? Well what is it - if being excluded on the basis of race (colour/ethnicity) for employment, is not?
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St. George

Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 110
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:45 pm    Post subject: Racism Reply with quote

Hello Clowd

I agree that racialism exists in the world but it can also exist in one's mind.

LHuang is more positive than most and probably doesn't even notice when people are being racist to him and I think this is the answer. You must stop thinking that everything unpleasant that happens to you is racism. Females have a hard time, whatever their colour.

Mort on the other hand is just stirring it up.

St. G
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Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi St. George,

I agree racism exist in EVERYONE's minds, including yours. Hence you assume that everything unpleasant that happens to me is because of race. I'm well aware females have a hard time too, but the post is about skin colour and I wanted to keep my response relevant.

As for Lhuang being positive I'm not so sure this applies when he states he has worked mostly in English-speaking societies, he hasn't had the experience of working elsewhere or off the beaten track.

Lastly being positive can take many forms - Lhuang mentioned previously having good teaching skills is key and I agree with this. My way of doing something about the situation is too keep going out to work abroad and to teach to a HIGH standard so that NEGATIVE racialised perceptions are broken. Talking about the problem only goes so far, doing something about it is far better.
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St. George

Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 110
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:48 pm    Post subject: THERAPY Reply with quote


Are you sure it is your skin colour and not that you are Asian, African or Chinese?

I am English, parents Irish, white and live in Scotland and I know it's not the colour of my skin that the Scots hate but my nationality. It may be racial but the word doesn't enter my head, as it is not part of my everyday vocabulary.

You are right that more people will accept you because you are doing good deeds but this is only for your peace of mind. I'm afraid that it will not change the world.

Therefore, I think we should all receive therapy to rid us of these gremlins, that make our lives a misery, and allow us to live happily ever after.


St. G
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Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

St. George,

As for your quesion I am from none of those regions, I am English like you and from Caribbean parentage. You made the common mistake of confusing regions with colour. Please remember the basis of this forum was skin colour.

Lucky for me having grown up in one of the world's biggest multicutural societies i.e. London, I have friends like you from Irish parentage who are English born and have lived in Wales and Scotland, but do not pretend to share the same experience as non-white Brits when they have lived there. They have had more comparable experiences from them living in the Middle East, so truly understand what is being said here.

It appears you are not someone who appreciates sharing tough experiences instead you diminish what is being said. By the way I won't loose sleep over negative experiences, or when people question my work as a means to obtaining peace of mind, there is a lot more to life and it is not as simple as "living happily ever after"!.

You worringly mention therapy as a way forward but contradict yourself previously by saying the world will not change. To end this post on a positive note, I guess if Gandhi, M. L. King and Nelson Mandela thought the same the world would not be a better place, if like you imply we all just give up and go to therapy to exorcise "our gremlins". I really hope you understand what is being said here now and I guess any further communication with you on my part would just be engaging your negativity - which is something I feel life is much too short for.
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St. George

Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 110
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:20 pm    Post subject: ENGRAMS Reply with quote


You are the one being negative; I was being positive by suggesting that you clear your mind of these engrams.

I can tell by the tone of your posts that it is not the colour of your skin that has brought about your tough experiences.

There is nothing wrong with emulating your heroes but first you will have to change your attitude and that's where therapy will help you. The world will not change but you could!

St. G
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Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

St. George instead of congratulating someone on doing something about a bad situation you just bitch and moan!

What have you got against Clowd, she's doing something about it. Accept everyone has a different experience, atleast she's brave enough to share. Don't patronise her with the pop psychology about going to a therapist!. Are you sure you're not crying out for help!

Clowd - good on you for being the bigger person, keep up the good work!
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