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Discrimination in ESL of all types: Who is responsible?
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How prevalent is discrimination (of all types) in the ESL industry?
Why, not at all grandmother!
 3%  [ 1 ]
Discrimination? What, you mean like being choosy?
 14%  [ 4 ]
The issue certainly needs to be addressed, but not by me.
 7%  [ 2 ]
Get real, this problem is out of control!
 74%  [ 20 ]
Total Votes : 27

Author Message

Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 81
Location: Southeast Asia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many Asian countries emphasize appearance over ability/experience much more than Western countries. So, yes, it helps to be 'white', thin, young, good-looking etc., but in the end many schools take who they can get .

At the same time they also have requirements in regards to qualifications/experience, so even if you are 'white', thin, young, good-looking etc., if you don't have a degree, experience, certificate or whatever they are looking for, you're not going to get the job.

In the example from Saudi Arabia it is obviously a traditional religious regulation that requires the segregation of the sexes.
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My employer hired me under the impression that I was short, or so he said. He though that I was around 150cm. I am, in fact, just the opposite at 180.3cm. He nearly fell over when he picked me up at the airport. It was my fault because I did not convert my height for him in the telephone interview. He was very skeptical about the whole contract, etc. after seeing me because he didn't think that the children would respond well to me. He has since changed his mind & is quite pleased, but I am certain that if he'd known my actual height to begin with, he would not have hired me.

It is very frustrating, as an American (who doesn't want to live in America anymore), to see the high number of EU contracts available to only EU passport holders.

Also, as a woman now over 35 I am seeing fewer positions available. Several programs are actually closed to persons over 35, regardless of experience, etc.

I am certainly glad I got my current position (private preschool/kindergarten teacher in Japan) when I did & despite the initial surprise at my height.
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also wanted to add that weight, on the other hand, is not a discriminatory factor in the least for my current employer, as two of my colleagues (a husband/wife duo) were both well over-weight when hired (both have since slimmed down substantially with the Japanese diet & increased exercise), both had only just received their degrees (both Masters in non-education fields) & neither had any experience nor a TEFL cert of any kind.
What is most interesting (to me) about the situation is when I teach descriptive words. The children immediately give the names to any random drawings, pictures, dolls, etc. of over-weight persons the names of these teachers. The children notice such things immediately. Whether this is cultural, due to the relative rarity of obese people in Japan compared to North America, or just kids being observant little kids, I don't know. I do know that they are very fond of both teachers & so is the management.

Perhaps the lesson in this example, is that private schools tend to "do as they please" more so than public schools & company schools. What is important to one may not be to another & the criteria changes from employer to employer (at least in my experience).
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:24 am    Post subject: WARNING!! Reply with quote



As you can see, it was moderated out...hard to keep up with all the spam. the moderators appreciate everyone's patience in dealing with this modern day disease. Mod #3
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Lee Hobbs
Site Admin

Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 137
Location: TheGulfCoast

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:18 pm    Post subject: RAID! Reply with quote

esigus wrote:
As you can see, it was moderated out...hard to keep up with all the spam.

Thanks esigus, I think I zapped that pesky fly.

Lee's blog is still available, however, here:
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject: cyber Raid! Reply with quote

Thanks! Didn't know who was best to tell... but thought I should tell someone!

They're rotten, aren't they?

Anyway... thanks again!
Very Happy
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Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 1
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...Hello. I am a Black man from the USA. I have been working and teaching in mainland China for almost 5 years.... While I feel there is some discrimination
in China toward non-White teachers...I feel it is not as strong as in Taiwan.
Now, my particular take on this issue, is that there is less discrimination in
areas that have had less Western contact; meaning fewer western people there in general... When I first came to China, I was in an area of Tianjin...
While I felt that the administration of my school didn't care for me because I wasn't blond and blue eyed... the local people of that area were quite friendly.
I even made some local friends that I still have... On the other hand... In a large
city like Shanghai, I feel the discrimination can sometimes be quite blatant.
Newspaper and internet adds for example that read: "Foreign teacher wanted. White only." In fact a large school, homebased in Singapore, transferred me to another city after I complained of discrimination.

Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that racist attitudes in China are learned... fom the media, (mainly films) and from other Westerners. I sometimes think that racism is actually the USA's biggest export...
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Joined: 10 Jun 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience with discrimination was this. If you tell someone in China that you are American, they will believe you first on how you look, and then on how you speak. I was often mistaken for a Russian because of my size, but when I spoke they all were satisfied I was American. Schools discriminate for a lot of reasons, but I believe the main reason is money. If they can advertise that they have an American teacher it will help them get students. Chinese students prefer a teacher from an English speaking country. Chinese teachers trying to teach ESL do not have an easy time. I do not know how this got started. My school put my picture on their website without telling me about it. It was a big deal for them to say they has an American English teacher. In China, if you are black, they assume you are from Africa. Being born and raised in the USA will not help you. China has not had its doors open very long, and like it or not, the Chinese people are not going to change, to suit you. They expect you to change to suit them. (When in Rome, do as the Romans)
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Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: Hi Lee Reply with quote

Firstly, thank you for having the courage to start such a sensitive topic! Kodos to you.

Discrimination (of sorts not just job related) stems from many "superior" and "I am better than thou" thoughts over the decades. A huge topic of debate in its own right Smile

For the ESL industry, I agree legislation (or rather lack of it) is why schools in many parts, especially Asia and ME can get away with the hiring of so-called "native" speakers when they may not even be as qualified as the truly native speaker who grew up with English and can perhaps speak and debate in it better than the "native" speaker.

Then there is the perception and gullibility of parents who think their children get a "better" education from a native speaker. This is then compounded by media and their propaganda perpetrated by the controlling interests of the west.

Native (here I mean overseas ABCs, ABJ, ABKs etc) ought to be clamouring at the doors of Education ministries and other legislative bodies to make sure that such discrimination is not allowed and money is not drained out of their systems from such unscrupulous practices.

YES, money corrupts and hence leads to all sorts including ESL discrimination.
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Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject: Great topic!! Reply with quote

Hi everyone! This is my first post here and I regret not joining here and posting earlier. I have been struggling to find a job overseas for awhile now but had to put it on hold due to family duty. But it has been around a little more than 3 years ever since I graduated and I am sick of being unemployed. I did try to apply to a Taiwanese company called De-Wey but they did not accept me. I then looked at the teachers featured on their site and I discovered that pretty much all of their most favorite teachers were "white/European looking". I felt so disheartened since I am Asian American. I think they believe and stereotype that only white looking people can speak English well and I find that sad...
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Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Thanks for posting. I also got an e-mail from De-Wey. I did not bother to reply because I'm not interested in teaching in Taiwan. Now I know better.

I'm also an Asian American. I'm originally from Hawaii where 60% of the population is of Asian decent.

Recently I applied for a teaching post in Zhejiang at an "international school" and was turned down because I'm of "Asian/Polynesian decent". For the record, I have NO Hawaiian or Polynesian blood. I am of Chinese and Filipino decent. Disappointing to say the least.
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Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:02 am    Post subject: Abusing senior citizens? Reply with quote

Getting back to the topic of age, retirement age for teachers in China is 50. Employing teachers over that age is considered to be abusing senior citizens. A 50 year old Chinese is "older" than their western counterpart in many ways and ready for retiement where westerners are not. This is the thinking behind the official policy of refusing older applicants.

The official policy is encouraged by customer demand for American youth. In their innocence, the average Chinese is lead to believe that everything American is right and only time and experience will correct this attitude.

As the senior teacher of three years duration at my present place of employment I have seen twenty much younger teachers come and go.Apart from those who left because of the food or other petty grumbles, others were dismissed for alcoholism, dependence on prescription drugs and making improper advances to female students.

Personally, if I had been doing the hiring only one, an African American woman, would have been employed.
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