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Non-whites teaching English in Hong Kong

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  1. #1

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    Non-whites teaching English in Hong Kong

    Forked from this thread

    http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/post2525141.html

    one regular poster offered up this opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruntfuttock:
    All I can say is that I have several British friends who aren't white and who are making good money teaching English. None of them has encountered any issues that I'm aware of because of the colour of their skin. I suspect this is because they are good at what they do, and that it is not inconceivable that other people who are crap at teaching English use the colour of their skin as a convenient excuse.

    Personally I prefer to base my opinions on my actual experience rather than hearsay on anonymous internet forums. However, it is clear that there are those who value such hearsay, which is why I continue to offer it!
    Just wondered what others thought of this. Personally I am sure that anyone can make a living teaching English privately if they are good and word of mouth spreads - there are plenty of non-bigoted people in Hong Kong who will pay for and receive a good service from anyone.

    However, is there a wider issue with racism - particularly in language centres where I have read plenty of reports that having a white face is highly desirable if not an absolute requirement.

    Or is the comment that any non-white who struggles to teach English in Hong Kong purely crap at teaching and using their skin colour as an excuse?
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  2. #2

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    I've heard a lot of things, mostly on these boards but, I can honestly say that I have no first hand knowledge of anyone being discriminated against because of the colour of their skin.

    Off the top of my head...

    I do know two black English teachers, one from USA and one from Jamaica
    1 Phillipino English teacher
    1 Moroccan English teacher

    I've asked all of them and all reported no sense of ever being discriminated against.

    For what it's worth!?!

    *edit* I'm sure there is some racism and/or ignorance but I wonder if 'western' in this context means NET/non-local as opposed to 'white'......maybe I'll check it out and report back...

    *edit* I'm not saying my small sample means there is no racism....I'm purely making the point that I've only heard about this on these boards, never in, 'real life', lol.....

    *edit* 3, just remembered another; Teacher Kate, Phillipines....private lessons and a few days in a local kindergarten.

    Last edited by INXS; 19-08-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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  3. #3

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    There was a thread on here a few years back where someone reported that they got offered a job on the basis of a CV (no photo), turned up for the first day and were promptly sacked because they were not white. But that was so long ago I'd struggle to find the thread.

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  4. #4

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    If you want a real comment from a Geoexpatter with experience - see Carang's post at #5 on this thread: http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/26/thread54483.html

    It might have changed since then though, who knows. Only she could comment.

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  5. #5

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    The first place I worked in hk (a well known adult english school) paid all ethnically chinese teachers less than the other (all white) teachers- regardless of qualifications, experience, nationality or visa status.

    Another centre I worked at printed a brochure including photos of all the teachers- except the one asian teacher who worked there.

    I have also heard from students that their teacher isn't a 'proper' teacher, because they're 'not white'.

    I do know non-white teachers but they would all admit, with varying levels of bitterness, that they have to 'prove' themselves much more.

    Having a very english or american accent and/or being an attractive young male can help though.

    Titus, HKITperson and Xenophobic like this.

  6. #6

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    My wife is not white but she's actually getting paid more than her white colleagues at a play group center. That being said, they only put her white colleague's photos in advertisements.... even though my wife draws in more students.... even though some of her colleagues only completed high school.... and can't help but think if she's as good as she is AND she's white she'd still make more money.... if you have a white face, you'll have a chance at a basic English teaching job regardless of qualification... if you don't have a white face then you better have some qualifications to back you up.... At first it's a bit frustrating you see guys who would be flipping burgers back home getting priority in jobs in HK; it's like non-whites sometimes gets discriminated overseas and they get shafted again even on their "home turf".
    But life ain't fair and the situation is created by the non-white parents in HK who pay money to send kids to learn from only white faces, so who cares and I don't complain anymore after 8 years back in HK.... (I consider it signs of a HK newb if someone rants about this or about mainlanders at a social gathering; I mean, come on, it's getting stale showing pics of mainland kids pissing on the streets, wow great for you, you took a pic, so what? Does the Earth stop moving while you are pratting on about mainlanders or unfairness? Either do something about it or STFU already...)

    In another life time when I was working for the Canadian Border Services Agency, I used to laugh at returning English teachers all the time.... "you mean to tell me you were TEACHING English when you can't even fill this declaration form properly???"...

    Last edited by Titus; 20-08-2013 at 12:58 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    If you want a real comment from a Geoexpatter with experience - see Carang's post at #5 on this thread: http://hongkong.geoexpat.com/forum/26/thread54483.html

    It might have changed since then though, who knows. Only she could comment.
    Exactly, I understand it's a business and they need to cater to their customers; parents in this case, local Chinese parents who discriminate against their own people. They create this problem themselves. The people who are shafted are the returnees or ABC/CBC/BBC/XBCs who are perfectly fluent with English as first language.
    HKITperson and Xenophobic like this.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titus:
    Exactly, I understand it's a business and they need to cater to their customers; parents in this case, local Chinese parents who discriminate against their own people. They create this problem themselves. The people who are shafted are the returnees or ABC/CBC/BBC/XBCs who are perfectly fluent with English as first language.
    Yup I've had that.

    Telephone Interview, everything went well until they asked to meet in person.
    Then it went downhill when I obviously wasn't the blonde blue eyed westerner they expected.

    It's pretty ironic when the parents speak with that horrific Chinglish accent and they'd rather a westerner with say a Geordie accent than a Chinese with a neutral accent.
    Last edited by jimbo; 20-08-2013 at 01:31 PM.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo:
    Yup I've had that.

    Telephone Interview, everything went well until they asked to meet in person.
    Then it went downhill when I obviously wasn't the blonde blue eyed westerner they expected.

    It's pretty ironic when the parents speak with that horrific Chinglish accent and they'd rather a westerner with say a Geordie accent than a Chinese with a neutral accent.
    Ah well, lots more jobs out there I always say to my newly arrived friends. Don't lose heart and who knows, not becoming a teacher may be a blessing in disguise if you make it big in another field later in life.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by INXS:
    I'm purely making the point that I've only heard about this on these boards, never in, 'real life', lol.....

    Cause people only COMPLAIN online kidding folks =P

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