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Non-white teachers in Korea?
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ZoSo13



Joined: 21 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sammy15 wrote:
My husband and I are Canadians but we aren't caucasians and we aren't black. So people have a hard time figuring out what to do with us here. We are working in a smaller city and often Koreans come up to me and speak very slow english and ask if I know how to speak english. They also treat us differently than our blue eyed, blond haired coworkers. Often people ask me where I am from and when I reply Canada they say "No, Where are you REEEEEEAAAAAAALLY from?". This really irritates me because I've never been treated so unequally in my life and I hope that Koreans can broaden their minds.

Koreans? I'm sorry but the world over. I'm a Korean blood living in Miami. Every night I go out, it's "So where are you from?" I reply "Ft. Lauderdale." Then it's always followed by "No, where are you REALLY from?" My reply "I hail from Kazakhstan and I'm decendent of Genghis Khan." Then I show them the mark of the Mongols, on my back.
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ZoSo13



Joined: 21 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sammy15 wrote:
My husband and I are Canadians but we aren't caucasians and we aren't black. So people have a hard time figuring out what to do with us here. We are working in a smaller city and often Koreans come up to me and speak very slow english and ask if I know how to speak english. They also treat us differently than our blue eyed, blond haired coworkers. Often people ask me where I am from and when I reply Canada they say "No, Where are you REEEEEEAAAAAAALLY from?". This really irritates me because I've never been treated so unequally in my life and I hope that Koreans can broaden their minds.

Koreans? I'm sorry but the world over. I'm a Korean blood living in Miami. Every night I go out, it's "So where are you from?" I reply "Ft. Lauderdale." Then it's always followed by "No, where are you REALLY from?" My reply "I hail from Kazakhstan and I'm decendent of Genghis Khan." Then I show them the mark of the Mongols, on my back.
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i_teach_esl



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Location: baebang, asan/cheonan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi davesters. im black and on year 2 and some change living and working in south korea, first in anyang, now in seoul. it:s coo here. to my melanin~ated folks: dont let anyone tell you what you can do, where you can go, what your experience will be like. you alone will know how you:ll find it here when you get here.

find black folks in south korea on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=25747883752
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mcviking



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Location: 'Fantastic' America

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've met pleanty of black teachers in Busan. I did hear that is harder for African Americans to get a job here, but if someone really wants the job they will get it.
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Gdsgirl



Joined: 05 May 2009
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:44 am    Post subject: Ahhh the race question Reply with quote

I've been wondering this myself. I'm African American while I'm not totally blind to Korea's limited diversity, I've asked myself: how will this work? When I traveled to Russia I found the same to be true. Literally people would stop and take photos of me because I was black...Ahhh memories...
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jfry



Joined: 24 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am African American women and have been teaching in Korea for almost 3 years. Overall it has been a great experience, my social life has never been better and my bank account has never been bigger Wink
You have to get a thick skin fast when it comes to racism in Korea. I have learned the difference between ignorance and hatred. Koreans don't hate blacks and will not try to harm you, so as long as you can get over the fact that they will have some ignorant assumptions about you, the environment here is harmless. If you are smart and nice Koreans change their minds about you after speaking to you for 5 minutes, and why wouldnt you want to change someones perspective of your race! I have been working at the same school www.snet.or.kr/english for the whole time and this place encourages diversity in it's staff. Even if not at this school do not be afraid to experience Korea!
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jasmine wrote:
Girl and Rumibaer, I agree with both of you in a lot of ways...and believe me, for every ignorant comment we've heard here, we've met 5 beautiful people. Every nation is made up of good and bad and we know that.

I know there's discrimination everywhere.

Quote:
but I can't help but say that it's realistic that any person who looks foreign to a homogenous nation such as Korea is bound to face some level of discrimination. Don't forget- there's a reason that Korea is called the Hermit Kingdom.


But it doesn't make it okay. Korea wants to become a world leader ... how does it expect to do this when it's perfectly acceptable within Korean society to treat foreigners so badly?
I can't count the number of times I've heard "F*cking America" or "Miguk, go home". It's really shocking. I had a student's parent ask me the other day what I thought about Bush and the American people and the anti-Americanism in Korea. I told her that I thought that Bush was fair game and that it's fine to dislike a leader or a government's policies, but that it's not fine to hate an entire nation of people you've never met. I asked her how she would feel if the American people were picking on Koreans living in the States, telling them to go home, singing songs like "F*cking Korea" because of something Roh Moo Hyun had done. She said "oh, I never thought about it like that".
That's the problem. People here don't take into account the feelings of the foreigners they're ridiculing. They don't think how they might feel if they went to another country and people were constantly talking about them, staring and pointing (much like Rumibaer - not fun is it?).
I just wish the people who are pointing and staring (and not hiring ) would put themselves in the other person's shoes once in a while, that's all.

On a sidenote, I'd like to say that I actually like Korea and that the vast majority of the people I've met here have been really sweet to us. I'm not talking about the people who are genuinely curious and shout "hello" on the street as we walk by (although, that gets old and annoying at times). The topic is about racism in Korea, so I'm just telling you about my experience - I'm not pretending life's perfect anywhere else, but I see A LOT of room for improvement here. Koreans are educated enough (have access to enough information) that it shouldn't be like this. A little empathy for one's fellow man every now and then would be nice!

I'd like to ask Rumibaer, as a Korean, i'd like to know whether or not it's polite in Korean society to stare and point and talk about people when they're right in front of you? It's something I've always wondered about. As a little girl, I remember my mother ALWAYS telling me it's not polite to stare at someone because they're different. I figure it's not rude here. This is a serious question. I'm genuinely interested. Many thanks!!!

Jazz!


Koreans get away with this because most english teachers are too lazy to learn Korean. Learn the language and then you can start challenging people in their own language.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tiger Beer wrote:
i_teach_esl wrote:
i am still in the states. a couple of months ago, i decided to pursue a job teaching abroad. i was raised in the states and am Black and Filipino.

everyone i have pm'ed in the forums tell me to stay away from korea. Rolling Eyes

i appreciate everyone's concern, but honestly, i didnt become black yesterday. i deal with racism every day. maybe i cant say, b/c im not there, but it seems to me that the only difference between here and korea is that koreans will be more upfront about their prejudices. the onlyblack person ive met in the forums thus far is a sister who wrote to me, "It's no different than being home. You find things you like about it and you find things you absolutely can't stand about it too." i believe her.

being black has never stopped me from doing anything. it's made some things harder, for sure, but stopped me... naw.

Nice post!

Honestly.. there are tons of 'non-whites' teaching all over the place in Korea.. and many of them are having a good time here. Others don't.. no different than any other individual who comes here.

A major pet peeve of mine is hearing fellow caucasians discouraging non-caucasians into coming here.. Rolling Eyes I don't get the motivation either.

Usually its along the lines of claiming themselves to be tolerant but these evil racist Koreans won't let that tolerancence of theirs shine.. and if they can't personally take it being so tolerant themselves.. then someone who isn't white certainly won't be able to tolerate it. (That is usually the feeling I get when I hear caucasians telling non-caucasians not to come).


Make your own choices always. Some blacks I've known have gotten good treatment but others have not. I've met some outside of these "rich" areas who've had nothing but xenophobia. Not necessarily hatred, but less than welcoming and some rude comments made about them in Korean. Then again, I've experienced my moments too, as a "whitey". If you stick to certain areas, life will be better for you. Not everyone is prejudice. But there is a race heirarchy in many Koreans minds. I don't agree with it and neither do many Koreans. Koreans are at the top of the food chain. They're taught that their country is the best in the world from the time they are in kindergarden. Follwed by white people from rich countries, except for English teachers because we're the poor rejects of our society. Then some hispanics and some other asians like Japanese. Then blacks from rich countries. Then other asians or eastern europeans. Then people from Africa are at the bottom. (Again, not my thinking!)

This is slowly changing. There are places like Bundang where people have been abroad and are more progressive in their thinking. But what I described was the thinking that was very prominent until a few years ago.

You should see some of the old Korean movies that cast US soldiers in a very negative light as people of bad character. (I suspect as revenge for them dating Korean women.)
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steelounbelievable



Joined: 04 May 2011
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: I'm in a unique situation Reply with quote

So after traveling over the summer to Asia, I thought to myself I should teach in a stable and lovely country such as South Korea. While I understand the Korean's are friendly people, I've come to the understanding that it can be a bit nasty and xenophobic if you're not white in terms of getting TESL jobs. So I am half-Chinese and half-Caucasian, American born. I have sent my resume out to a dozen recruiters/companies etc. through this website. I've gotten about 3 or 4 possible job offers, something tells me that if I was little more Caucasian that I might get a few more reply e-mails. MY QUESTION: Will I encounter a fair amount of discrimination in Korea or from Korean employers in the job process?

-Thanks
P.S. I love my fellow humans no matter who they are or where they may be.
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Munniko



Joined: 04 May 2011

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best way I can say this is "If you don't like the heat, stay out of the kitchen" but I will put a little side note that you should never have to tolerate racism. As some one of extremely mixed blood (I often get asked "so what races aren't you?") and who is extremely pale I've just developed some pretty thick skin about hearing and dealing with racist remarks because a lot of times people don't realize that I'm not white and may take offense to their statement.

I will say that most of the time I've encountered Asian racism is through pure ignorance and just lack of exposure (I had to explain to my Chinese roommate why it might not be the best thing to say "up until coming to this college I thought all Black people were smelly and rude") and only some of the time is it really meant to hurt (like a Black friend of mine getting asked while in Japan if he had a soul) so you gotta try and give people the benefit of the doubt that they are just curious even though they are staring at your like a red panda in the zoo.

As my professor who taught The Anthropology of Whiteness said "if you don't take the time to educate people, no matter how tiring it gets, they will never learn"

I also think that we shouldn't put down people's individual experience with racism in Korea because it is a good warning of what you might experience and what you need to have your guard up for, not all minorities go through their day constantly thinking of themselves as a minority so they may get a nasty shock when it happens.

Just my 2 cents as a really pale minority person and I know that I am extremely fortunate to be one, I have no problems getting jobs, I don't get followed by security, but I still manage to be loved by old Asian women.
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Skill



Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember 50 years back, black folks couldn't sit in the same bus with the white folk. Remember Xenophobia never has reached that staged in South Korea. It is important to give them time and challenge those stereotypical views, that English has nothing got to do with the colour of your skin.

Parents equating English fluency with blonde blue-eyed causasian don't do justice to their children. I don't understand how they expect their children to become fluent in English when they already have made their mind about it.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

narsty dog wrote:
It s interesting to note kleenex that your insightful post has had zero repiles. ( sorry - one as i write from t. beer + me ) . Why would this be ?????? I put it down the recent phenomena on this board of 'everything in the garden is rosy'.
20 blacks !!!!!!! Whooa , so many.
it s like poeple dont want to hear bad news , or when the war was on , they prefer the sanitised views of FOX, or CNN rather thna watch al jazeera. they know children are being literally slaughtered, orphaned or having their limbs bombed off, but they dont want to see it.
same with entrenched attitutes to certain racial groups. It s there but best not to touch on it , eh???

You see this is where I start to lose it . You assume that Zimbabwean politics is interesting to Koreans . I think the same as you - I m interested in current affairs so i think others will be . BUT, in Korea you cant even get past the "Zimbabweans are black" stage , so what hope is there of looking at the sitaution there in terms of critical understanding , historically or its relevance for debates on post colonial states, etc. ?????? It s a non starter.

Seems to me like koreans want the "English" ( language) but not the texts it is actually used in. keep banging your head against the brick wall. Eventually the pain 'll make you stop.

Koreans view blacks as inferior people. It s due to their obsession with status and hierarchy. White racism is founded on similar views. We colonised black countries and then invited them to live with us and be at the bottom of the pile. Many Koreans see blacks as being lazy because they dont own corner shops and try and imitate the white man.
Basically koreans are wanna be followers of the white people with capitalist dreams of world domination and no respect for the environment ( US kyoto protocol rejection etc. ) as long as they keep up their 'comfortable' lifestlye. These are the same people who laugh at primitive folks in the 3rd world who have no greed or need for oil , live simply and frugally , and have no need to fight wars for oil , or get money to buy things they dont really need.


WOW! I didn't know there were still people like you around. You must be a popular guest at cocktail parties. I guess the room gets cleared out pretty quickly. (Al Jazeera is completely unbiased in Middle Eastern Politics, of course.)
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reggie wrote:
There was a black couple that used to live in my apartment building in Seoul and they had taught in Korea for a few years. They were a good-looking couple that looked like they could've been Abercrombie & Fitch models or something. Plus, there was another black chick in my neighborhood who was teaching English. She was good looking too. Physical beauty is as important as race, especially with hagwons.
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travel zen



Joined: 22 Feb 2005
Location: Good old Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the best threads and topic of read !

Tiger Beer said:
Quote:
as to London schools.. i have no idea.. as to the U.S.A... there are so many laws against this kind of 'old boys club' that you are talking about.. in fact, i spent alot of years in new york city and san francisco.. and i had few white bosses.. most were black (to make a point i guess.. not sure).. and others were asian.. if anyone.. its latinos who have no representation anywhere.. go to any bookstore or university.. and u will see an enormous amount of books and academic studies and music cds and everything you can possibly imagine.. even entire network tv stations and everything on black americans.. how can this be racist? i don't know.. i have nothing against any of this.. but i get sick of the ignorant stereotypes that all black people are living in ghettos.. when all someone has to do is turn on the tv, listen to music, go to a bookstore, take a class at a university, get a job, or a whole hoste of other things.. and see tons of successful black people in the States.. including two who are with Bush who are some of the most powerful people in the world..

why aren't they in korea? well.. their numbers are quite small in relation to their power in the States.. so while reading all the 'stuff' in the States.. its easy to buy into everything you are saying.. but the reality is they are still a minority.. and the ones who do actually want to be here.. actually are here.. and the ones who aren't here.. probably do not want to be here.. that just the reality..


Extremely insightful !!!!!!!
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i_teach_esl



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Location: baebang, asan/cheonan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

im now on the tail end of year 4 living and working here. my advice is the same:

Quote:
to my melanin~ated folks: dont let anyone tell you what you can do, where you can go, what your experience will be like. you alone will know how you'll find it here when you get here.
find black folks in south korea on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=25747883752
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