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Looking for some serious insight!!!
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Dragonstyle



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 2:55 pm    Post subject: Looking for some serious insight!!! Reply with quote

Alright I've got a seriuos question that I would like only serious answers to. Here's the situation, I'm a black male and I'm thinking of teaching english in Korea (Pusan). Recently the topic of conversation amongst friends was the Asian attitude toward foreigners and more specifically, foreigners of colour.
My friend who is teaching in Taiwan has had some discouraging things to say about her experience and is warning me that my experience might be even that more difficult due to me being black.
I want to Seriously know what others have to say on this.


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chi-chi



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Taiwan, skin color would be the least of your worries, trust me, there is a different breed of cat there to worry about...give Korea a shot.
Yeah there is some racism but if you send a photo, you should be able to weed out the discriminatory employers.
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captain kirk



Joined: 29 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd been teaching in korea about five years i guess before i went back to taiwan to teach there again. that was about a year ago now. in all the time i've worked in korea i'd never seen any black teachers around. there are black people in korea but they are from africa direct, trading here. but when i got to taiwan again, last year, i was in a teaching program for the public schools where there were a couple of black teachers. having come from korea, i was REALLY surprised. i'm not at all racist. i come from canada, i'm white. but white and black what of it? means nothing. i was surprised at black english teachers in taiwan because in my time in korea i've had the strong sense there are no black english teachers in korea. none at all. zero. and that's because, i suspect, koreans have very far-out and outlandish sterotypes about black people.
i met a black guy on the subway once in seoul. sure, it's just one guy, but the impression i got from his experience of being black in korea was that he was having an extremely unpleasant time dealing with how he felt he was perceived by koreans. he was as hot about it as a container of acid. it was like he felt he was a waste container for the garbage attitudes about colour he felt coming his way enough to REALLY bother him.
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Trinny



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Like Captain Kirk (CK), I can only tell you purely based on personal experience. A friend of mine, who is a black and Canadian, was offered a job with a Hogwon. She has a MA degree in English literature and a teaching certificate from UBC. After she finalized the contract with the hogwon, she sent her employer her photo, as requested.

And then, she went to Vancouver International Airport on the departure date printed on her flight ticket, which was provided by her employer and was told by a flight agent her ticket was cancelled by her prospective employer.

Bewildered and confused, she phoned up her hogwon to find out what was going on. Her hogwon said they decided to cancel the said employment contract, because they find that she is a black and it is a undesirable skin colour for Korean ESL industry.

And I've talked to a couple of Africans (mostly Nigerians) in Korea. I don't know what brought them to Korea. All I can remember is the bitterness in their description of Korea and Koreans
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Pyongshin Sangja



Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: I love baby!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had an older, divorced white Canadian woman as a roomie once who had a 22 year old son who was half-black. The son had just graduated from university in Canada and was by all accounts a stand-up guy. She tried to get him a job at the same hagwon and was told no because parents would supposedly complain about a black person teaching here. I have met one black teacher here in my 2 and a half years, one. A woman I know that is half Indian was almost fired but then taken on when someone else quit. She was given a lousy schedule and less pay than others. That said, my new roomie is an American/Mexican dual citizen and looks very dark. This, however, is not a hagwon it is a university. Good luck.
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Dragonstyle



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 8:45 pm    Post subject: thanks to all! Reply with quote

Hey thanks to anyone who shared a little of their experience greatly appreciated. I am going to push forth and find myself a contract regardless. I'm sure that as others have said if a pic is sent then the problem should be avoided.
I don't see it as Koreans being racist, but more that they are prejudiced as to what makes an African/Americam/Canadian. They are given images of us on t.v/movies.music videos. And you know what if I was Korean perhaps I might be thinking that blacks are those stereotypical imgages that they see. I think it is far better that Koreans are ignorant towards blacks than it be that they are fully informed and aware but yet they choose to discriminate.
I know that I'm an open minded person with a super cool personality that can carry me many places. I see my travelling to korea as a way of opening up ideas to others and to show that the stereotypes and prejudices that exist within can be overcome with a little exposure.
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peppermint



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: traversing the minefields of caddishness.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

teachers of color are rare here, but they do exist. Last year I knew 3 or 4 teachers of African desent and a handful of people from various countries who appeared to have some ancestors in the Indian subcontinent, and I was in a city of 600,000 people.

Be prepared though, lots of Korean people are intimidated by a white face. (I'm not sure if thats a racial thing or a language thing though. .. ) but I've heard some really ignorant racial comments from seemingly open minded adults.

I asked a class once to tell me a story, about something interesting that happened to them. One of the students told me how he gave a black man on the street directions when the guy was a little lost. I said,"and then what happened?" but that was it. The guy's exciting story was that he'd had enough courage to speak to a black guy.. . kinda sad really.
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jh



Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peppermint knob wrote:
I asked a class once to tell me a story, about something interesting that happened to them. One of the students told me how he gave a black man on the street directions when the guy was a little lost. I said,"and then what happened?" but that was it. The guy's exciting story was that he'd had enough courage to speak to a black guy.. . kinda sad really.

Why would it be kinda sad? When you describe the guy's story as "exciting" the implication is that it was exciting to the guy. The guy thinks it was a good "exciting" experience. I'm having trouble here because the connotation of the "black" guy here is "not white" whereas "the guy's exciting story" would equate "the black guy" as simply a "foreigner." The guy was excited that he gave directions to a foreigner. This is quite common, and one that could be easily understood by ESLers in Korea.

Call me a skeptic, but your statement of "he'd had enough courage to speak to a black guy" doesn't seem to me to a Korean trait. What it does resemble, however, is "the fear of the black man" as illustrated in American culture and history.

I have never heard of Koreans being afraid of "black" persons. Sure, there are prejudices regarding relationships, but to say that a Korean guy was excited about giving a "black" foreigner directions because he overcame his fear of "black" persons is egregiously misleading, I think.
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There goes JH again...immediately into denial....come on JH...admit it that Koreans, as a nation, have some pretty strong stereotypes for black people.

It doesn't mean a black person can't be comfortable. One of the most professional and successful teachers I've met in Korea is African American.

He's had his ups and downs, and has learned that you can't take things too seriously.

That said, truth be told, amongst the older generation especially, there will be cases where the students or hagwon owners will be dissapointed if their exotic waiguk teacher turns out to be black. Oh, well...that's life in their narrow little world.

I personally have been asked by a Korean college professor if I could come to visit her English literature class and give her students a chance to use English. I had a previous engagement and offered to send a writer friend of mine. Once she learned that my writer friend was from the Philippines she decided against it. When I aske why, she responded "I think they'd prefer talking to a Westerner (read WHITE).

For you to constantly deny and rationalize your nation's problems makes you a tired but all too real cliche.
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a few african-americans on this board.. they post from time to time..

I've met a few african-american teachers.. one of which has been teaching at a university for the last 5 years I believe. She seems to like it alot. Actually, she's from Britian.. Carribean-British.. her background.

I met another guy who almost hired me to work at his school.. he was promoted to be the guy who manages the department. He'd been there for a good 5-6 years.. or in Korea for that long. He seemed to like it.

I also use to run into an Ethiopian-British guy as well. He had a great contract teaching like 12 hours a week with a work visa. He seemed to be having a pretty good time, ran into him alot in the bars.

Recently I've been running into an Ethiopian-Canadian guy who hangs out alot in Itaewon. I think he hasn't been here that long though, but seems to be having a pretty good time nontheless. I seem to run into him semi-regularly.

Anyhow, they are around and if they find a situation the like, seem to deal with whatever comes their way.
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rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm white but my skin tone is quite swarthy, and with my black hair I often get taken for a spaniard, Italian, or even have had people guess i have Indonesian or some black ancestry.
The korean bosses are always noticeably more impressed with my friends when they see them- most are quite pale skinned with blue eyes (Americans).
Its really pathetic...and I've always had to hide the fact that I'm originally from Africa- I just tell them I'm British, as i have the passport (Lived only 6 years of my entire life in the U.K.).
So yes, luckilly I just manage to scrape into the "white " bracket...feel sorry for those ESL teachers in Korea who don't, I can imagine how annoying it is to have to break down perceptions constantly.
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jh



Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

makushi wrote:
There goes JH again...immediately into denial....come on JH...admit it that Koreans, as a nation, have some pretty strong stereotypes for black people.

And here comes Makushi...writing before reading...come on Makushi, that is not what i said. I said that there are prejudices, especially with relationships.

Quote:
It doesn't mean a black person can't be comfortable. One of the most professional and successful teachers I've met in Korea is African American.
Where did i say that a black person can or can't be comfortable? You're saying that I'm saying that an African American cannot be comfortable?

Quote:
He's had his ups and downs, and has learned that you can't take things too seriously.
And you?

Quote:
That said, truth be told, amongst the older generation especially, there will be cases where the students or hagwon owners will be dissapointed if their exotic waiguk teacher turns out to be black. Oh, well...that's life in their narrow little world.
Would you like a soapbox?

Quote:
I personally have been asked by a Korean college professor if I could come to visit her English literature class and give her students a chance to use English. I had a previous engagement and offered to send a writer friend of mine. Once she learned that my writer friend was from the Philippines she decided against it. When I aske why, she responded "I think they'd prefer talking to a Westerner (read WHITE).
I don't think Koreans are "scared" of black people (read READ!!!).

Quote:
For you to constantly deny and rationalize your nation's problems makes you a tired but all too real cliche.
For you to constantly jump in and start flaming before you READ makes you just DUMB.

BTW peppermint knob and i have exchanged pms, i think we sorted this out.

But everybody's entitled to their 2cents, eh? Regardless of if you can make change or not. Would you rather that the black teacher did not come? Don't come dude! A fellow black person didn't offer any advice and don't listen to the Korean cuz she's rationalizing, just listen to me cuz i'm white and you gotta believe me when i say that Koreans hate/scared of/will make life miserable for PARTICULARLY a black man!

Why don't we let him decide?
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jh



Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wanna know what we think? We think black people are really built, handsome guys that marry hot Korean women because they fly around in their own private planes. Very Happy
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Jasmine



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Hongkers!

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there,

I live in Kwanju and I personally know 2 black teachers from Canada, 2 from America (one's my boyfriend), 5 from South Africa and one from Eritrea (Although I'm not sure she's a teacher).

My boyfriend and I are mixed couple (I'm white, he's black) and we had a hard time finding jobs, but we did find them. As for treatment by Koreans? Well...let's just say, that my boyfriend has travelled extensively around the world and is more uncomfortable here in Korea than he is in Louisianna or Germany - and he was treated pretty bad there.

But we have met some wonderful people here. There are good and bad people everywhere you go in the world, it just seems that a lot of people are idiots here. Yes, people are scared (we've been told "we were scared of you when we first met you" etc). My boyfriend has been asked a few times if he's in a gang or has a gun - grrr! It's just people being stupid and not thinking. You will change a lot of people's minds when you get to know them, so in a way, you will be an ambassador, but it's a bit of a hassle. I hope you have lots of energy!!!

You can't save as much money, but I hear that the Japanese really like black people, especially the ladies. We have a friend who worked there and had to fight them off with a stick - you might want to save yourself the headache that is Korea and head to Japan instead - much cooler, more relaxed and open-minded people if you ask me.

Good Luck with your decision! Laughing
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jh



Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jasmine wrote:
You can't save as much money, but I hear that the Japanese really like black people, especially the ladies. We have a friend who worked there and had to fight them off with a stick - you might want to save yourself the headache that is Korea and head to Japan instead - much cooler, more relaxed and open-minded people if you ask me.

Good Luck with your decision! Laughing


So, Jasmine, are you suggesting that he not come to Korea? Cuz that's what your post seems to imply. Why do you come? Is your black boyfriend braving the discomfort for you?

Also, you forgot to mention that:

Jasmine wrote:
Sat Mar 08, 2003 4:56 pm

I'll be 27 tomorrow (happy birthday to me) . My boyfriend's 39! This is our 3rd time here.
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