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Is there hiring discrimination towards Asian-Americans?

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Joined: 06 Mar 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 7:19 pm    Post subject: Is there hiring discrimination towards Asian-Americans? Reply with quote

I would like to know if there is any discrimination towards hiring Asian-Americans? I'm ethnically Chinese, but my family left China in the 1940's. I can't even speak Chinese. I'm a native speaker with a social science BA, meaning tons of reading and writing in college. I also have public speaking experience and marketing/sales work experience, so the classroom performance issue shouldn't be a big one.

Here is where I'm concerned. While I am 5'11" , 180 lbs. and I am obviously a native speaker, I still look very Chinese, or Asian at least. My grandparents are from southern China, meaning I have a darker complexion. I recently traveled to Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, and was often mistaken for a native. This helped because locals didn't think I was a tourist they could pester to buy things, or try to rip off. Will this hurt my employment chances? A friend of mine in the industry told me the best way was to come to Taiwan and go door-to-door looking for work. I'm afraid I might spend all this money to try and set up in Taiwan only to find difficulty in finding higher paying positions.

Can anyone shed some light on this? Do you have many fellow teachers that are Asian-American or Asian-Canadian?

Or are there any Asian-American/Canadians on the board who could share some advice?
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Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 2
Location: Jungli Taiwan

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for what I have experienced so far I think you will have a very difficult time here in Taiwan trying to find a job teaching English. I have only been here for a short time so someone else may be better qualified at answering this question but I will give you what my experiences have taught me. I worked at a Winter Camp for two weeks. The teachers who usually taught at the school were on vacation and so I and another American were hired to take over for the two weeks. In that time we were asked to replace the teachers who had been there for one to two years and had been very loyal employees. We were asked to replace them because they were from South Africa and even though they were white and spoke English they were not the right kind of English speakers. I am here with an agent who as you have heard is not the way to go but I actually got lucky and got a good agent who reallly tries and works hard for me and seldomly lies and cheats as the others do. There was another white girl with the agency, she was very large. A tall girl who weighed quite a lot. My agent had a very difficult time placing her beacuse she was fat and the schools here want an "All American" look. The other South Africans and those from England,Scotland, Wales, Irealnd, and anywhere else not American are paid less than I am. Not substantially less and not everywhere but many people are quite biased in their hiring and pay rates if you are not what they hoped an American would look like. I happen to be a lucky girl. I am all white all American with eyes lighter than those of the Taiwanese and hair that is also lighter and I am not too fat. It seems so sad to think that just beacuse of the way I was born I am better qualified here. It has nothing to do with my experience or education or training but soley my accent and appearance. I get offered other people's jobs all the time. Just this morning on the train to work was asked by a lady to come teach at her school. I enquired about the pay and hours and then why she needed me since we are already well into the semester. She replied that she had a black man from England teaching at her school and didn't think his image was what she wanted. My only advice would be to beat them at their own game and sign a contract before arriving but even then many people want a picture so it may be very difficult for you. But again I am one person out of many here so don't only listen to me I hope you get other advice and hopefully something that is more encouraging. Good luck!
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taiwan boy

Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately you will experience discrimination in Taiwan. The best thing to do is to send out a photo when you contact schools. Generally if the school is just interested in appearances you won't hear from them again. This will save you wasting time going to interviews where you don't have a chance of getting a job merely because of your skin colour.

You can find a job in Taiwan though. Just be prepared to have to look a bit harder.
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 1028
Location: Taoyuan

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi. My girlfriend is CBC. We came here together and we both found work. There has been discrimination here, however. I guess the only real advice I can give you is: prospective overseas chinese English teacher beware.

It's difficult, but not impossible to get work. When we left to come here, we were actually pretty discouraged. We had sent emails to various schools about getting my girlfriend a job and the feedback had been negative. We still came because I assured her I'd support her with my salary if it came to that. When we got here, she found a job with little difficulty (she makes more than I do, too).

Now that I've told you a positive story, I'll give you the grey cloud behind the silver lining. While alot of schools will say they will accept ABC/CBCs, what they are actually looking for is a native level English speaker who can speak some mandarin as well. This may be a problem for you.

More silver lining: It is not unheard of for ABCs to be hired as foreign teachers (without the mandarin requirement). My company has hired them before and recently hired one guy (albeit only half chinese).

There is certainly more risk involved for you. I'm hesitant to advise you either way. It really is going to come down to you. Can you be a little thick skinned and swallow some blatant discrimination? In short: I think you can find a job here, just maybe not as easily.

Last edited by TaoyuanSteve on Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
Posts: 121
Location: Sunny Sanxia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:26 pm    Post subject: The ABC/CBC discrimination myth Reply with quote

I really wouldn't call it a myth. ABC's and CBC's are discriminated against, but they can aften have a far better time of it than your other foreign types. A lot of schools won't hire just any ABC and a lot of schools are extremely picky about hiring overseas. However once in the country, the ABC has a generally better time, especially if they have a Taiwanese or overseas Chinese passport. This gives them a lot more leeway with jobs than your average foreign worker could ever dream of. If they have Chinese speaking ability, the sky is the limit. There are schools that will only hire ABC's and CBC's.

Taiwanese often feel more comfortable with a similiar face. I've known about 6 ABC's and CBC's and they all are making money hand over fist(more than me too). Now you'll occasionally see a complainer, but look at their complaint. It's what I would call a false-ABC. Their English level is passable to sucks, but they have the foreign passport(so they can get out of military service or flee to another country if war breaks out) and a chip on their shoulder. they spent some time in an English speaking country, but are not nearly as fluent as a native speaker. They can often be heard ripping on the white people. Some of you may think me racist and making this up. Before you dismiss me look at my previous posts and length of time in Taiwan(2 years 8 months). I've worked with a lot of people. Taiwanese will often resent such ABC's because they think they are too proud.

You'll see these posts every now and again on other forums about how ABC's can't get jobs and are discriminated against. I've seen discrimination, but nothing like they are talking about. Most are doing a pretty good job and making money and not complaining on forums about discrimination and white people.

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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2003 2:09 am    Post subject: Is that so true? Reply with quote

I have recently contacted a language school whos advertising a teaching position in Taipei. I spoke with the school manager, which at first had no idea that I am an ABC, told me hourly rate will be approximately NTD 650. I then asked about how work permit can be arranged, accomodations etc...& told him that I am currently living in Hong Kong and my nationality (being an ABC), he quickly turnaround and advised me the salary for ABC English teachers will be NTD 300-400 per hour instead!!!
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Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 10
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2003 3:45 pm    Post subject: it's possible Reply with quote

Post deleted by author.

Last edited by squid on Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 16
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2003 8:41 am    Post subject: you'll have plenty of opportunity Reply with quote

I worked for a well-known bushiban for a number of years and was the hirer of teachers for three years at that school. Let me tell you, although you are Chinese American (ABC) and don't have the wanted "blond hair blue eyes" features so many go after (as a novelty) you have many other qualifications that would very likely make you a fine teacher. Fact of the matter is, you are American born with an American passport - I can't imagine you have anything but a native speaker accent (since you say you can't even speak Chinese). From my experience, teachers such as you were often very popular after the first ten minutes of disappointment when their students found them not so exotic looking. In short, I knew many popular and successful "ABC" teachers. The fact that you are actually a foreigner, but still "one of them", they sometimes see as very cool and attractive.

There are plenty of qualified schools out there that will hire you. And mind you, there is a big difference between an American Chinese born in a native English speaking country and one who moved there as a child (an oversees Chinese). For this reason, you will still be attractive from the get-go. The fact that you are 5'11" and 180 lbs will make you seem like a foreigner anyway.

Go to a good school where they know good teaching is good teaching and are aware of your sound qualifications - you have the potential to make lots of money for yourself.

And if you were curious, I'm a Caucasian American male - not that it really matters. But if I was still in Taiwan hiring teachers, you would look like a good potential teacher to me (BA social studies, comfortable in classroom setting, etc...) That's my two cents
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