As previously (and rather obviously) established, I’m ethnically Asian.
I’m okay with my face. It’s gotten me through 30 years of my life and hey, no complaints so far! In fact, I’m more than just okay with my face! I’m proud of it!
Unfortunately, trying to find an English teaching job in Hong Kong and looking Asian…well, let’s just say, looking the way I do just ain’t helping.
Based on some stories I’ve heard, it’s been my sneaking suspicion that I’ve been having trouble finding a job because Asian parents do not want to have their children taught English by an Asian looking teacher, even if that Asian looking teacher happens to be American, fluent in English, TEFL certified AND has experience with children.
|See? Kids LIKE me!|
Casting my doubts aside and not wanting to be too pessimistic, I plugged away with sending out my resume and credentials to schools looking for “immediate hires” and had “open vacancies now”. I received many positive responses to my job inquiries but as soon as I send the schools a recent photograph (as requested), STONE WALL. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. At best, I receive an automated email thanking me for my interest and that they would contact me should anything open up. Yes, these are for the very same immediate hires and open vacancies that they had just advertised days before.
After talking to a friend in Hong Kong, I was told “that my being Asian-looking is a big negative in people’s eyes here. Fundamentally, the locals are racist and don’t want an Asian person (no matter how American they actually might be) teaching their kids English.” Then it was suggested that I accept the fact that I will need to be persistent and understand that I will not get the same level of pay as white people will.
This is completely frustrating and infuriating! I have to accept that I will get paid LESS for a position I am qualified and experienced in, and in favor for someone who may not have the same credentials and experience but has blond hair and blue eyes???
Racism or not, that just doesn’t make any sense to me!
It doesn’t matter that I speak native English. It doesn’t matter that I am already TEFL certified. It doesn’t matter that I have a load of experience working with children. It doesn’t matter that I’m a good teacher either. None of it matters because I look Asian.
Wow, I feel like human equality just went back several decades…
What’s an Asian-looking girl to do beside keep positive, continue looking and hope for the best? And perhaps rethink her career choice in Hong Kong? That could be a fun challenge! Career change!
© Connie Hum 2011