The Power of White

There have been occasions in the not-too-distant past when I've thought about teaching English in a foreign country, as I'm sure many reasonably educated young Americans have. I've never pulled the trigger, and I never will—but it's probably for the best anyway, if what's happening in China is happening in other countries.

Asian Americans who are native English speakers and born in the United States just don't get a fair shot at landing a job as an English teacher in China. Apparently, Chinese parents don't trust Asian-looking teachers as much as they trust white teachers when it comes to educating their children about the English language.

How ridiculously discriminatory is it? The Los Angeles Times wrote about an Asian-American job applicant who kept getting rejected by Chinese employers primarily because he wasn't white. However, a white Australian who now works as an English teacher in Shanghai didn't even have to apply—he was approached by a faculty member on a bus and was asked if he wanted a job.

The demand for white teachers is so high that some Chinese schools even recruit people from France, Germany, and other countries where English isn't even the primary language.

Now, I thought it was only wayward white people who ignored the "American" in "Asian American," but the Asians do it too. And I thought this issue was so ten years ago, but, apparently, it's alive and well and migrated overseas.

If the demand for math were bigger in China...white people's days would be numbered.


  1. the insane woman i worked for had a company that did nothing but hire ameican attorney's to work in china.

    she told me a long time ago, not a single asian firm had ever hired an american with asian forbearers.

    go figure.

  2. I was never able to get hired to dance in a theme park in Japan (Tokyo Disneyland, etc.), because I look too Japanese, and they already hire their local dancers at a lower pay rate, mixing them in with the American performers (Aryan looks, African American, and Latino/a).

    I finally got a gig in a small park in southern Japan because I had asked if they would be willing to hire me to fill one of the Japanese performer-employee spots.
    Most Japanese there, though, thought that I looked foreign.