Skip Navigation

ESL jobs in Thailand, (does race still matter?)

Travel Forums Asia ESL jobs in Thailand, (does race still matter?)

1. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1116 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

A black man can become president of the largest English speaking country in the world,
But he has greater chances of winning in the Miss World beauty pageant than getting a job interview in the Thai ESL market.

A native speaker is not defined by race or geography... Its not even accent, because there is no such thing as wrong accent. Its just different!

I just wonder who is perpetuating this colonial era mentality? I have no problem if they have a preference for blonde caucasians. But have the balls to say it bluntly. What irritates me is how they flaunt their ignorance of the term native speaker. It basically means that English is your 1ST language.

Fact is, these so called native speakers are very insecure so they perpetuate this illusion that the market prefers white teachers and that the language belongs to a few countries only (US, UK, NZ, CANADA). The guiness book of world records listed the PHIL as the third largest English speaking country in the world. Ignorance is not bliss.

I am not nationalistic or something. I am just disgusted as an Orientalist, that a city as modern as Bangkok is assumed to be a farang loving market no different from the rural Chinese that are mesmerized by the sight of peace corp volunteers. Caucasians in Bangkok are as local as Durian in the South. Do Thai people take photos of backpackers like they do in most Chinese cities? Hell no!

Thailand is a rice eating country and the locals don't really care if their teachers are not potatoes (caucasians).
I was head teacher in an all white language school that have a collection of NAZI literature. I kept my job because the Chinese didn't care if I am not blonde. But the white management of another school fired me for being brown. Atleast they have the balls to admit that they are insecure. I just took it as a compliment.

Schools are bussiness establishments and they respond to the assumed demands of their target market. So they assume that ASIANS won't like teachers of color or those with a nuetral accent? I was Vice Principal once, so I am not going to be a hypocrite. I like white slaves, I mean colleagues.

Did the British Council, in their centuries of selling CELTA certificates to people from countries with strong currencies, ever bothered to make a survey about the accent preference of the Asian student? Who wants to speak English with the British accent? I will bet my life, not one Asian in a language center finds it cool to sound like Elton John. I've met a lot of arrogant brits and aussies, who were dealing with on the premise that I am American. They always say that "English comes from a country called England". Uhm, the fact is, the entire continent prefers the American accent, especially the males. THE POINT IS THEY SHOULD NOT DISCRIMINATE APPLICANTS ON THE BASIS OF ACCENT.

They hire cowboys from Alabama and Kansas, alcoholic scottish teenagers, French from Quebec, and EASTERN Europeans... but they will not hire Tyra Banks, a Filipino call center agent who makes 100,000 baht a month through a telemarketing jobs in some island in the Philippines.

I am glad I am not an Education or English major... Asia is not a place to be an English Teacher for life.

2. Posted by agordon (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

well what do you expect from a developing country? Thailand has more important things to worry about other than forming its own ACLU.

3. Posted by gowriter (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hon, I don't know what to tell you. Being Half Thai, Half Black and American would probably put me in a completely different category. I'm not sure I would get a job there.

Thais are sweet and loving and fickle all the same. It's an image thing we have. Having the balls to come out and just tell you, well, you won't get that from many Thais. Confrontation is considered unseemly, except when its politicians going at each other's throats. Don't try to rationalize it. It's just the way it is.

4. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 463 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I’m sorry, I’ll keep this short, but your posting above is riddled with half-truths and unsubstantiated allegations and personal observations that are rather misleading.

Swept Away -
If you are to make these assertions and make them with any conviction you need to show that you understand firstly what racism is and secondly how it works.
In most of your claims I’d say you appear to have the wrong end of the stick.

There IS racism in choosing teachers in Thailand, but it I would suggest it does not bear any resemblance to the characteristics you have suggested.

May I suggest too that you look more closely at teaching of English in Thailand and who teaches what kind of English to whom?

Then look at who actually does teach here and there backgrounds – if you can dig that far – relying on stereotypes, especially when making a claim such as your (which is about stereotyping) is not a very good way of presenting your argument.

The argument you present goes in similar way to the argument that follows –

“Dogs have 4 legs” – FACT
My cat has 4 legs – fact
Therefore my cat is a dog.

You need to really examine the evidence and background before jumping to erroneous conclusions

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 2, 2008, at 3:47 AM by wildfk ]