From the Korea Herald:
Racism in hagwon: business is business
She explained that when she originally opened the school, she had employed one foreign teacher, a Filipino. She went on, claiming that whenever parents went to her school and saw the non white Filipino teacher, they simply turned around and left. Even though she admitted that some parents told her their children’s teachers were black, she came to the conclusion that “people in Korea prefer native white (English) speakers … When I tried to advertise again I wrote ‘white or blond,’ I had to meet many black people even though I did not want those teachers. I wasted my time interviewing them.
Yikes! Filipinos are not legally allowed to teach English in Korea. There are some who do teach, but they’re doing it either illegally or they’ve acquired Korean citizenship. The article above could come as a shock to some. We all know that thousands of Koreans flock to the Philippines, specially during the winter vacation, to study English. So why not allow Philippine-passport holders to teach English in Korea? I’ve met a lot of Koreans and they think that our pronunciation (or accent) is not desirable. I know even native English speakers, who are not from the USA or Canada, are forced to change their accent to American when they teach. There are also those who think that only “white” people could speak the language properly.
There are times when I talk to Koreans in English and they are a little bit surprised that I talk the way I do. (FYI, I worked in a call center before and enjoyed my job there. I thought it was challenging but less stressful than my previous jobs. I’m just not a writer nor a grammar guru.) I just tell them that a lot of Filipinos can speak English well, specially those who’ve been to college. It’s just a matter of exposure, I guess. When you’re brown-skinned or from southeast asia, they usually think that you could’nt be any better than a factory worker. It’s rather frustrating since I know a lot of Filipinos here who are professionals and are accomplished in their fields.