Although in this very competitive country - China, people do everything it takes to break through in business, I am very strongly against malpractices like bribery, dishonesty, discrimination, etc.
1. It is wrong to think that an English teacher MUST be a native English speaker. (Being a native speaker of a language doesn't qualify one enough to teach that language.)
2. It is even worse to think that an English teacher must be a white man from some shortlisted countries. (Teaching a language has nothing to do with the colour of one's skin)
3. It is wrong to think that people whose first language is not English can't teach English. (Some of the best ESL teachers, trainers and ESL course book writers are not native English speakers. Not all Americans, British, Australians, etc are native English speakers.)
Unfortunately, this is the mentality, less educated, ignorant and sometimes purely prejudiced persons have and pass on to the younger generation. We are not simply English teachers. We are educators and models. It is our duty to correct this way of thinking instead of encouraging it by getting involved in bribery and lies about people's origins and identities. By doing so, educators that we are, help in promoting social evils like racism, discrimination and prejudice. We ought to prove the society wrong.
My story: (A little long, read if you have the patience).
When I arrived in China many years back I was shocked at the prejudiced ads online with phrases like 'whites only' 'No Africans please' 'you must be American, British, bla bla bla.' With 5years ESL teaching experience before arriving in China, I felt for the first time like a fish out of water. I called my mom and told her I wanted to go back home because I felt like an unwanted person. My mom felt so bad that she talked to my dad about it. My dad on the contrary was not that worried. I remember his words so clearly: "Son, if you meet darkness, do not run away, light a candle." He said and hung up on me.
I was still in Guangzhou, my one month L visa was running out. The guy I was temporary putting up with was putting pressure on me to leave or pay rents. In this desparate situation I fell in to the trap. I got duped by a visa agent who promised both a job and an F visa. That's how I found myself in my first teaching position in China - a small village school in Xi'an.
- Fake teaching certificates and college degrees are everywhere at very affordable prices with prestigious names of universities on them. Recruiters believe them. The business is booming because recruiters are not looking at whether or not the teacher is qualified to teach. They are looking at the name of the university and the country.
- Out of the frustration of being marginalized, many of my African brothers and sisters have taken to unworthy means of making a living in China because it's the option the society here has given them.
- Cases of Africans with expired visas abound in China because a visa from an African country for extension is considered "a bad case" both by visa agents and the immigration office while back in African countries citizens of many other countries around the world walk in and out freely.
- For an African in China to date a Chinese girl, during your discussion, face-to-face or online, you have to say something like "you know I am African but I grew up in London, New York, Canada, bla bla bla" Then you can be considered. If it's online simply say, "I am American" her pictures and phone number are all yours in a minute. (No offense Chinese sisters, I have a chinese girlfriend who loves me very much as a Cameroonian. She also loves Africa).
So dear Chinese friends, prejudice is a social evil. Think of all the chinese investments in Africa, all the Chinese living in African countries (7000 in my country - Cameroon), think of all the diplomatic ties that have been made with numerous conferences and friendship slogans and then think about the way we are regarded here; the cold stares, remarks, mockery laughs, etc.
In China foreigners who are white are referred to as 'wai gou ren' while foreigners who are black are refered to as 'hei ren.' It hurts to be reminded all the time of one's skin colour and the fact that one is a foreigner here.
*Imagine if people started calling chinese people "Yellows" or "Yellow men."
*Imagine you in a foreign country sitting on a seat on the bus or on the train with the two other seats to your left and to your right deserted eventhough the bus is packed.
*Imagine you walking in the park just to relax, a little child sees you and says 'hello' happy to meet you and the mother grabs him and carries him away in her arms as if to say "how dare you go near that .... (I don't know what)".
*Imagine you walking on the street and every time you approach people someone is saying "Kan kan Kan yi xia" or elbowing the other to see what kind of person is coming.
*Imagine students' parents saying "My daughter's teacher is black but he can teach well."
*Imagine all the ads online carrying hurting phrases like: 'we don't do visas for African countries,' 'teachers from Africa - don't apply please' 'I want a boyfriend - no blacks'
I could go on and on naming them and may be you will just say like some friends have said to me before: "This is China, you can not change it, if you are not happy go back to your country." No no no no no and no. I am a teacher and I am an educator.
Educators, it is our challenge to mould the society. Dear black brothers and sisters. Do not run away from the darkness, light a candle.
Credit to Dennis as Echinacities Blogger about this Article
Tags:Language & Culture Business & Jobs Teaching & Learning
All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.
Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.