Opinion / Blog

Native English speakers only

By eddieturkson ( Updated: 2015-07-27 17:28

Oh yeah, you guessed right. From the title you know where this article is heading. But hey, don’t judge yet, get to the bottom and allow me to present my case. To my friends and fellow bloggers, compatriots, comrades, birds of the same feather, native English speakers, allow me to once in a while bash the system overlooked by the “main system”. There are some topics or issues that just won’t go away unless they are dealt with appropriately, and this is one of them. 

I tend to get a lot of opposition and make quite a few enemies anytime I tackle this issue but that’s always the problem with addressing pertinent issues that bite. And this particular issue bites deep into the social strata of Chinese society and the ludicrous expat employment industry in China. I have always tried not to label it as racism as others have done. It’s more or less an issue of globalization and China’s current status as a developing country unlike most developed countries where an employment advertisement requiring “whites only” would be deemed a blatant racist or redneck advert.

Ever since my first post on this issue relating to employment in China, I have been receiving requests from some aggrieved persons to do follow-up stories, which I personally believe needs echoing and re-echoing until the system adjusts or puts a “human face” to the way jobs are advertised in China. I dare say that if the government is serious about attracting foreign talent, as it claims, then this form of advertising where “native speakers only” are explicitly posted on job platforms should be discouraged.

The bone of contention here, I must repeat like I did in my first post titled, ‘God save native English speakers” isn’t with native English speakers, they have done nothing wrong (they’re just basking in the profits) but rather those agents and job platforms who are ignorantly being openly racist. They seem to be existing in the days of racial discrimination in Europe, America and Apartheid South Africa where “colored and white only’ were openly written on doors of public areas including places of convenience, public transport, schools for whites only, the list could go on.  

That is not exactly the case in China where there are so many jobs particularly in the English teaching industry for non-native English speakers. Demand far outweighs supply. A lot of non-native English speakers complain about not finding jobs in China but after persistence do find jobs irrespective of one’s color or race. There are jobs, and statistically comparing the ratio of native English speakers and non-natives who are employed in China would be baseless. The fact remains that skin color determines one’s remuneration. 

The argument that would you, for example, prefer to have a native-Spanish speaker teach you Spanish or someone from a remote area of England who has learnt the language fluently teach you Spanish can’t be easily dismissed. Some people for example would prefer a native Chinese speaker to teach them Mandarin rather than pay a foreigner to teach them, but why put forward a discriminatory advertisement requiring a particular group of people when you can still secure the services of a native speaker from applications without openly discriminating or stereotyping. The answer is simple and a lot has been written about it - white sells.

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