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“Western looking” Americans

Sayaka is back “home” in Taiwan this week. She is supposed to be doing research and conducting interviews but she also seems to be enjoying all her favorite foods while she is home and meeting her friends.

In a recent posting she talked about the differences in average salaries for those tutoring in Japanese and English in Taiwan:

日本人学生が家庭教師として日本語を教える場合、時給にして大体350〜500元くらい(1100〜1600円)が相場だ。一方アメリカ人の場合は600〜1200元。う〜ん、差別だ!!と言ってみたがマーケットの需要が全然違うので仕方がない。本当の差別は「西洋人の見かけ(Western-looking)のアメリカ人」と指定しているところがあること。初めて聞いた時「は〜い〜?」と訳が分からなかったが、つまりアジア系アメリカ人などがなぜか排除されてる。

She says that Japanese students tutoring in Japanese can apparently get around 350-500 yuan (TWD, NT$) or about 11-15 US dollars while Americans can make 600-1200 yuan per hour or about 19-38 US dollars. While it seems like discrimination she admits this is really just an issue of market demand. On the other hand, apparently there are places which specifically are recruiting “Western-looking Americans” to teach English, and thus aren’t accepting Asian-Americans who are equally native in the language. I wonder if this is kind of discriminatory recruiting is common, and whether it is also something that happens in Japan or Korea? I know that I don’t see many Asian-Americans as teachers on the English language school advertisements on Japanese trains and subways (the advertisements are heavily dominated by white males, followed by white females, and the occasional black male or female).

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Derek | 2006.5.22 at 12:52 | Permalink

    I experienced a similar thing while I was at Ritsumeikan, but I decided to leave a more detailed comment about it directly on Sayaka’s blog.

  2. Owen | 2006.5.23 at 5:20 | Permalink

    I think it is common in Korea and I remember hearing Korean-Americans complaining about it when I was there. On the other hand a hell of a lot of Korean-Americans do go and teach English in Korea and do pretty well out of it. I think there may even be a few cases where language schools prefer Korean-Americans.

    Of course the discrimination goes further than this – getting a job as a non-white westerner can be difficult I’ve heard. And even going for a job without a North American accent can be tricky – Korean parents don’t want their children to be confused by that weird British accent (how on earth would they get into Harvard speaking like that). My girlfriend got around this by pretending to be from North Carolina, which seemed to work.