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Chungdahm April under fire for ‘whites only’ recruitment ad

James Hyams
Written by James Hyams

A branch of the Chungdahm April institute in Seoul has come under fire from expats for a racist recruitment advertisement.

The hakwon’s advertisement on Craigslist specifically said applicants “*must be Caucasian.*”

The Korea Observer emailed the contact person for this ad and asked whether a highly qualified black person would be eligible.

“I have a Masters of Applied Linguistics majoring in TESOL studies from University of Queensland, which is ranked 43 in the world by QS Top Universities.

I have taught English to all age groups for the last eight years in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Iraq…

I am a highly qualified native English speaker but my skin tone is black. Is there any reason why you are seeking Caucasians? Should I still apply?” The email asks.

John, the listed contact person for this ad, replied minutes later.

“Sorry im not trying to racist here but our BM wants caucasian. Wish you find a better job,” he wrote.

The Korea Observer questioned the initials BM and the phrase better job.

“BM is branch manager. Btw When i say hope u find a better job doesnt mean our job is bad,” John wrote.

The Korea Observer then said it was racist, morally wrong, and discrimination to exclude qualified people based on race.

John replied with the usual rhetoric that so many expats have heard before.

Relax Jim.
I born in canada n have a lot of different kinds of nationality friends.
However, our BM wants someone who is caucasion because thats what the students’ parents want.
Now I tried my best to make u understand. If u still didnt get it then its too bad.
Hopefully u don argue with me anymore.

– John

After investigations from The Korea Observer it can be revealed that John is the branch manager and “Caucasian only” is his policy.

John has worked for the disputed branch for a year. He said he hasn’t tried to hire non-Caucasians for the native teacher’s classes but he heard from his predecessor that the hakwon will receive complaints if they hire non-white teachers.

“I am acutely aware of discrimination as I am a Canadian citizen. We cannot hire non-white teachers because we get too many complaints from parents,” he said to The Korea Observer over the phone.

“Hiring only Caucasians is not a rule but a common practice in Chungdahms as well as other language academies.”

For many expats, discrimination in Korea is not news and they accept that Korea is openly discriminatory.

James Yu said discrimination against non-whites by hakwons was one of the reasons he stopped working as a recruiter after several years.

“At a regular English language hagwon, attractive candidates will nearly always, if not always, get a teaching position over a similarly or more qualified candidate who does not fit the ‘right look’ criteria,” he said.

“As much as hagwons like to beat their ‘we’re looking for qualified teachers drum,’ looks come first. Qualifications are a secondary screening tool, used to compare like candidates or when negotiating salary demands.”

James Yu said hagwons get away with this because as far as he knows it is legal to discriminate in Korea based on ethnicity.

“There is no such thing as equal employment opportunity law here, nor is there a watchdog organization that does any more than make sure visas are filed and settle contract disputes. And even for these grievances, a simple bribe is usually enough to sweep the problem under the rug.”

South Korea does not have anti-discrimination laws.

However, Eugene Hwang, a former employee at Chungdahm Institute, said that the April branch’s discrimination policy was not synonymous with his experience at Seodaemun branch from 2007-09.

“At Seodaemun, we had an ethnically diverse teacher population, where at times whites were in the minority. Usually More than half were non-white.”

Some expats cite that Western countries selectively filter applicants based on desired characteristics but note that applicants are often judged on merits rather than skin color.

screen shot from website

screen shot from website

Park Kyung-ha, a spokeswoman for Chungdahm, said it was against the guidelines and manual of the hakwon to post discriminatory job openings.

“We will look into the case and find out what had happened,” she said, noting that the branch is one of franchises that are not under the direct control of the company.

John’s father and the head of the April Chungdahm branch, offered an apology, saying he will not post any advertisement that would discriminate job seekers based on skin color.

“I’d like to offer an apology for causing trouble,” he said. “We won’t post discriminatory advertisements again.”

He, however, noted that it will be inevitable that non-White teachers as well as those who do not have American accents will be at a disadvantage in landing a teaching job.

“It is very difficult for us to hire teachers that parents want. Parents don’t even want teachers with British accents,” he said, noting that teachers with non-American accents, such as, those from Australia and New Zealand get paid slightly less.

Chungdahm Learning is one of the largest private education companies in South Korea with more than 60,000 students registered according to their LinkedIn profile.

Their core brand identity promotes itself as encouraging “critical thinking, motivation, self leadership.”

Their brand slogan is ‘learning and beyond.’

“Learning and beyond fosters leadership and takes students beyond learning into the realm of discovery. This in turn will breathe new life into society,” their website states.

Chungdahm Learning’s CEO Kim Young-Hwa wrote on their website that the real purpose of ESL is as a medium for thinking.

“At the individual level, the phenomenon of the ‘English Divide’ will occur as one’s English ability can determine where he or she belongs in the social hierarchy,” the CEO writes.

The advertisement on Craigslist has since been removed after several expats flagged the post as “prohibited” and violating the terms of use of craigslist.

About the author

James Hyams

James Hyams

James Hyams juggles several careers including being a journalist and a social worker. James has an avid interest in 'telling it as it is', exposing matters of public interest, and reviving investigative journalism in the new digital era. Testimony to this is his thesis titled: “U.S. Government secrecy and the withering watchdog: Is WikiLeaks the answer?”

  • guest

    “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” ”
    – Martin Luther King Letter from the Birmingham Jail

    Koreans and foreigners who work in ESL confuse law with morality. Those who while they disapprove of character and measure of a problem yet support it are often the biggest obstacles to reform. Koreans and most expats involved in the ESL racket are complicit in the on going practices. Sure most foreigners want to pretend they are hip and progressive and say they are against it but they often help to discriminate. But the reality is these people are just hypocrites who talk but don’t walk the walk….just like politicians. The Korean management and most often the foreigners who assist the management folks are no different than the folks who played along in enforcing the discrimination practices back in the pre civil rights era in America. “Sorry, we don’t hire coloreds”. If we were back in era of slavery, these are the types of folks who would probably assist and facilitate slavery too because it’s legal and because “everyone is doing it.”

    As Cornel West has said, we live in a time of sell outs and cupidity. People lack integrity, courage, honesty and willingness to speak the truth. Greed has overtaken morality and all the things we were taught in kindergarten class to be a decent human being. By it’s very nature, ESL jobs overseas attracts folks who want to make money above all else. Most folks go along to get along. Nothing will change as long as people continue to play the game.

  • guest

    Most people from America have learned to not care about anything other than their own interests. It’s why after years of wars, silent majority remains silent. As long as it doesn’t involve them directly, most average folks are content to go to live their lives watching sports, drinking beer and having a good time. So what you may ask?

    Silence gives consent. The problem is when you remain silent to injustices and let the sociopathy of society run amuck, sociopathy becomes the accepted norm. In this way a society delves deeper and deeper into it’s own self destruction and the world becomes more sociopathic.

    • Jiji

      …what why from only America? It’s people all around the world…why hate on the home of the whopper guester

      • guest

        Dear idiot,

        In case you haven’t noticed, MOST HOGWANS HIRE AMERICAN ACCENTED ENGLISH TEACHERS. I don’t know of any hogwans that are actively hiring European accented English speaking people. By the thoughtless comments you make, I suspect you are Duh’mer’kan. Go munch on your cheese doodles as you sit on your couch watching Kardashians.

        • jiji

          thats not being an idiot idiot. What youre doing is inferring too much – something they tell you NOT to do at basic a levels. go home and read a book.

        • jiji

          also its hagwon….stop butchering the language.

        • jiji

          and thirdly – sorry to keep returning but I had to ask – what European accent do you have? Because there are a LOT of Brits in teaching positions. If youre not a brit and are french italian portuguese or whatever DUH. ENGLISH IS NOT THAT COUNTRYS FIRST LANGUAGE. Its either American British English or Australian Eng anything else would NOT attract students.

  • guest

    I think if Korea society ever wants to break through the glass ceiling and become a true global player, they should realize that they need to stem the tide of small mindedness and tamp the practices of discrimination. Token minorities hired here or there for PR just won’t cut it anymore. Others have also made the observation that It’s ironic that for many hogwans that purport to be centers of education are the ones doing the least to educate the parents and society in general. It only points to their true shallow motive which is to make profits above all else. Greed and capitalism is based on exploitation until exhaustion.

    • Jiji

      korea isn’t under a glass ceiling….the country’s not being discriminated against by other OECD countries LOL. Neither is it not a global player. and it’s hagwons not hogwans. and hagwons ARE capitalistic greedy corporations – it’s extremely well known and the slogans are all tongue in cheek. But by far your ‘GLASS CEILING” comment was hilarious – don’t use phrases you think sound cool when you don’t even know what they stand for.

      • guest

        Dear idiot,

        Don’t shoot the messenger. Nitpick spelling is the first sign of pettiness. For your information I’ve seen hogwan spelled both ways just as Busan is also spelled Pusan. Secondly, you should learn to read. Korea society limits itself through small mindedness. In the process they are shooting themselves in the foot. No nation can rise to high prominence on the world stage when it still has major social issues. Korean gov’t and society in large still pretends there are no gay or lesbian Korean. Discrimination in any form is hindrance to growth and well being of a nation.

  • Ray Moon

    Don’t forget to add slim, attractive and young!

  • David Mwangi

    I find people who accept these kinds of jobs disgusting and pathetically lacking in their heads. I am black and I would never work for an organization that promotes a culture of discrimination on the pretext that its what their clients wants, that is greed of the highest order. There are no excuses whatsoever why some one would help fun such a clearly stupid and unaaceptable hiring standard just because your boss told you, what does that even mean? Are a dummy that is just there waiting to be told how to think? Why do you even have brains then if you can’t choose what is acceptable and what is not? Such people are a disgrace not only to their families but to the entire human race. You can’t discriminate some one just because they are black.That is being stupid and very mean with your brains.

    • Jiji


    • guest

      Ikr? And yet there are some places where it’s all white teaching staff working there. I sometimes wonder the same thing about those folks who work at such places. No doubt they rationalize it, or they just don’t care as long as they’re making the $$$. Like I said, I do believe that there’s a higher proportion of sociopaths who work in the predominantly white dominated overseas esl teaching racket.

  • blah blah blah

    The school is not the ‘bad guy.’ The Korean parents are to blame. Journalist should be going after the parents asking “why will you not send your kids to an academy with non-white teachers?” instead of going after institutes asking, “why are you not hiring non-white teachers?”

    So the guy posts a new ad and omits the “Caucasian only” criteria. Then looks at all the non-white applicants and interviews none of them. no job for the non-white teacher.

    okay okay let’s say this…

    academy hires a non-white teacher and he or she doesn’t get enough students to justify his or her salary… then gets laid off.

    End result… is the same… no job for the non-white teacher. Pick the right fight.

    • Wyatt Kwon

      You are so right! The idiotic parents of upper crust in Chongdahmdong need to wake up. However, the country as whole must adapt anti-descrimintory laws. This dialog only scratches the surface of the real problems. Imagine if you are mixed person?

    • Anonymous_Joe

      Iblah blah blah: “The school is not the ‘bad guy.’ “

      …and the recruiter is only doing what the school wants.

      I disagree. The recruiter should be legally required to state that the law says he can’t do it. The real problem is Korean law. Korean law lacks any meaningful enforcement mechanism or penalties. Having an unenforced law is worse than having no law at all.

      • guest


        But what’s more important is there needs to be sea change in the social consciousness in society before laws are taken seriously.

      • blah blah blah

        “The school is not the ‘bad guy.’ ”
        I disagree. The recruiter should be legally required to state that the law says he can’t do it. The real problem is Korean law.”

        YES, the real problem is Korean Law. You just agreed with me.

        • Anonymous_Joe

          OK, we both agree the problem could at least start to be fixed with Korean law. I do think, nonetheless, the school (and recruiter) is the bad guy. I think that he should be fined for accepting such listings. The law needs to address that.

          The laws on the books also need to be enforced against businesses with illegal hiring practices. That is often more difficult to catch, but certainly the blatant infractions should be actionable.

          • blah blah blah

            We can disagree. that’s fine. Your point is rational and valid.

          • Anonymous_Joe

            I agree that we can disagree and agree to do so.

            (BTW, I have no problem that your opinion differs from mine. I view these boards as a chance to exchange, and rarely change, opinions.)

          • guest

            I can agree with that.

            To look the other way and excuse discrimination would be going backwards.

    • guest

      I think you’re just passing the buck. The buck has to stop at the management of the schools first and foremost. After all, they are the ones doing the hiring.

      Secondly, as educators, schools need to do their job and educate society by educating the parents one at a time. This is by no means limited to just Korea. The discrimination in Asia reminds me of pre civil rights era back in the states. In this respect, images spewing out of Hollywood and Madison Avenue have been the greatest stumbling block to stemming the tide of discrimination in Asian culture.

      • jiji

        A Hagwon is NOT A SCHOOL. Though yes some schools do this too theyre only following the hagwon trend. blah blah blah is right. Hagwons follow money. Money comes from Caucasian teachers. Hagwons are not obligated to do anything (i scoffed when you said educators…since i was young ive been going to hagwons and let me tell you its about money not about ‘educating’) and the parents need to be dealt with if you want something different.

      • blah blah blah

        no… not passing the buck. it’s putting the buck where it should be.

        “I think you’re just passing the buck. The buck has to stop at the management of the schools first and foremost. After all, they are the ones doing the hiring.”

        No. It’s not about who is doing the hiring. Businesses will hire to produce profit. And in Korea, white people = profit. Ugly, yes. Illegal, no. So don’t blame them. But blame Korean society and the mothers who decide where to spend their money.

        Business like this will hire based on what the customer demands and what the customer will pay for. No private company will adopt the
        business strategy of “let’s give the consumer what they don’t want and what the consumer will go elsewhere for.”

        You say, “The discrimination in Asia reminds me of pre civil rights era back in the states.”

        Not really. The Civil Right’s movement attacked EXISTING laws that discriminated against CITIZENS. Not the same.

        • guest

          What you fail to recognize is that this is supposed to be an “education” endeavor. True teachers teach. Businessmen follow the market.

          So what you are saying is to perpetuate the system of exploitation and justify it by “giving the public what they want”, whatever it may be. If the society wants to run off the cliff, you have no problem supplying the ticket to their own death??? It’s that failed sociopathic thinking that has brought western society to it’s knees with credit crisis and moral crisis. “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”
          -John Maynard Keynes

          That’s just shallow. It’s folks like you who are profit driven that are ruining the education system by privatizing it.

  • linda park

    As a Korean-American, I get turned down many times because I am not Caucasian. I have 8 years of teaching experience and yet I lack one important skill, lacking “whiteness.” This has happened to me in China and Japan, too. Can I, as a Korean, yell racism, too? I really hate Korea for its sexism, agism, racism and not attractiveism, not the right weightism, etc. Land of the Morning Calm, my ass! Land of the bulemics, anorexics, self conscious, women beaters, etc. etcs. Hope this country suffers an IMF crisis worse than the one it encountered before. Do I sound too bitter? hahahahaha

    • Jiji

      Yeah…you really do. I’m a student here and I had a good teaching job at a debate hagwon for quite a while before I quit. They hired a lot of Koreans, and yes, I am a Korean uni student. Sounds like you’re just stewing too much in self pity to look for a job even. Discrimination against black people, filipinos etc. exists yes, but you not being able to get a hagwon job is NOT AS discriminatory as theirs in this case. Why? Because most hagwons that hire Koreans to teach English expect one key thing – THAT YOU KNOW KOREAN. They’re capitalist organizations, of course they want “foreign looking” people to teach a foreign language, to maximize profit. I bet you know zero to five chinese characters, that you’ve never read a true Korean daeha sosul in your life, and that all you see is the shallow plastic cover and none of the deep culture.

      Also, it’s spelled bulimic not bulemic. AND you shouldn’t add self conscious to that list because it’s not a noun as the others are, and therefore does not qualify as an item (you should write self conscious peoples/bitches/whatever). AND Land of the Morning Calm does not necessarily mean that Korea’s not sexist, ageist etc. (it definitely is, don’t get me wrong) meaning that your “Land of the Morning Calm, my ass!” comment is out of context.

      Looks to me you barely know Korean, have sub par English, and can’t even get a decent job here. Stop being butthurt cuz you just got burned.

      • guest


        I’ll have to disagree on that one. I’ve overheard Korean Americans be told by the bosses to pretend NOT to know Korean so they are more “authentic” to the students. Korean Americans are in a tough boat because even if they are perfectly bilingual they get into trouble because students think if you speak Korean, you can’t possibly speak perfect English as well as a native speaker.

        • jiji

          Korean Americans need to stop whining. Im a Korean American and I think the whiners are just too lazy. Yes you are right in saying theres a stigma of sorts against them being native speakers but thats not even the greater proportion of hagwon jobs. MOST english teaching hagwon positions for Koreans and Korean Americans include teaching English IN Korean (you teach from the school text its called naeshin) OR you teach at a higher position ie. debate and speech counseling. If youre a korean american and youre too lazy to learn that amount of your language i say get out and stop whining. no ones obligated to give you a job. korean americans being discriminated is NOT COMPARABLE TO THESE BLACK PEOPLE BEING DISCRIMINATED.

          • Charlie

            I don’t quite buy the bilingual excuse. Sure there’s probably some cram schools that desire bilingual teachers. But I’ve heard stories from old timers in the field that there was a time when some Koreans moved to the states for couple of years and came back to teach English. Unfortunately they’re English was subpar and ever since then, Korean parents felt more secure in finding “American” English teachers rather than being duped by a Korean who claims to know how to speak English. It’s that lingering doubt that keeps the Korean ethnics from gaining a larger foothold in the market.

      • guest

        There are many different places to teach English. What you’re describing is a very specific niche in the market. What the original poster is taking issue with is a general pervasive discriminatory nature of the market. Fact is most Korean students are not there to learn how to debate. Most are there to pass a test. And even if they are there to learn to debate, if you’re at that level, it assumes you have a certain level of mastery over English that does not require bilingual instructor. Where I can see a bilingual instructor being of great import would be for the rank beginners who are just learning the language. But even in those instances, language immersion environment is favored in the marketplace as evidenced by the popularity of “native speakers”. So in a sense your point concerning the necessity to be bilingual seems to be less relevant and more an opportunity to poke a stick in the eye of the original poster.

    • James

      You can contact me on Facebook to discuss this discrimination. It can be off the record too if you want. https://www.facebook.com/james.hyams.thefirst

  • guest

    Article 2 from the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

    UN Commission on Human rights. Signed into force on January 4, 1969.

    “(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;”

    I guess Korea thinks being part of the U.N. means picking and choosing what it has to follow. And yes. I’m fully aware the U.S. does the thing, but that’s an entirely different animal.

    • jake Harods

      I’d imagine the Korean head of UN would be keen to see this enforced. I’d email it to him 🙂

    • realitycheck

      elaborate on the different animal please?

  • Superman

    We have no conscience. Its just business. Its what the school wants.

  • Sha Curington

    does anyone have an email adrs for this cdi branch? I’ve sent a msg to “inquiries@chungdahm.com” but I want to know where i can more directly voice my concern about this ad.

  • roger

    fact of the matter is english teaching jobs are predominantly white privilege jobs. those who benefit from this racist system pay lip service to the abuses.

  • roger

    not only is racial discrimination bad for workers, racial discrimination is hurting korean youths. when the adults around the kids enforce racist practices, kids at an early age pick up on this and learn racism and society stays fucked up with racism. it only enforces the problem. kids begin to think that only white folks can speak proper english. not only is this a fallacy but it secondarily sends a message to the kids that as asians they’ll not speak as well as white folks. rarely do you see korean americans or korean canadians instructing kids. you would think parents would want to have diverse teachers teaching to create a better role model for their kids. but as in all things in korea, people’s greed and short sightedness gets in the way.

  • blah blah blah

    People can hate me for what I am about to say but I don’t care.

    Korea is a sovereign nation. And I am its guest. Being a guest in this nation, I accept the fact that I will may not like everything about it. But it is something that I have CHOSEN. I can always leave.

    If Korea does something that pisses a foreigner off, then I say, the foreigner is free to leave. A nation does not have to blindly bow and yield to angry non-citizens who are guests under its roof.

    The academy is question is owned by a citizen and breaking NO LAW. I think it is irrational for a non-citizen community working as guests within a nation to angrily begin demanding that the host nation change laws to simply benefit them. Would it be nice if Korea did? SURE. But in NO WAY is Korean bound to comply.

    Is Korea racist? Who gets to decide and make demands for change? NOT ME. Why? I am not a citizen. I can make suggestions but no demands. I can make observations, but no judgement. That’s a problem for Koreans to work out for themselves among themselves. Until then, any foreigner living in Korea as a guest can always pack up and go elsewhere.

    Do I want to see Korea change? YES. Do I demand it? NO NO NO NO and NO.

    I LOVE living in Korea. I express gratitude for what I love and gracefully endure what I do not. If I ever feel that the things I do not love overwhelm the things I do… i will leave. I respect the household that has provided me with so much.

    Also, please do not inflate this comment to include things like. “But what if Korea…” I know what is and what is not. I base my decisions off those… not “But what if…”

    • guest

      Actually, it does. At least if it wants to part of the UN. Specifically, this part, the “International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination”

      • blah blah blah

        wow… do you really think this hagwon ad justifies involving the UN? Really? Really???

        • guess

          Apparently if countries think they can sign onto an agreement and not have it mean anything…..

    • guest

      you would have been a great enabler of slavery during slave era and jim crow laws in america.

      it’s folks like you who excuse injustice and over look human rights for what is “legal”.

      just remember everything hitler did was LEGAL.

      you confuse LEGALITY with MORALITY.

    • guest

      those who benefit from the discrimination practices are most often it’s stanchest supporters.

      shallow, morally weak people like you who sellout for some $$$$ willing to overlook civil rights issues are what’s adding to the problem.

      what does it make you to be silently working in a system that allows rampant discrimination?

    • guest

      folks like you who excuse and justify such problems only help perpetuate the problem.

    • jake Harods

      What you’ve written is a tad stupid. Being a sovereign nation comes with responsibilities. There are Koreans here and they enjoy the civility accorded by our anti discriminatory laws in the UK 🙂 Some can have jobs despite terrible English. I get annoyed when I have to repeat orders at Starbucks etc but they got hired as they can string a sentence together albeit poorly.

      In fact one of these Koreans remarked to me last week, I realised being taught English by Americans is useless in UK. Yes, I replied sniffily 🙂

      • realitycheck

        And your point? Some English natives don’t speak Korean at all, despite working in Korea for over 10 years! lol

        • jake Harods

          My point, my good sir, is that it is silly to suggest Koreans can do as they please in Korea. We are not animals. A degree of civility is required. Hmm civility……..

          A young Korean girl got here, UK, last week and was promptly racially abused. She had been in the country for less than 4 hours.

          Her confidence was undermined by it and she is now a bit conscious of how she is perceived here. I reassured her that it was an unfortunate episode and to forget it. Racism is not endemic here ( I resist the temptation to say unlike Korea) and she was simply unlucky. A school kid was the culprit.

          Do you think your argument that natives can do what they like in their land will reassure her? lol

          • realitycheck

            Racism is probably not endemic in the UK. But don’t forget about the blatant racism against South Indians in parts of the UK. The one where the whole town gets together to abuse an ethnic grocery shop owner. Oooh civility my English gentlemen. By who’s standards my I ask?

            Are you a joke? So you’re basing your conclusions from what you read on this site. Yet you tell this Korean girl the otherwise, when you observed her negative experience first hand.

            Dude, your logic isn’t clearly as strong as your wit.

          • jake Harods

            You are acting hastily and left yourself open for a counter. The girl is new in the country. What should I tell her? Brace yourself as you’d be taunted every now and again by random berks shouting ni hao? She told me what happened as she wanted reassurance.

            I am steadfast in my hatred of racists and will involve myself if a racist act is carried out in my presence. Most people here will too.

            Since you say that racism is ‘probably’ endemic, I realise you have no idea. There will always be racist however it is not endemic. We have rigid race laws.

            I could say something about being slow witted but I shan’t. When someone needs reassurance, you provide it.

          • realitycheck

            Stop running away from the argument. You don’t address my points and accuse me of the very things that you commit.

            I asked you to justify your argument based on the Korean girl example, because you used this example to make your argument about Koreans as a whole. Also you blurred the lines between the sovereign nation and the people of that country, in which you are apparently not savvy enough to distinguish between the two in you argument.

            All your argument above are based on subjectivity with ‘I’ this or ‘I’ that, which are the pinnacle of faulty logic. Yet you employ this unashamedly and lend yourself as an appeal to authority by your self-proclaimed savvy and ’empirical’ evidence.:)

            But hey, I didn’t expect anything much of quality from this site anyways:)

          • jake Harods

            You are contradicting yourself. You are badgering me for answer and then attempting a jab by suggesting you expect very little. In which case my good sir, why keep badgering me? I expected nothing and nothing has been deduced from here. I live as an individual. I’m not a caucus 🙂 Everything I’ve done in life is I, not we 🙂 Get it?

            Re the girl that as racially abused, the miscreant was a high school kid. She was perturbed by it and the least she wanted was reassurance that it was an isolated event.

            I have never shirked anything in my life. It won’t happen on some online paper comment section. There is not argument here. The privilege is mostly subjective……I am trying to learn Korean now and I know there are lots of non white teachers in Korea. I don’t know what their story is but they are teaching there.

  • Guest

    Anyone find it incredibly ironic that right next to the article is an advertisement for “The Goddesses of English”????? I bet they don’t have any, not one, discriminatory hiring practice. Yeeeeaaaaap. All about the revenue.

    • James

      It is google adsense that does the ads next to the article, not us.

      • guest

        yeah? still ironic though huh?

        • Tae-hoon Lee

          I think Google thought it would be one of the best sites to advertise hakwons as they can see many hakwon related words in the article.

  • Former CDI Teacher

    I was a teacher at one of the largest and most successful ChungDahm’s in Korea for a year. We had a diverse teaching staff, which, while comprised largely of caucasian Americans and Canadians included a variety of Asians (Korean Americans, Chinese American, Vietnamese Canadian) as well as African Americans and staff from Great Britain, etc. The diversity of English speaking cultures (as well as accents) is EXACTLY what made us such a strong team… and one of the reasons our branch was so successful.

    Soooo… any claims by a Branch Manager that he is discriminating because “that’s what the parents want” is totally bogus. It’s just an excuse to cover his own bigotry.

  • guest

    “native speaker” is the new code word for “white people”.


    Korea is socially backward still in the pre civil rights era.

    • jake Harods

      No, it isn’t that Korea is backward. A lot of the poorer Koreans with aspirations for their kids are backwards. With little knowledge and lack of any meaningful travel experience, they all want an American dream.

      Then you have a whole host of citizens with inferiority complex. Guess why accent acquisition as opposed to actually learning and being able to speak English is the priority

      • guest

        I think that’s a bit off. Most parents irregardless of economics prefer white folks. Why? It’s societal. They have been misled by watching too many Hollywood media and popular culture to think that only whites are the best English speakers. Yet, you can’t blame the parents completely; as someone else has said it’s the responsibility of the educators (that’s the teachers, schools, owners of cram schools) to educate the public and parents one at a time. Problem is most of the “educators” in this business are in it only for the short term and for a fast buck. They fail to see the greater good and responsibility they hold in society. If people in the English education business want to see more equity and less discrimination, it starts with each and everyone of us speaking up and countering this prevasive discrimination. Otherwise, we are no better than people who sat by looking after their own selfish interests while injustices took place in society. One need only look back in recent 20th century to see plenty of examples where the silent majority remained silent perpetuating discrimination and other social injustices.

        Here is another uncomfortable truth. By it’s very nature, English teaching jobs in Asia are a white privilege job. As such, it attracts those who enjoy the privilege and rarely do those who benefit want to change the system. Why should they since it’s working great for them. It’s human nature.

        • jake Harods

          Why is it off? I know most Koreans are backwards 🙂 My gf is Korean by the way and she’d tell you this. Obviously the ones that have lived abroad and are monied are very different from the wannabes.

          The cram school owners and most of the parents they fleece are
          so so. The rich Koreans simply send their kids abroad as was the case with my gf and al her mates.

          It is not white privilege job. I often get asked to teach English and naturally am no teacher so decline. If you have not guessed, I’m a brown skin chap from England. My gf is Korean with a lot of means (not some) and naturally I have inside gist of things through her and her mates. One of her mates has $100 mill upwards. I felt like a pauper.

          She lives in Cheongdam and we are generally around their when in town. The whole place is beset by mostly poorer Koreans wanting to get plastic jobs. Out of about 20 Korean girls that I know, the 2 poorest had plastic surgery.

          I agree with you that beneficiaries of the exclusion won’t want
          it changed 🙂

          I am a black chap with a little means. I meet a lot of richer Asians and you can be sure that they do not give two hoots about white anything. Trust me on that one. They travel everywhere and are not simple
          minded to think like the poorer ones do that all Caucasians are rich etc.

          • guest

            “It is not white privilege job.” Come on now. Let’s be real here. Most cram schools are looking for pale faces. Ask any of the many nonwhite expats who’ve been discriminated against.

          • jake Harods

            Privilege to me is living in Kangnam, eating Sirloin at that fave joint of mine near CoEx

            I can only speak about my reality and people I know. Would you rather I make stuff up? What does white privilege mean anyways?

            Privilege is having $$$$$ , lots of it and access to things:) Privilege is not associated with blagging a job off a scammer that hash is marketing blurb as ……little Kim will fit in in Arkansas:)

            I think this word has been corrupted 🙂

          • realitycheck

            If you can only speak about your own reality then stop making judgement on others’.
            And apparently this has everything to do with you! 🙂

          • jake Harods

            Nope:) It is like the unicorn. I’ve never seen it only heard of it. The same thing with this Korean hate foreigners talk. I’m not diminishing anyone’s experience. My suggestion is that it is not as simple as most people are paining it over here 🙂 You need to look under the bonnet 🙂

            You need to understand the dynamics of the place 🙂

          • realitycheck

            The problem is that you don’t understand the dynamics of the place. You are hastily generalizing based on your own observation. So then your argument is basically boiling down to, ‘your observation is wrong, mine is right.’ No one said it was simple over there and your suggestions directed at me are exactly what you need to do.

          • jake Harods

            I live my life, not yours, or Kim Yu na’s. It is called, empirical. As I said before, I diminish no one’s experience but am savvy enough to know that all this talk of ‘privilege’ is an opiate for the non privileged. Who wants to hustle English to school kids?

            I understand the dynamics very well. I often see all these Korean girls in need of rescue. The girls I know aren’t in that category so I see stuff from the eyes of rich Koreans. If you think this is gas, I can arrange a meeting with an associate in Busan.

            You are the one generalising based on some cram school mostly catering for the poor 🙂

          • realitycheck

            I assume you are ‘savvy’ enough to know the obvious answer to the question that you proposed and this was rather a rhetorical question in an attempt to strengthen your point.

            The abuse of word may be an opiate for some. But does this then discount the efficacy of the argument for the non privileged? History teaches us otherwise.
            But I’m sure savvy enough to know that too.

            And please. empirical evidence is no place for a crappy site as the KoreaObserver. Admittedly it is a fun site for obvious reasons. Please leave ’empirical’ for some scholarly thesis for elsewhere. Using that word to support any argument here is plain embarrassing.

          • jake Harods

            I’d be bowing out of this one as it has run its course. I can’t even remember how I stumbled on to the site but it happens.

            It is incumbent on the ‘non privileged’ to galvanise themselves, marshall resources and get the Korean government to banish the policy Some within the ‘privileged’ class would be disappointed to see the thing go but most will be happy.

            The effort you have expended in waging this campaign against me on this thing would stand you in good stead in lobbying for the removal of the silly white only clause over there.

            A simple civil rights era carton will concentrate the minds of Koreans as they can only eat and drink in the coloured area, correct? 🙂


        • jake Harods

          Most parents?You have met them all? Or simply assumed based on nothing 🙂

  • Garrett Rathke

    My wife (Korean) and I (American) are leaving Korea because we refuse to raise our two sons here. While they might not be discriminated against because they have “good faces” (ie: white), they will undoubtedly absorb the ubiquitous ethnic nationalism in this country that I so hate. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Korea’s past hardships and how far they’ve come. Trying to put things into perspective, trying to be understanding and tolerant of ignorance isn’t going to help teach my boys the difference between right and wrong. My children will know without a shadow of a doubt that racism in any form is never ok and that they have a responsibility to stand up for what is right, even if it means offending people. South Korea, you have lost the privilege of my boys’ childhood. They will be raised right, and it won’t happen here.

  • Sirius Black

    So, basically if I am understanding the article. Its Koreans (parents) who are racists as they (the hogwon) would hire the most qualified. Or am I reading something else into it?

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