I picked up a job next week.
For three days, four other teachers and I will be level testing college seniors on their English proficiency. Daewoo Construction is paying for the job. Together, we will see 540 seniors in 7-minute sessions over three days.
I asked my recruiter why I was hired at the last minute. Daniel told me it was a sad story:
ME: “What happened?”
DANIEL: “At the last minute, Daewoo decided not to hire one teacher, because he’s black.”
DANIEL: “Daewoo said some of the students might feel scared or nervous, because the tester is black. It’s not right.”
ME: “Don’t those students know if they work for a global company, they’ll be working with different kinds of people or they’ll have to go abroad?”
DANIEL: “Yeah. But it’s Daewoo’s decision. It’s still Korea you know, so I understand.”
Sometimes I’m stunned by how blatant racism can be here in Korea. Not all Koreans are racist of course. Those who are I’d guess, just like people anywhere else, haven’t had the interactions with different people that would force them to think differently.
So this is a huge forking wasted opportunity. I hate the tail wagging the dog.
Who’s paying for this level testing anyway? Daewoo. Not snot-nosed, hypersensitive seniors who’ve never met a black person in their lives. It falls on adults to guide students, and this could have been a positive interaction.
Shame on Daewoo for either cowing to students’ stupid requests or blaming students for their own bigotry.
(Yes, I am aware how hypocritical it is for me to b!tch and be taking this job.)