Being Black in China
I am an African American man who is very interested in teaching in China later this year. I have recently completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Indiana and I am planning on enrolling myself in a TESOL course this winter.
While I was initially excited about the prospect of teaching in China, I am now not so sure. A classmate of mine (also black) has recently come back from a 5 month stint in China as a student. He tells me that in his experience, Chinese people look down on black people. He thinks that the school did not treat him as well as other foreigners who looked more ‘white.’
I am curious to hear your opinion on this issue. Is China a good place for a black person to teach English? Will I be able to find a job?
Thank you in advance,
Jean answers Daniel’s question
Thank you for a very interesting and important question. I am very sorry that your friend came back from China with the impression that he was not treated as well as other foreigners. In my experience, Chinese people are always friendly to foreigners, no matter where they come from.
With that said, there is no question that Chinese people have a ‘fascination’ with the West. For too many here, the West is represented exclusively by Caucasian people although hopefully that perception is changing now that Obama has won the U.S. presidency. Often, schools and training centers in China prefer to hire white people because they think that this will make parents feel like their children are learning ‘proper’ English.
You may face some extra challenges in China, but I think that you should come all the same. As a native speaker of English, you will have an advantage over other black people who speak English as a second language. Having a degree will definitely help you as well. If you fulfill your obligations to the school, I don’t think that you will have any problems in China. I do think that China is a good place for you to come and teach.
I wish I could answer this question more fully but let me recommend a few articles on our website which may be of help to you. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that is written in these articles but they are quite informative.
What Does China Think of Barack Obama?
Is China Ready for Barack Obama?
Can Non-Native Speakers of English Teach in China?
Should Foreign Teachers in China Appear in School Advertisements?
Hope that helps you! Let us know how it goes.
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