If you follow the news, you must know there are two Koreas – South and North. The southern one is Good Korea and can do no bad, and the northern one is the scum of the Earth and completely incapable of doing any good.
Well, this story busts one of those two myths.
An Oklahoma man named Sean Jones was recently turned down by a school in South Korea because of the color of his skin. Jones, an African American, met all the requirements and was all set to leave for Seoul when his recruiter told him this:
“Hey Sean. Sorry they just told me they actually want a white teacher.”
Speaking to The Korea Observer, Jones later said: “I was on my way to the interview when I received a text message from my recruiter stating that they only want a white teacher.
“Regardless of my two plus years of experience, TEFL certification, great references and the ability to speak intermediate Korean, I was turned down before even given an opportunity to speak with them.”
This happened just days after an Irish teacher, Katie Mulrennan, was denied an employment opportunity by a South Korean school because Irish people's general reputation as heavy drinkers.
Jones believes this sort of racism and stereotyping instances are quite common in South Korea – so much so that it has become a part of their culture.
“The problem is that there is no law to protect people against discrimination. Not just racism but sexist and discrimination against older people,” he argued. “In Korea, a club can publicly say ‘no foreigners’ and it is socially accepted. Like I said, there has to be help from native Koreans to change this practice.”
It has indeed been confirmed by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea that the country doesn't have any anti-discrimination laws, leaving foreigners woefully exposed to such behavior.
Now that the incident has made it to international press, the school is denying that Jones was rejected because he's black. But the cat's already out of the bag. Let's hope this criticism and bad press forces Korean legislators to make appropriate laws and right this rather big wrong.
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