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Whitewashing? Racism rampant in Korean job market

Aug. 9, 2017 - 15:03 By Yoon Min-sik
Despite ongoing efforts to embrace multiculturalism in Korea, racism against non-whites and non-Koreans is still common here, particularly in the job market for English teachers.

An advertisement looking for teachers to work at an English camp was posted on Seoul Craigslist on Tuesday. 

Native-speaking English teachers pose in this photo, which is not directly related to the article. (EPIK)

There was one glaring problem, a phrase that clearly stated “No Black.”

The employers who posted the ad could not be contacted for inquiry on what they had meant, but several native English speakers who saw the ad took it as “not looking for people who are identified as ‘black people.’” meaning people of African descent.

Online commenters complaining about the ad pointed out that such discrimination was still legal in South Korea.

The advertisement was not an isolated act of insensitivity. Over the years, numerous job ads looking specifically for native speakers that are Caucasian, or excluding people of African or Asian descent have popped up.

A quick search on “Korea4home” -- a website that provides information on jobs, community and living in Korea -- turned up at least four ads that said they only want to employ white people for teaching posts

It is no secret that Korean employers prefer white people when looking to fill teaching posts. While the issue has been raised over the years by local media, whites-only ads continue to surface.

By Yoon Min-sik