I’ve been pulled into something ugly
So thanks to my good work, my little English school is set to expand in March from 5 classes a day to 9 classes a day. That means we need a new part-time teacher, and I’ve been charged with hiring them. I know my students’ parents have high expectations, as I think I have set the bar pretty high. So yesterday I put two help wanted ads up on English teaching websites. I got my first respeonse last night from an oddly accented fellow. He lives far away from where our school is, but he said that was not a problem. He didn’t have the experience or Korean skills that I was looking for. Finally he asked me what nationalities I was looking for. I said any was fine, and he said that’s good because he is British Gambian. From his accent I would say he was heavy on the Gambian, light on the British, and just from the accent I knew I would not hire him. North American accent is a must. I briefly thought about the controversy that would erupt if I hired an African teacher. many parents would probably complain, and the woman who helps me run the school, as well as my wife, would probably veto the choice, should I make it.
An hour later I got a call from a woman. She had a very good American sounding accent with a hint of something else. She had the experience and Korean skills I was looking for. She sounded like a good fit all around. Then finally she asked the same question about nationality. Turns out she was from the Philippines. Again, I thought, that might raise some eyebrows but if she’s really good it wouldn’t matter.
I got home and told my wife about the two calls, and her reaction was “Hire an American or Canadian, you can’t hire someone from any other country, it just won’t fly.” And I knew the was right. But I hate it all the same. I think too often in this country people make these simplistic racist decisions based on what other people’s reactions are likely to be. The students’ parents won’t like it or people will think we hired a Philippine woman because they work cheaper or a non-Nroth American will teach the children a bad accent. There are so many fears, all about what other people will think, that people never address what they themselves actually feel.
I don’t like it, but I can’t pretend it’s not true, so I feel like I’m becoming part of the system. You know what I mean?