Racism in job ads

Racism in job ads

Two years ago, I saw an ad here on Ajarn.com from a school that was looking for a native English speaker (NES). I was interested in applying for the job but I did not email my resume to them. Instead I applied in person, and got the job, although on a "non-native English speaker" wage. I am still working in the same school, but now I wish to find a new school that can hire and pay me based on my skills rather than my race.

I prefer to apply in person than through email because I am a Filipino. I’m a non-native speaker of English (NNES). Whenever I go to the jobs section of this website, I am saddened (and somewhat irked) by the fact that most of the ads posted are for native English speakers. That makes the job ads service here "somewhat" helpful for people "like" me. Just because I am not Caucasian doesn't mean I am not qualified. For me, that is racism in its purest form.

I landed the job not because I was lucky, but because I have the skills. And my English is even better than some native English speakers (I can spell words correctly without using MS Word's spell checker). I can speak in neutral or American accents even though I haven't set foot in the US. My employer doesn't complain about the way I work. He even seems happy with the results I produce (else he wouldn't say "excellent" all the time). So did the job I applied for two years ago really require an NES? No!

Okay well, some would say they need a NES because it helps the school get more students to enroll, because that is the demand of Thai parents. I think that's plain BS. Why not hire a Caucasian model instead of a teacher? I'm sure Thai parents won't really think that way after they see the results, right? I even heard there was an American (born and raised) who had a hard time looking for work as a teacher just because he looked too "Asian."

Yes, there may also be a lot of non-native English speakers who do not have the skills I have. I even agree that some of my Filipino compatriots pronounce "V's" with "B's," or the have the familiar Filipino accent and wrong grammar. But those traits do not generalize all Filipinos who are looking for work here in Thailand, nor people of other races who are also non-native English speakers.

So this letter is for employers who post their job ads here on Ajarn.com. I hope that you will consider "some" non-native English speakers. Changing "NES only" to "NES preferred" can make the ad more sensitive to NNES like me. That way I would be happy to email my resume first and make use of Ajarn.com.

You see, we the skilled NNES, won't send you our resumes if you are looking for "NES only" You will only get emails from the less skilled NNES who don't understand what "NES only" means. You might end up hiring someone less capable of the job and regret not hiring us. Well, in the first place we won't get the chance to be heard and hired because you put "NES Only."

And another thing, once you hire a skilled non-native English speaker, offer the wage as you posted it on Ajarn.com. Setting a lower wage for us during the interview is demeaning and very racist. And we really don't like surprises like that. We are also human beings and also foreigners in this country. We also get duped once in a while because we speak Thai "nit-noi." You will get your money's worth with a skilled NNES more than a good looking Caucasian NES. Some of us skilled NNES may accept your low racist wage for the meantime, but we will always be looking for greener pastures.

I will be closely monitoring job ads this month in Ajarn.com and will be looking for a new school that is willing to hire and pay me for what I can do, and not how I look like. Wish me luck.

If you find this letter too racist, sarcastic or both, I apologize.

Sar C. Astic


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