TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A teacher from a well-known private kindergarten posted a job ad on a Facebook group yesterday (June 11) stating that it would not hire English teachers who were "black or dark skinned," quickly infuriating many in the foreign community in Taiwan.
At 3:30 p.m., an employee from a prestigious private Taiwanese kindergarten posted a want ad for substitute English teachers on the Facebook page Substitute Teachers Needed in Taipei (City/County). The advertisement states that the school is looking to hire substitute teachers to teach children between the ages of 4-5, for eight hour shifts during short stints in early July, in Xindian District of New Taipei City, and at a rate negotiated based on experience and certifications.
In a strange section titled "Personal note:" the job poster says the following:
"the school has informed me that it will not accept applications from people who are not from predominantly English speaking countries, or who are black or dark skinned. I am sorry. I am so so sorry."
The words "black or dark skinned" quickly enraged foreign teachers of all races and rapidly spread like wildfire throughout the general expat community in Taiwan.
As the backlash was swift, the kindergarten employee took down the advertisement within an hour. However, the ad was reposted by Williams Kaboré, a member of the group, to criticize the racist language it had used.
Kaboré, 21, who is a sales manager and student at Tamkang University from Burkina Faso, said, "writing such a racist statement in social media is very disrespectful for our whole race which also contributed to many economic, social, scientific and other fields advancements those make our life easier today." Kaboré felt that the teacher who posted the ad is just as much to blame as the school, "If you repeat your boss’s racist statements, you are no different than your boss."
Kaboré said that he understood that to some extent Taiwanese schools and parents are acting out of ignorance due to a lack of interaction with black people, but he felt the ad went too far:
"They just don’t know much about us but what I don’t condone is posting this kind of racist statements on social media. It just makes it look normal and hence worsen the problem"
A 27-year-old software engineering major at Tamkang University from Haiti felt it was important for the world to see the post to expose the racism that still exists in Taiwan:
"We in the black community in Taiwan are really irritated about that and want to show everyone how racist some people in Taiwan are, especially about jobs here in Taiwan."
A 28-year-old English teacher from Saint Lucia, who has lived in Taiwan for seven years, has become accustomed to similar ads, but she and many others felt this one went beyond the pale:
"I do know that is the norm in Taiwan. We have seen those posts off and on, but this is the most ridiculous we have all seen, which explains this uproar this is literally all over my timeline."
In response to the incident, the school issued an official statement and said that the appointment of its teachers is:
"based on their education qualifications and related academic experience. These are the most important considerations. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation."
The school also made the following pledge:
"The school hereby affirms that we are strongly opposed to discriminatory employment practices."
Article 5 of Taiwan's Employment Service Act prohibits employers from discriminating against a job applicant or employee on the basis of "race, class, language, thought, religion, political party, place of origin, place of birth, gender, gender orientation, age, marital status, appearance, facial features, disability, or past membership in any labor union; matters stated clearly in other laws shall be followed in priority."