Sixty years since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Fifty-five years since Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”. And, four decades after George Wallace said “I was wrong.” You might think, by now, we’d have racism under control. We don’t. In fact, the prevalence of racism in recruitment has not improved in the US since 1989 (Quilliana, Pagerc, Hexela & Midtbøenf, 2017). Is TEFL recruitment racist? We know that our industry discriminates against “non-native English teachers”, but what about good old, garden-variety racism?
This article will investigate teacher recruitment in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) industry in China. It will review literature on the subject, consider survey responses from 1220 teachers who either accepted or rejected offers of a job at a language teaching organization (LTO) in China and will attempt to explain the results and consider the implications for language teaching institutions.