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Thailand, land of smiles. But only if you're white

  • somtam2000

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    CNNGo has an interesting piece today by American Dwight Turner on bigotry in Thailand. Dwight has been in Thailand some time now, teaching and doing some very switched on volunteering stuff involving those in need -- regardless of skin colour.

    The story is well worth a read.

    #1 Posted: 9/3/2011 - 10:19

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Dwight's an acquaintance of mine, and a good guy. And boy, it's true. Thais have serious racial issues.

    #2 Posted: 9/3/2011 - 10:30

  • somtam2000

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    He is isn't he. I met him a week ago when I was in Bangkok- at the opening of a bagel shop of all places. He's heading home soon. A shame as he had a hell of a lot of enthusiasm for what he was doing.

    #3 Posted: 9/3/2011 - 10:42

  • caseyprich

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    Colour based discrimination is nothing new in most parts of Asia - be it Korea, China, Vietnam, or Thailand. I don't think it is excusable, but I also don't think you should blame it solely on, "a lucrative cosmeticindustry, [Thai people] being force fed images of Western beauty by local and foreignmedia from countries like the United States."

    This is an overreaction to the post-colonial world, and isn't grounded entirely in facts. The idea that white skin is beautiful goes back hundreds of years throughout Asia, and it has nothing to do with 'western' ideas of beauty. Instead, it is based on the concept that if you have dark skin you are poor - because you must labour outside. The light skinned people are those who can wear long robes and sit inside all day, they are 'civilized' and they have money to pay others to do the back-breaking outdoor work for them.

    As well, any discrimination toward pale skin as beautiful is archaic in western media. It has been decades now that a 'healthy' tan was as sign of a healthy potential mate. Someone who, in fact, has the leisure time to leave the office or the factory and get outside to exercise. Even pre-Baywatch, tan was beauty in the west - hence the advent of Baywatch.

    Finally, the discrimination we see in China, based on colour is based on the two factors of fear, but also of a different sort of stereotype. The first reaction is fear of anyone with dark skin, but my African-American friends have had far less discrimination than my African friends in finding work, dating, and generally socializing. Once the local people found out that my friend Pierre was American, they were far friendlier to him than when they were to our mutual friend, Prime, from Burundi. At least in China, Africa is still seen as savage and uncivilized, while the USA is still considered a great success of a nation.

    I'll just stop there.

    #4 Posted: 9/3/2011 - 10:52

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Yep - Casey you are spot on. I just sent Dwight a note telling him that.

    #5 Posted: 9/3/2011 - 11:11

  • somtam2000

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    KW if you can't post without having a go at others, don't post. This is a final warning.

    #6 Posted: 10/3/2011 - 07:55

  • swag

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    Very interesting article and equally interesting comments at the end.
    cheers

    #7 Posted: 10/3/2011 - 11:53

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    "only if you're white?"

    How ridiculous!
    Do you seriously think that YOU as "whites" are the only people to be discriminated against etc etc?? aginst in Thailand - "0nly" how about the karen Mon etc
    the post is some kind of racist slur against "non-whites" a racist term in itself - the classic accusation - "THey are racist too" as if that in some way justifies the person's own racist view of the world.

    SOMTAM - you are clearly well out of order and have failed to see this - I believe you have made some =racist blunders before - - this is a racist post and you know it - I think you need to review your own racism here - you site is meant to be an informative travel site - racist claptrap should have no place on it.

    #8 Posted: 10/3/2011 - 12:07

  • somtam2000

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    Two in two days. That must be a record. I'm locking this thread off.

    #9 Posted: 10/3/2011 - 12:29

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    KW? did i miss something? Didn't the title of this thread mean that white people are the only people who GET smiled at? ie - they are not discriminated against while other groups have to deal with discrimination.

    I disagree with the logic behind discrimination in the article, but I think its dead-on right that white people receive preferential treatment to other skin tones. I even got treated differently than my Italian-heritage friend who gets a lot darker tan when we were biking through the Bolaven Plateau.

    #10 Posted: 10/3/2011 - 12:31

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