Hmmmm. Racism. Tricky thing to cover. But it’s big thing, at least in the West where it is now pretty doctrinally loaded these days—i.e., political correctness.
One thing about Thailand, there’s no such thing as P.C. here. That can be seen as good or bad depending on your standpoint.
As opposed to P.C., Thais have their own codes on how to live and view the world.
Both good and bad, again depending on your own world views.
But according to the 2007 World Values Survey, 28 per cent of Thai respondents said that they would not like to have people of another race as next door neighbors. Comparatively, fewer than 5 percent of survey respondents from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Brazil, and Norway, among other countries, had similar racial attitudes, reported The New Yorker.
The above image of an education poster has gone viral here, and pretty much attracted a bit of attention, generating some debate about how Thais see racial issues, or at the least perceptions of what is beautiful.
According to Coconuts Bangkok, the poster suggests it was made by a Facebook page “Ideas and teaching materials for English lessons.” While the page is no longer available, it was posted on the Facebook page of Michael Yon, an American journalist with a large Thai following. Here is the image in full:
The word “handsome” is shown as a light-skinned cartoon character. The haircut is cool K-pop, which is all the fashion among the fashionable of Thailand. The issue is that the word “ugly” is portrayed by a dark-skinned person, apparently of African descent, with diamond earrings and tattoos. But there are plenty of Thais who also have dark skin, especially in the southern parts of the country where it is the norm.
About the image, Yon asked: “Thailand: What is wrong with this picture?”
He got a lot of replies, and here are a few of them with the responder’s last name deleted for their privacy:
The majority of the people in their replies did not agree with the poster.
As you gather from the comments, a large part of it has to do with how some segments of Thai society look down on other Thais based on their skin color or where they live or their social status.
Hence, also why there is a multi-billion dollar industry in Thailand selling skin whitening cream. See some adverts about that: