Are Thais Prejudiced? Do Thais Practice Discrimination?

I shot a video about this, there are people writing me about the video series that would like to know how it would be to come to Thailand to live as an African American.

If you’re white skinned you’ll not have any major problem. If you’re black-skinned, then what? I try to clear it up in the video – according to my own point of view. If you have a different opinion, leave it in the comments.

Basically the answer is – yes, there is prejudice and discrimination among all people in every country. Thailand is no different, but all in all – it shouldn’t be a major consideration if you have other than pasty white skin.

If you have been discriminated against in Thailand – leave your story in the comments. Do not name specific people, places, or organizations – I’ll have to edit them out.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

5 thoughts on “Are Thais Prejudiced? Do Thais Practice Discrimination?”

  1. Howzit Brudda Vern!
    speaking of Thais discriminating on dark skinned Thais
    up here in Isaan Thais are known to look down on Lao People
    sayimg they are lower and dumber than Thais. but in reality the
    Lao government is kicking Thailands ass in technology. just look at the
    3G thing Lao had it running how long ago but what about Thailand?
    And almost every person from Isaan who has decendants coming
    from Isaan are actually Lao blood.
    Anyway k den check u lataz bra!
    brudda Jon

  2. Vern I remember a black guy applying for a job in Assumption, he was American and many Thai teachers looked horrified just looking at him. After he left there were words like (e-dum mak) being thrown around and laughter. When people applied for jobs over the internet with no picture, we would be asked if he was black. We were meant to know just by their name…

    There is no chance of a black person being employed in many private schools, no matter their qualifications unless a native speaker is doing the hiring.

    I have lived in Thailand over 6 years and never once been fined by the police. I have been stopped many times (not of late) but only for licence checks, registration and tax. That is it.

    I have been let off a few times when I should have been fined by speaking Thai to the policeman and making light of what I did wrong as being a stupid farang.

    Thais discriminate a lot, now that I can read Thai pretty well I see it in signs about the place. I always laugh at toilets where Thais pay two baht but farangs pay five, we must do bigger turds.

    1. hahah! yeah, I think we must have bigger turds…

      I won’t tell you the school I was talking about – but you know it real well. Lol.

      In Ubon I stopped counting at about 22 stops by police… they stopped EVERYONE… I didn’t slip through too often without talking to them… Did I tell you the time one policeman said to me (in ubon) – 10,000 baht.

      I said what?

      He wrote it down and pointed to it. I’m thinking – HOLY SHIT. I didn’t even have 10,000 baht at the time.

      I said 10,000 baht? He said YES.

      Then he wrote down 100,000 baht.

      My nuts were in my throat – but I managed to say it. Keep in mind, I had been in Thailand all of about 3 months.

      He yelled to the other officers – 100,000 baht – in English – they all laughed… I was like, jesus, this isn’t good.

      He wrote – 1,000,000 baht. I was ready to hit the throttle and get the F out of there…

      He said – say. Say. (poodt poodt) – but, I didn’t know Thai much at all.

      I said – 1 Million baht. He pointed to the other numbers – I said them.

      He said – thank you! Bpy Bpy!

      I was giving him a free English lesson apparently. Lol.

      I found the cops in Ubon to be awesome. No problems ever, and helpful in a couple instances.

      Thanks for the comment man…

  3. Vern

    To be honest, I was kind of disappointed with this last vid. Prejudice and Discrimination is blatant all over Thailand.

    I have several examples that I have seen over the years.

    Have you ever tried to explain to a Thai person how to go somewhere or even how to do something. Personally, I try to avoid this type of situation all together if I can because I know there is no way the Thai will acknowledge that a fallang knows anything more then they do.

    Maybe some things will not be looked at as discrimination by Thais, such taking the word of a Thai over a Fallang; this may be more of a face thing to the Thais.

    This last month while visiting LOS, I was sitting on my motorbike among approx 20 other riders at a traffic light. A policeman pointed and indicated for me and several other Fallangs to pull off to the side of the road. There were 3 Fallang riders which all had been identified to pull over. The rest of the riders were Thai. Several of those riders had over two riders of the one motorbike and 90% of the riders were not wearing motorbike helmets. This at its best was racial profiling.

    Have you ever noticed very few men have facial hair. I have always wondered about this as In the winter months in the USA I normally grow a full beard and then trim it down eventually to a goatee.

    In LOS in general, the only Thai’s with facial hair I see is the occasional monk or really old man or even woman. As far as visitors, normally people from India and Arab countries.

    Have you ever noticed how these visitors are treated? Most Arabs are not allowed in go-go’s on Walking Street in Pattaya.

    Another aspect of the dark skinned people. Generally I am speaking of the darker skinned people from Issan. The is no doubt that most Thai’s will look at these darker skinned Thai’s as inferior. For the most part, in the touristy areas, these dark skinned people will only have the lowest of the low jobs.

    I have a good friend that hired one lady many years ago from Issan. This lady pretty much runs the daily operation of his guest-house. He has told me many times, that he has to be selective when hiring others that will work beneath her, as many see someone with such dark skin to be inferior.

    I really fell like I could just go on and on about this subject. Please understand that I am talking in general and of my own opinion only.

    Have Fun,

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom, thanks for your great comment. I didn’t go into some of the things you mentioned. I was more just commenting on whether or not the color of your skin should be a determining factor in deciding to visit, or live in – LOS long-term. I’d say no. Sure there are things that appear to be discriminatory… I’ve had the opposite experience in all police stops. I’m waved through almost every time, whether in a car or on a motorbike. I’ve never been singled out of a group of Thais by police for a traffic stop.

      As far as Arabs in go-gos on walking street – I hadn’t a clue they weren’t allowed in some bars. I’d attribute it to their behavior though, not the color of their skin. But who knows.

      Some people look at it as discrimination when Thais jack up the prices for farang and charge Thais the regular, lower prices. I don’t see it that way. I tend to look at it as a market economy. If you pay it – it must have been worth it to you. Otherwise, don’t pay it and go somewhere else. Thais bargain for the price of everything – except food, typically. However, with farangs sometimes they list a higher price. If you know it’s a higher price you could tell them you know the regular price and see what happens. Maybe nothing. If you ask for the price of something with “How much is this?” you’re more likely to get a higher price than if you say “tao rai krup?” or “gee baht krup?”

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