Racism Is Racism
I was rather taken aback at the Are Thais Racist? submission by Zeus. It was so full of nonsense that I felt I had to respond.
It is clear that Zeus has not checked the meaning of racism in a dictionary, a rather foolish thing not to do if you are going to sit down and write several hundred words addressing the subject and how it relates to Thailand. In fact, has he even looked up Zeus? If so, he has a greatly inflated opinion of himself. Don’t bother looking it up yourself. I did it for you, and Zeus is the supreme god of ancient Greek mythology. He is tagging himself as a supreme god. WTF! Must be an interesting guy.
What about racism. Here are two definitions from a dictionary I use. 1 – The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races and, 2 – Discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race.
He says that Thais are not racist, just misunderstood. He writes Westerners in Thailand who don’t speak the language live in a small world. I can understand how such a farang who relies on the PC press for news would think that Thais are racist. After all, they are obsessed with whiteness and the poor among them appear dark, particularly those who work in the sun all day. The problem with that argument is that darkness is not itself a race.
And the problem with that statement is that Westerners' observation and experience of racism in Thailand isn't, more often than not, based on their recognition that Thais prefer white skin. Westerners often prefer dark skin and women in particular spend large sums of money to attend tanning studios, despite the reported health risks. (White) Westerners are not considered racist because they prefer dark skin, and nor do we think Thais are racist because they prefer white skin.
An aside. Actually, tanning machines are not new. I remember my father had a small contraption, maybe the size of a couple of shoe boxes, in which he placed two sticks each the size of a pen. It was plugged into the mains and these sticks glowed a bright white light and we sat in front of it wearing dark glasses. From memory, and we are talking 50 years ago now, I don't think it had much effect.
Back to business. Then Zeus blames us, the foreigners, for being ripped off, generalising while at the same time insulting the intelligence of the Thais by suggesting they are too stupid to differentiate between sex tourists and more so-called 'respectable' members of Western society that visit Thailand for reasons other than to seek carnal pleasure. Some Thais do have an overly negative impression of farangs, but maybe that is because the farangs who come for the P4P scene are not the best ambassadors of their home countries.
He, Zeus, though is seen differently than the rest of us trash because he speaks Thai. I’ve talked with Thais who view farangs in general with contempt, but they don’t seem to hold my race against me, and I think this is because I speak their native language.
Then he asks What about dual pricing? This strikes me as an example of opportunism, not racism, at least not directly so. As far as I know, visitors from Singapore, Japan, and Korea are subject to the same pricing scheme. One can usually find easy ways around this scam. Hide from view, and have your Thai girlfriend buy the tickets, clothing, food, or what ever else you need to purchase. Maybe if tourists weren’t as dumb with their money, then this wouldn’t be such a big a problem.
Dual pricing, again, is our fault, because we are dumb with money. We don't know how to behave. Like sex tourists. Another generalisation. I love this guy. Let's look at the definition of racism again. 1 – The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races and, 2 – Discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race. For (1) we know that many Thais think they are the master race and look down on us inferior Westerners. Zeus says that is our fault. Okay. There are a lot of low-lifes around Thailand, and perhaps Thailand should ask itself why the country attracts so much scum. But Thailand has so much to be ashamed of that I could write another half dozen submissions. In fact, I’ve addressed some of those things in the past.
Now (2). Discriminatory behaviour towards members of another race. Zeus even admits that it isn't only Westerners that Thais discriminate against (sorry, take opportunities with). They do the same to visitors, that is guests, from Singapore, Japan, Korea. He implies that as they are fellow Asians how can Thais be racist? But that, according to the dictionary, is exactly what it is. They are treating someone differently purely on the basis of their race, because they are not Thai. Just hide while your Thai partner buys the tickets is his solution. Why the fcuk should we, guests in this country, have to do that? What a really dumb thing to say.
Does his fan, as it describes her/him, have to hide away out of sight in the US or Australia or Germany or wherever the hell he might take her/him while he buys them a ticket to whatever? I don't think so. Many countries have laws against treating people of other races differently from themselves. But Zeus says it's okay to do it in Thailand. As we know, all farangs are rich and all Thais are poor, even those driving BMWs or Mercedes and owning 15 million baht condos. My dream is for Thais who travel overseas to be charged 10 times more than the locals to go to, for example, the Eiffel Tower or London Zoo or any other tourist site you could name, anywhere. Wouldn't that be great. Wouldn’t that be great!
Over and over again we have people on this site and elsewhere saying we are guests in this country and therefore we have to abide by their rules. All I can say to that is that many people here have a very odd way of treating their guests. It is utter nonsense to say we are guests. What we are is an opportunity. Even Zeus says so. And that opportunity is born of racism, pure and simple. We are treated differently because we are not Thai. How can Zeus possibly suggest it is any different.
I have lived here a long time and know there are many, many people who do not treat foreigners any differently from Thais. I’d even venture to suggest that you could not meet nicer or more genuinely good-hearted people anywhere in the world. But there are plenty of people who are perfectly happy to treat foreigners differently purely on the grounds that they are not Thai. And that is racism, Zeus, whether you acknowledge it or not.
I truly believe that every last one of us is racist. It is just the extent to which we are racist and whether / how much we try to hide it.