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October 22, 2005



Thank you for shedding light on this topic. I actually came across this article after experiencing first hand the racism here in Thailand. I wanted to see if I was being overly sensitive about it. I’m half Thai and half African American. Slowly realizing how many people see me here. It started with seeing all of the skin whitening products, then noticing how so many people cover their faces when exposed to the sunlight. Today, I was walking with a female friend and noticed how uncomfortable she became when we came upon a group of her friends. It was a familiar event, so I immediately realized what happened. I must admit that I get a little break when they realize I’m half, but it still doesn't change their initial reaction. Really sad, but the way we interact with those who don't know better due to the years of conditioning (even though they should), can be a good place to start to change the collective consciousness. I’m with you!!! Thanks for the posting

bangkok expat mama

lana, your post rang so very true. my thai friends thought i was joking when i told them that i sometimes went to a tanning salon in college because i couldn't stand my pasty skin tone. the concept of a tanning bed -- where someone would lie intentionally to brown themselves -- is anathema to what they've been programmed to believe is attractive. (by the way, i'm at peace with my paleness now, which is a good thing because with two kids who has time for tanning beds?!)
annie is right. the timing of your post honors the incomparable rosa parks. keep the faith!


Reading your comments the day after Rosa Parks passing...
the "Mother of Civil Rights" , I think that YOU a lone white woman can make & will enlighten views!!!
You have much power in your words...

amy h

I loved your post. Honest and thought-provoking.


I have heard nearly this same story from close friends. A friend of ours (the whitest boy ever) was living in Thailand and married a beautiful, smart, educated darker skinned Thai girl. They now have a precious baby and are living in Hong Kong. They have told us horrible stories of how Thai's are looked down on there and how she is always assumed to be the housekeeper. Racism in everywhere, but maybe it can get better -- one mother at a time.


Remember, it's easy for you, as a white woman to say that color's not important. You're their ideal. You must show it by how you relate to others.


I'm Chinese-American and have lived in Asia since 1998. In my experience, Asians don't necessarily think of skin color as a reflection of race. It is simply one more facet to judging someone's beauty just as weight is. Still not particularly nice and definitely more blunt! I can't count how many times someon has commented on my "beautiful" skin only to add that it was too bad I was fat.

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