Prejudice and bigotry are unfortunate aspects of every culture. One thing most people can agree on is that hurtful ideologies are learned, and this is especially true in Thailand.
The Bangkok Post shared a few pictures from Thai textbooks that reinforce some very negative stereotypes and worldviews. Here are a few examples of how Thai textbooks reinforce bigoted worldviews.
Intelligence is hereditary.
This selection from a university textbook for “General Education for Human Development” attempts to explain why some people are less intelligent than others. The textbook claims that children inherit their intelligence from their parents. Additionally, parents from lower classes with poor hygiene would have dumber kids than high class families. The book encourages maintaining health and hygiene to avoid a “legacy of stupidity”.
Dark skin is ugly.
This matching activity asks kids to find opposites. The truth is, this activity reinforces the harmful standard that dark skin and curly hair is “ugly” while light skin and straight hair is “beautiful”. Thais from all generations seem to be familiar with this concept. Ask your Thai friends and you might find that their parents have said a few hurtful things about skin color and weight in the past. Also, the illustration of a “thin” boy appears to be emaciated and frail in comparison to the “strong” and “fat” boys, a mental image that will be sure to inspire body dysmorphia in more than a few students.