Yes, I was stationed here 43 years ago… and yes, I decided to return when the opportunity came up. Guess what? Everything changes in 40 years. I’ve changed and so has the world. And certainly, Asia has changed… and will continue to do so. Sad to say it, but the, “Land of Smiles” has turned to the “Land of Frowns.”
If you travel to Thailand, expect to be greeted with an alarming amount of very STUPID forms of racism. Yes, some of it is a… very immature need to make themselves feel better than a wealthy Westerner …. who the media has told them is further down on the “money-to-human” scale, but there’s so much of it that it shocks and wears on you. You have to keep something of a haughty attitude. As toxic as it feels, they quickly pick up on your image of yourself. Do NOT “people please.” Be respectful, but hold onto your dignity. A FEW Thais have begun to talk to each other about it… but Thailand has SO MANY problems, that how they treat “dirty blacks” is pretty far down on their “to do” list.
In 2015 ASEAN is expected to unify currencies. Life in many Asian countries are slated to change. Thailand has been enjoying something of a privilege and protected existence… but that’s due to change. Burmese and Cambodians have better English skills. Minimum wage will be instituted so Dept Slavery will come to Thailand. Jobs once protected will be up for competition.
There are a plethora of other issues.
Crime, sleazy Euro-Sexpats, Nigerian drug dealers, Russian gangsters, Indian and Chinese bigots… and a host of foreigners who can’t get along anywhere else in the world… and who all want to be better than YOU. But one of the main concern for black tourist is the fact that Thai Ignorance has reached documented status. Everything from whitening creams to anti-Semitism to blatant racism, it seems that Thais either have a huge identity crisis, or they are some of the dumbest fuckers walking. This is 2013, right?
The IMF bailed Thailand out in 1997 and since then, they’ve been dictating everything from economic plans to who they should be nice to and who they should reject. The Thais seem to be good students. Plus… Hip Hop and Gangsta Rap have been exported. You call yourself a “Nigger” long enough and people will start calling you that too.
Thailand for most blacks is no longer a preferred destination. The Chinese sentiment, “Asia for Asians” is one of the prevalent themes. I suggest using the dollars you’ve allocated for sex, romance, and relaxation someplace more hospitable. Avoid North Korea, the Philippines,Hong Kong is great, but avoid Mainland China … but do visit Taiwan. Cambodia, yes, Malaysia, no. Fiji YES, Indonesia … is a toss up… but since they’re involved in a barbaric genocidal war against black New Guinea, I’d say … no.
Of course a lot depends upon how long you plan to visit. If you just want to see a place and you plan on spending three days to two weeks, go anywhere you want. It takes time for the novelty of most places to wear off and the ignorance to set in. (Unless you’re in South Korea where you feel their racism right away.)
Some of the most African American friendly tourist destinations are, England (London!), Montenegro, Taiwan, and Germany. Of course if you’re a black woman, you’ll feel treated better in some places than black men… and not as well in others. By the way, given the history, I see no reason for any African American to travel to any Arab country. None. Zip. Nada. BEWARE… don’t go there.
In summary, as a black person, there’s a certain way you have to travel. Regardless if you’re going to Ethiopia or Chiang Mai, pack as much sophistication with you as possible. Be friendly, don’t OVER DRESS, but make sure you bring, “casual-dressy” clothes along with your short pants. Be friendly, but have no need whatsoever to people please. In fact, it’s BEST if you have friends and loved ones along with you to watch your back… emotionally and figuratively. If you present strong and smart, and not sleazy, you’ll enjoy the world a lot better than if you’re naive and needy. There are haters… everywhere, so don’t guard against the misery-loves-company people as much as you would the gangsters, pick pockets, and criminals.