Playing the Race Card and the New Western Imperialism

Dunkin Donuts

Thailand is the only southeast-Asian nation that was never colonized by western powers, and the Thai pride themselves on being a “land of the free.” But now it seems that some in the West want to impose a bit of cultural imperialism on the Thai.

Recently American media have criticized racist advertising in Thailand. Time complained about a Dunkin’ Donuts ad that featured a woman whose face was painted black, and then The New Yorker rehashed that story when complaining that Naomi Campbell appeared too white on the cover of Vogue Thailand.

According to these media outlets, Thailand has a problem with racism. The Thai consider light skin beautiful; therefore, they must be racists. The manipulating of skin color in advertisements offends some Americans; therefore, the Thai must be racist. The companies involved have issued non-apologies for these transgressions against American sensibilities; therefore, the Thai must be racist. All this hand wringing is nonsense, and if anyone has a right to be offended it’s the Thai.

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