Travel — April 1, 2012 at 04:15

Culture Shocker – Thai Children’s Book

A friend of mine who is working as an English teacher in Bangkok has sent me some pictures of a kiddie book used to teach English.  This stuff is amazing…

Oh yeah… This is why we travel…  The good stuff…

Seems like Thailand is completely unburdened by the idea that black people are no longer believed to be made of tar.  Yes, I understand that this is only a recycled Uncle Remus story about the Br’er Rabbit and a straw doll soaked with tar which is used to trap the pesky carrot thief, but Thai kids are likely to walk out of the classroom with a slightly different message.  This is quite unnecessary in a country which is already plenty racist and xenophobic.

In reality, I dont think this is meant to be racist, as Thailand does not have the same history of oppression of black Africans as North America and western Europe do.  Thailand has its own racial problems, but obviously they had evolved in a different way, and against different groups, so the imagery is not the same, resulting in the tar baby being nothing more than an innocuous character in a kids’ storybook.  Picture books such as this one would not survive in the West, as the “tar baby” character has been largely retired along with the gollywog doll and the not-so-enlightened idea that all Africans are man-eating savages… But this definitely is a shocker to the sterilized western backpacker brain that may stumble upon this.

While dicking around the world, you not only encounter wild stuff that you never heard of before, but you also stumble upon remnants of your own history that you didn’t think would ever surface again.


Emil Kaminski  |  |  Photos by Dayv Ultrunz

Brought to you by: THE CULTURE SHOCKERS!

One Comment

  1. Hey, say what you want about racism, but that farmer caught himself a carrot stealing rabbit didn’t he?

Leave a Reply