Thai Children Being Taught That Dark Skin is “Ugly”


Every now and then a post is viewed on Facebook which will either go viral or create an uproar… or both. An American journalist, Michael Yon, experienced this in July when he posted a photo he had discovered was being given to young school children when being taught adjectives during class time. The illustration is designed to teach Thai children English adjectives by showing that dark skin is “ugly.”

At first glance, the picture cards are a straight forward learning tool: “The man is old,” “the pencil is long,” and, “the man is young.” There seems to be nothing wrong in this helpful and rather innocent poster entitled, “We are different.” That is, until you scroll down to the bottom where the differences that illustrate beauty are displayed.


The Thai creators’ perception provides the word “handsome” with an illustration of a light-skinned cartoon character, with a complexion and haircut considered preferable in Thailand. Further along the poster, the word “ugly” is portrayed by a dark-skinned character, seemingly of African descent.

I know when I went to school, such descriptors would be portrayed by dinosaurs and monsters, not color and creed.

Since the posting by Yon has gone viral, the Facebook page where it seemingly was created for teaching materials has since been made unavailable.

This Article (Thai Children taught that Dark Skin is “Ugly”) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

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  1. How is it any different from what the western countries do.? Media is branding Muslims and sikhs as terrorists just because they look a little different. And kids learn more from what they watch on tv.

    • As a man of British descent I am absolutely disgusted by how western media is portraying eastern cultures of late. We are all humans, that is all there is to it.

    • Ravi that’s true. But you have to look at who owns the media and the agenda. Can’t get the general public to support wars you want to fight without media propaganda. And as far as the picture… I’m not surprised. Again consider the source and the mass medias depiction of what is beautiful and the portayal of African people in media.

  2. dont be an idiot.. they are not trying to say that black African are ugly.. they are just trying to show that copying gangster attitude and piercing are ugly and children should not try to copy it…

    • Pratham ,it is common knowledge that Thais regard black/dark skin ugly, you have never been there I guess, they have there own culture and hide from the sun so they can be as white as can be , White is the colour of prosperity for them ,.they are not racists just ignorant,, I speak as a black man who has visited Thailand and had a good time there

      • Did you get to visit phuket. Yes I think for them it is as you said. The color of prosperity and their desire to fit into European standards of beauty because that’s who they see as the world power. I believe it is out of ignorance and assimilation.

    • What in the picture tells you he is copying a gangster attitude? That in itself is a stereotype. The real gangsters and mobsters wear suits. Piercings make a person a gangster or is that just for black males? What about spacers? Or other cultural ornamentation. Justifying racism reveals your own racist perspective.


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