African Americans in Thailand
I am an African American woman. I traveled in Thailand and throughout Asia in the early nineties and will be returning to Thailand this month to consider retirement there. I did not teach in Thailand, but I did for many years in Japan and for about six months in Taiwan.
I had lovely experiences and no shortage of employment at all levels at any time. Within two days of my clueless and broke arrival in Taiwan, I had two jobs. I'm certain it did not hurt that I am actually qualified to teach EFL, but I do not believe those hiring me were initially aware of that.
I just want to say that prejudice is everywhere and some whites who traveled before me had definitely tried to pollute the waters and some, I know for certain, actively campaigned against hiring African American teachers. It is sad that some people think the world is so small and life so mean that they have to hog what little joy there is for themselves. I did not find this to be common, but it was not rare either.
Thankfully, to me, the world is wide and full of joy and opportunity. If we want Thais and others who have little experience of African Americans to know us, then we must travel and make our own mark and not bemoan the lack or negativity thereof.
In my experience, it is easy to turn a suspicion into a phantom or a confirmation, depending on what sort of encounters people have with the unknown. I, too, have had the experience of following in the wake of an African American who was well liked and reaped the benefits. I'm sure it could work in the reverse. People are people and tend to generalize there experiences, however, all people are malleable. Thais are nothing if not innately averse to personal misconduct and there is your 'in'; just be normally civil, knowing a bit about their ideas of civility of course, and I believe you should be able to do just fine. I believe it so strongly that I am considering making my life there!
Good luck to all the beautiful young ambassadors of light of whatever color who travel and in doing so, expand their own minds and the minds of others.