The Thai Culture: Stereotypes And Generalizations


Culture makes up the way of life of different people, including their foods and economic and social aspects. Culture is exciting and diverse among other societies; hence it should be respected. But again, it is hard to do this sometimes, bringing about the aspects of generalization and stereotyping of culture. The following essay outlines the generalizations and stereotypes emplaced by the Americans on the Thai culture based on their food, the animals the Thai culture associate with, and their expressivity.

Expounding Culture, Stereotypes, and Generalization based on the Thai Community

Focusing on generalization, most Americans believe that all Thai foods are spicy, which is not the case. The image and thought the Americans have when it comes to the way the Thai people make their meals, all they see is it being spicy. The spiciness comes from the two primary ingredients essential when preparing Thai foods; ginger and chilies. Both ginger and chilies typically contain a sour taste, which can sometimes be unpleasant to the mouth (Obioma et al. 23). However, the Americans consider the sourness as ‘spicy,’ indicating a sense of generalization in the knowledge of Thai food. Thai cuisines include Tom Yum Goong, Green Curry, stir-fried pork with holy basil sauce, and even non-spicy food like Pad Thai. Americans can be perplexed by the fact that many Thai dishes feature fresh or ground chili peppers that are not spicy. In the food culture of Thailand, people use a tray of food, which is made up of different dishes, which is brought out so that people can share a meal at the same dimmers table (Avraham 715). Therefore, in one meal, people can eat different types of foods which different spices and flavors. It includes salty foods, sweet, spicy, and bitter times depending on the original taste of the prepared dishes.

Based on stereotypes, the Americans believe Thai individuals exist as a native tribe rather than a well-established modern society. In Thailand, people coexist with friendly wild animals such as elephants and Binturongs as they facilitate the execution of one’s daily life. This coexistence transits to a tribe before the American’s eyes, which resort to seeing the Thai people as naïve and native (Obioma et al. 23). Additionally, Thailand is known for having domesticated elephants, just like India. For the longest time, elephants have lived harmoniously with people. Historically, our ancestors have traveled on elephants, horses, and buffaloes, but not recently. The elephant is revered in Thai culture as a sign of good fortune. The superstitious will pay money to travel through the beast’s body to benefit from the animal’s luck. Being fearless is necessary in addition to being superstitious, as elephants are the world’s largest land animals right now. The elephants provided reasonable transport means. Still, right now, the country has better alternative means of transportation. Generally, most of the stereotypes emanate from films and documentaries.

America is famously known for its freedom; the country is even called ‘the land of the free’. At the same time, Thai food may form the bulk of the American generalization about Thailand. The assumption that there is freedom of expression in Thailand creates another instance. The allowance of expression in America has made most Americans extend their space of speech and liberty talk to other nations such as Thailand. Through the power and ability to express themselves, the Americans freely express themselves in various ways, such as supporting or being against a particular law, protesting, and even making speeches (Duan 34). With the rise of the digital age, freedom of expression is being facilitated through various media platforms, schools, and other non-profit institutions (Obioma et al. 23). An excellent example is manifested by the improvement of my son’s expressiveness as a result of interacting with Americans. Not many countries enjoy this privilege, especially when children are involved. But again, there are times when freedom of expression is abused.

Since moving to the U.S., I have gradually adapted to how Americans express themselves. This adaption is different from what I was customed to back home in Thailand. Thai society believes in respecting seniority, which is different from the U.S., where respect is there, but a young person can challenge the ideas and views of a senior (Obioma et al. 23). I have been empowered, and I cannot let anyone take advantage of me or vice versa (Duan 34). With this, my attitude and personality have changed, and I exchange opinions, increasing my understanding and perspective toward other cultures.


Culture, generalization, and stereotypes are evident and have been prevalent in American society and other countries. Most generalizations and stereotypes Americans create are due to a lack of proper information on a given community or culture. The thinking that all Thai foods are spicy is wrong, as there are sweet, flavored, and even bitter foods that epitomize an instance of generalized information about Thai culture. The food appears spicy due to the preparation of different dishes when sharing a meal. Generalization and stereotype are also present and has both negative and positive impact. The conception of freedom of expression has seen a rise in how people exchange opinions without being arrested or criticized for such actions.

Works Cited

Avraham, Eli. “Nation Branding and Marketing Strategies for Combatting Tourism Crises and Stereotypes toward Destinations.” Journal of Business Research, vol. 116, 2020, pp. 711-720.

Duan, Zhaoyang. “Study on the Similarities and Differences of Chinese Culture and Thai Culture from the Euphemism of “Death” in China and Thailand.” 7th International Conference on Education, Language, Art, and Inter-cultural Communication (ICELAIC 2020). Atlantis Press, 2020.

Obioma, Ihuoma, Tanja, Hentschel, and Hernandez, Bark. “Gender Stereotypes and Self‐Characterizations in Germany and Nigeria: A Cross‐Cultural Comparison.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2021, pp. 1-17.