Discrimination and Racism in Cambodia

Cambodia is an extremely racist country and a foreigners will encounter discrimination on every step of their stay. How you will be treated, how much you will pay will be determined by the color of your skin. This is racism in its purest form and it is so deeply rooted within Cambodian culture, anywhere you go you will be greeted with the “us versus them” treatment.

To better understand the premise of discrimination in Cambodia, one should look at it from an opposite angle. Imagine a Cambodian comes to Canada for a visit. From the moment they set their foot on Canadian soil, they will be treated equally to everybody else. They will have the same rights and the same obligations as everybody else, regardless of their ethnic background. They will enjoy the same respect when walking down the street as everybody else with no one having the right to yell at them from across the street just because they look different. And when they go to buy something, they will pay the same price as everybody else. Regardless of the color of their skin, the treatment in all walks of life will be the same. In Canada, you are one of us. You are no different. You are a human, you are the same and you have the same rights and privileges as everybody else.

It is not like that in Cambodia. Cambodia is a country where from the moment you set your foot on their soil, you will be treated differently. In Cambodia, there are Khmer people and then there are foreigners. As a foreigner, you are not one of them – you are different. You will be treated differently and different prices will apply to you.

If you find yourself within a crowd of locals walking down the street in Cambodia, you will be singled out and subjected to abuse while all of the locals surrounding you will be left alone. You will never feel integrated into the culture, because they will always single you out and always treat you differently and will be very open about you being different. Cambodians don’t try to hide their racist tendencies. You are not one of them, you are different and that’s that. Discrimination and racism in Cambodia and very much alive and as strong as ever. When one group of people gets preferential treatment from another group of people based on their ethnic background, you get a textbook perfect example of discrimination and that’s exactly what Cambodia is all about.