Ho Chi Minh City - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I haven't witnessed any problems. I feel like they turn to the women for approval more so than then men, actually. - Sep 2021

There are 50+ ethnic minorities in Vietnam, and they are typically discriminated against by city dwellers, and distrusted by the government. Religion is a strong presence in Vietnamese society, but doesn’t seem to be the cause of friction in society. In Ho Chi Minh City there is a healthy blend of Catholics and Buddhists and they seem to coexist. There is a small Muslim population, largely the Khmer minority, and are under scrutiny by the government more for their ethnicity than for their religion. The government doesn’t trust organized religion for many reasons, and heavily regulates it. Women appear to be second-class citizens in society, and seem to succeed in spite of that. - Jul 2019

The worst you can be I think is to be Cambodian - and Vietnamese men can be pretty nasty to women - but it's rare anymore to be stared at or openly mis-treated. - Mar 2016

Yes. The Vietnamese stare at anyone who does not look like them, whether you have black skin, red hair, etc. Sometimes their prejudice is more blatant. Religious freedom is still a touchy issue here as well. The people are accepting and curious about different religions but the government is not as accepting. - May 2014

Pretty much men do whatever they want, it appears. Woman typically want what ex-pats may consider a out-dated sole female role of raising children and having a household. To women here, the idea that a man can cook and clean or take care of children and share these duties is laughable. - Jul 2011

There is a large Catholic church in the center of HCMC with religious services. Some religious groups are under closer scrutiny than others. Not for their underlying philosophies and values, but for their perceived intervention in the political arena. In general if you practice your religious beliefs in a quiet fashion you are fine just don't engage in any missionary or conversion activities. Men are definitely respected more here, women are considered inferior. In restaurants or at public events I have found the man will always be bowed to, respected a lot and dealt with first. Male children are much favored and desired here. Black skin is rarely seen here and will cause the locals to stare maybe just a bit longer than they stare at any foreigner here anyway. We all get stared at, get used to it. But they will not be unfriendly to you because your skin is darker. It always seems to me they are being aggressive and rude to me, until I learned that this is the way it is in this society. There is a distinct lack of personal space and social graces are non existent out in the streets and shops, you will be shoved out the way. It's a good lesson in not taking yourself too seriously I suppose. - Sep 2010

Well, the local women are treated like slaves by the local men, who do nothing. There is prejudice, but nothing is deeply felt or expressed. There is safety in the cultural blandness here. All foreigners are seen as outsiders, no matter how friendly people can appear to be. So we are all in the same situation. - Nov 2009

I think there are some racial prejudices...not hatred but people of African-American or Asian-American heritage often encountered weird remarks about their backgrounds and assumptions about their nationality. - Dec 2008

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