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Stupid – and possibly racist – stereotyping

Stupid – and possibly racist – stereotyping

No, not another Sarah Palin gaffe. We’re talking about the official tips offered in Britain for providing a warm welcome to foreigners attending the Olympic Games in 2012.

August 11, 2010 4:33 by

Britain is getting excited about the 2012 Olympic Games. And it’s getting busy, too, apparently – not only do they still have most of the infrastructure to build for the games, but they have to prepare for the influx of visitors the games will bring.

And part of this preparation has involved officially published tips for making foreign guests feel welcome. And yes, it’s exactly as bad as it sounds.

VisitBritain, a UK government funded national tourism agency, has created an online set of cultural dos and don’ts for UK residents on how to treat those visiting the country in the run up to the games. The tips have been drawn up by VisitBritain’s staff in its 35 offices worldwide, and appear in the organization’s country profiles.

So, what do the tips include? Here’s a selection:

  • Arabs can take offence very easily and are not used to being told what they can’t do.
  • Don’t mention the war to a Mexican (the 1840’s war with the US, that is).
  • Do remember a smiling Japanese person is not necessarily happy.
  • Always be careful how you pour wine for an Argentinian.
  • Don’t wink at a visitor from Hong Kong.
  • Be tolerant of Indian tourists if they appear impolite, noisy or impatient.
  • Never call a Canadian an American.
  • For South Africans, traffic lights are called robots, “takkies” are trainers, and placing your thumb between your forefinger and second finger and pointing it at someone is an obscene gesture.

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1 Comment

  1. Miss Anne Thropic on August 12, 2010 2:01 pm

    Anyone would think this is the first time any tourists have ever come to Britain…


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