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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

Other gems of useful information are that potential visitors see the UK as expensive with rotten weather, and its citizens considered standoffish.

It really is groundbreaking stuff.

You don’t need me to tell you this is dumb, stereotyped nonsense, but South African Nechama Brodie puts it quite nicely. The author of the guide Inside Joburg tells the Guardian, “Trying to capture South Africa, and South Africans, as it is now, in a nutshell of ‘robots’, ‘takkies’ and ‘braai’ is a bit like encouraging people to sing Spice Girl lyrics to their English visitors to make them feel at home.”

Are people really so moronic they need to be told how to behave in the presence of someone from another country or culture? Apparently VisitBritain thinks so. And evidently they feel qualified to say what’s acceptable, and their solution seems to be to offer nothing but misplaced, stereotyped and odd advice.

I understand the positive motivation behind the instructions, but really, the truth is we’d all just rub along fine if we stuck to common courtesy and mutual respect.

Oh and one final point: Leaving aside my comments above, London is already one of the most culturally diverse world cities. That means that foreign people and cultures are already there, and everyone seems to have managed pretty well to date. How on earth is that possible, without brilliant guidelines like this?

(Add this to the list: Expat Britons are frequently sarcastic.)

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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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