Monday, June 02, 2008

Please Don't Stare At The Disabled Olympians

As if Olympics organizers didn't have enough problems with the Tibetan protests and air pollution and such. It appears that someone didn't thoroughly proofread the volunteer guide to make sure that it didn't contain anything offensive. Instead, it left the printer with some colorful remarks regarding disabled athletes and spectators. Things like:

A section dedicated to the disabled said that "paralympic athletes and disabled spectators are a special group. They have unique personalities and ways of thinking."

To handle the "Optically Disabled," the guide said: "Often the optically disabled are introverted. They have deep and implicit feelings and seldom show strong emotions. ... Remember, when you communicate with optically disabled people, try not to use the world 'blind' when you meet for the first time."

On the "Physically Disabled," the guide said: "Physically disabled people are often mentally healthy. They show no differences in sensation, reaction, memorization and thinking mechanisms from other people, but they might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability.

"For example, some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial and introspective; they usually do not volunteer to contact people. They can be stubborn and controlling; they may be sensitive and struggle with trust issues. Sometimes they are overly protective of themselves, especially when they are called 'crippled' or 'paralyzed.'"

And of course, wonderful advice about how not to joke with the disabled athletes:
The guide said volunteers should "not fuss or show unusual curiosity, and never stare at their disfigurement." It also advised volunteer to steer away from words like "cripple or lame, even if you are just joking."

Ah, the Olympics in Beijing. Who knew they would be so screwed up, yet entertaining.

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