Monday, March 08, 2010

What does my race/ethnicity have to do with Olympics?

Sorry if I am just a thick-headed Canadian farm boy but I saw something today that I have to ask about. I went to register for tickets for the 2010 London Olympics when I found this question posed to me:

Ethnicity: (it is on this web page)

Two immediate thoughts came out of this. First I wondered how to classify myself. Although I have relatively white skin, I do read books from other cultures and try to live some of their ideals. Buddhism is a particularly large influence on my private thoughts although most of you would never guess it. As I pondered this though the bigger picture entered my head and I asked the first question I should have.

What does your race have to do with watching the Olympics?

Sorry Olympics organizers but I really do not see the connection here. This could not have been asked in Canada at the recent 2010 games during the registration process as every person in Canada is afforded the same quality of life. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees this in section 15.1 (read here)

"15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

I guess I am missing something here. Can anyone shed some light on this?


  1. They call it "ethnic monitoring". I lived in the UK for 4 years and this is very common there. They ask that when you fill out a form at the dr office, apply for a loan and all other sorts of things. Especially if government is involved...

  2. I decided to call them on this. I contacted them to ask why this matters. Will post the results here.

    FWIW - I think the basic idea of ethnic differentiation on an involuntary basis is wrong and a flawed aspect of humanity.


  3. I guess this will be some sort of equality based distribution of the tickets based on ethnicity?

  4. It has nothing to do with it.

    The form on the website in question states "Providing the information below will help us build a better picture of our website users." - which is garble for "we would like to know, for what reason we won't disclose"

    Though, I note that you aren't required to fill that part out. The only required fields in the entire form are:
    first name
    last name
    post code

  5. I got stopped by police at an underground railway station in London, a sniffer dog could smell something on me, searched and questioned. I admitted that I had smoked some pot earlier in the evening with friends but had none myself.
    At the point the police officer started filling in a form which states that I had been searched and he had to ask me what ethnicity I am in order to complete the form. I stated he should be able to determine this himself by looking at me, but he said that would technically be illegal. Stopping and searching is not, using your eyes are. I do find the english weird at times.


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