Monday, March 23, 2009

'Outsource' becoming a racist word

'Outsource' becoming a racist word


Ramesh Chander

WHEN AN American hears the word ‘outsource’, what comes to his mind? First of all, dread - they fear their job will get outsourced. And this feeling is somewhere bringing in a sense of hatred among the Americans towards the Indians.
The first sentiment is quiet natural. Nobody wants to lose his or her job. Especially when they have worked hard and played by the rules. People fear losing their livelihood. They dread starting life over again and learning a new skill…very natural. Even within India, people dread when people from other states take over their jobs. The roots of many inter-state squabbles in India can be directly linked to this.

The latter sentiment, when people start connecting the word ‘outsourcing’ to Indians, unfortunately starts to wander into a dangerous territory. The Mr John of Dell from India has become part of American popular culture over the last decade. Though this phenomenon is greatly exaggerated, at the most twenty-five per cent of all American calls get answered by an Indian in India. But when the word outsource is applied to people, who have nothing to do with outsourcing, just because of the color of their skin, or their land of origin, it becomes offensive and in my humble opinion, truly racist.
When Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars, many American newspapers and websites couldn’t stop themselves from using the word ’Outsourced’. “The most Outsourced Oscars” screamed one headline. In what way was the movie “outsourced”? It was a movie based on India, so it was shot in India - as simple as that. Why didn’t anyone used the word outsourced with another Oscar nomination Australia, which was shot in Australia? What about Lord of the Rings – the movie was entirely shot in New Zealand, with a whole lot of New Zealand technicians, even though the story was not connected to New Zealand in any way.
Why didn’t anyone raise the term ‘outsourced’ then? In fact, about half of Bollywood movies have at least part of their shooting abroad. By any calculations, Bollywood ‘outsources’ more of its movies to the West than the West does to Bollywood.
When Bobby Jindal delivered a horrible speech, the term outsourced again popped up everywhere. I was surprised that the liberal commentators of MSNBC couldn’t stop using them over and over again. To connect Bobby Jindal, an American in every way, to outsourcing is outrageous. If Arnold Schwarzenegger had delivered a bad speech, I wonder the term would have popped up anywhere.
I hope the World media pays importance to the use of this word, and does not continue to use it carelessly and does not continue to emphasise the stereotype by putting a photo or a video of an Indian call centre or Chinese workers, every time the word ‘outsourcing’ is used. As I illustrated with a few of the examples that took place recently, this word is beginning to be used racially and may foster hate among Americans for Indians and people of Indian origin living in America.


diddy said...

good articulation sir. but ho cares. west lives in a shell and so do we. I live in west and not very optimistic about Indian culture while talking about cast and race. and look to yourself being a learned person you still like to refer as KERALA BRAMHIN.

Kerala Brahmin said...

I contribute a lot in the religious field and I so I thought that that pseudonym would be more approriate. There is nothing more to that name, Ramachander