This week my "there are no inherent differences caused by race" stance has been highly threatened by my "there are some cultures I just don't like" position. I nearly blogged about it a few days ago, but the nag in my head was telling me it wasn't bloggable.
So it's been on the back burner for days, trying to work out what my experience was actually telling me. After interacting with a help desk in India, it took my rational mind some extended wrestling to kick the "All Indians are morons" conclusion (A) out of my head. Academically I knew that was bullshit, but I dealt with 5 or 6 Indians - all of whom were incapable of doing their jobs (and not as a result of language issues). I then dealt with one person in the UK, who knew what he was talking about and got results.
So, given that stupid, racist conclusion A wasn't viable, what can I really say? Well my stats course is ringing in my head with the line "from the population from which the sample was drawn". So, "All Indians employed by company X are morons, when compared with Brits employed by company X." (B)
Yes, I am happy with conclusion B. It is accurate, from a statistical point of view*. However, social commentary it ain't. What is this telling me that is meaningful? I ask myself, why would company X employ morons in India and competent people in the UK? Surely this can't be good for business.
And then reality finally dawned. Company X's clients expect conclusion A. Company X doesn't have to spend money on good people in India, they can just rely on the racism of their clients to have very low expectations.
But company X is based in the UK. They have to spend money on good people there. You can't have people thinking Brits are morons.
And so the racist feedback loop continues. And it is really hard, when you are just trying to get a job done, to look deeper than the frustration caused by an inept person on the other end of the phone.
So when I get the chance to have a bitch about the standard of the help desk, I'll be asking why they don't employ good people in India, like they do in the UK. I will not be duped into blaming the Indian help desk.
Although I may still swear about the incompetence every time I deal with them.
After all, Bigpond's help desk is proof positive that you can staff a help desk with morons anywhere in the world.
*I am assuming significance, this is a blog, not a stats assignment :)