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[flagged] How Indian IT Workers Discriminate Against Non Indian Workers (brightworkresearch.com)
80 points by edandersen 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments

The caste system is very much a part of Indian society even though the law forbids discrimination on the basis of it. Anyone who tells you otherwise - that there is no caste system anymore - is lying or is from one of the upper castes and therefore don't know what it feels like to be a non-Brahmin.

My parents didn't believe in the caste system, were opposed to it strongly and therefore it's impossible to figure out which caste I am from just by my name (ambiguous last name). I can't count the number of times people have tried to fish for information about my caste. Some ask me directly while others try to be "more polite" about the question. I just smile and tell them I am not telling you because it's not relevant and I don't believe in it. This makes them very upset. Then some of these people try to make guesses based on the colour of my skin (light skin in India is consider superior and dark skin is looked down upon), my height and other characteristics.

And this has happened not just in India but more so in the US and Canada, where I now live.

" is lying or is from one of the upper castes and therefore don't know what it feels like to be a non-Brahmin."

Seriously brahmins barely make up 5% of Indians. Before British rule, Indians switched caste just like people move between classes in the UK. The British used caste as a divide and rule tool to create further wedges between different castes so it was easier to rule them all.



I'm not much educated on the subject and hope to read more one day but a few weeks ago I found this twitter response from an associate professor of history which begs to differ with you on this.


Though Would like to add the that original brightwork article sounds like a conspiracy theory

If you read the vishnupuran there are various stories of how khastriyas (warriors) became teachers (brahmins) and vice versa. Even ashwatamma was called the son of a brahmana, his father was Drona, a Brahmin, but he was referred to as a son of a Brahmin because of his alliance with the crown prince Duryodhana and deeds he was determined more of a warrior

I think you missed a lot of time jumping from Vishnupuran to when British arrived. And are we already believing Mahabharatha to be not just a work of fiction?

>Unless you’re Indian, don’t even think about applying to Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Adobe, many federal and state gov’ts, Google, Apple, T-Mobile, Dell, etc.

That's it guys. Pack it up, this Quora commenter is omniscient. To solve this problem at Microsoft, fire Satya Nadella because he's from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. After all, he's a no-talent and was only hired by a board of Telugu speaking Brahmins because he belonged to their caste, right?

Wonder what other narratives can be built from cherry picked frog-in-the-well anecdotes on Quora? Pretty much anything you want to.

Here's the truth: A high percentage of resumes you normally get are Indian. Plus, the green card situation has made it hard for such folks to switch jobs, so they are almost guaranteed to work for several years reducing training costs. Some anecdotes in the article may be true but apply to only very specific cases. Trying to apply this to a broad set of people from one region in India is a conspiracy theory with no footing.

Infosys, Tata, HCL etc. will recruit anyone as long as they can pay them less, and make more money from them. Also, the courts have ruled that workplace discrimination based on immigration status is legal. i.e You can legally dump more work on someone that's not a citizen, because they're not a citizen.

As an aside, all the grammatical mistakes in the article don't inspire confidence in the author.

Oof, yeah. That ridiculous anecdote throws the rest of the article under shadow.

Its so heartbreaking to read this.

And the worse part is that this is the culture that the education system promotes from a very early age.

I have seen 6th graders divided into tribes based on how well they perform on specialised tests that are essentially tickets to high paying corporate firms.

Instead of focusing on teaching kids the value, importance and the beauty of STEM, we're teaching them how to game a stupid test and get ahead in a rat race. No wonder you get such a tribal mindset out of all this!

And the scale is absolutely HUGE. We have around half a million students actively preparing for this specialised test, which in practice involves literally leaving school education for at least 2-3 years to prepare for this monstrosity exclusively.

There's literally a whole city dedicated to tuitions for this one goddamn test.

Just recently India removed the need for publishing Ph.D thesis to get a degree because most of the research was just republication of already published research, after slight modification.

And It's only getting worse with politicians getting into this game, and literally manipulating children's textbooks, making an already broken education system into a net negative for society :/

A STEM Ph.D from India here. The subject I most liked in school was grammar. I can tell you why grammar, prosody and poetry are as beautiful (more so, imho) as STEM. But in a third world country with limited opportunities, and for the most part shitty universities (outside a few good engineering and medical schools), had I followed my "passion" as so many ignoramuses on youtube profess, instead of the more sensible STEM option, I would now be nowhere in terms of an assured livelihood.

I agree with your sentiment. I hope that in the next generation, India will become economically prosperous and following the subject of your interest will become a viable way to lead your life. Until then, the grind working on a subject that's a distant second choice cannot be avoided. I feel sorry for the kids.

That sounds about right. I am fortunate to have my interests and sense of beauty mostly in alignment with STEM.

But the part that I want to emphasize on, is the pseudo-STEM that we as a nation promote. This is a battle that G.H. Hardy seems to have fought before.


Particularly, the description of the Tripos as a "game", full of imaginative tricks and stunts that are merely a figment of human imagination is very much in resonance with the exam we have in India today.

In my experience, the "distant second choice" is not a first choice, even for the STEM loving community :(. It benefits no one other than the tutors who earn large bucks by mastering this game, which in reality, is far from the game of nature, that engineers and scientists IMO are supposed to play!

(Random fun point of cross over of your interests, writing a parser generator that can consume Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī... )

This whole article sounds like a hit piece against Indians. "I can personally vouch that your average Indian IT engineer is very ethnocentric, clannish, and completely unamerican in every sense of the word", ...., sounds legitimate. I've worked in many IT departments all over America. Yes there were many Indians who worked there, but i don't think the reasons for this is as nefarious as this article makes it sound. In general when i was working for a small company, like 80% of the resume we got were Indians (Just by pure % alone, we would have had to hire an Indian). Do people of same ethnic groups show a unconscious bias for people of their kin ? Yes, but you will find this among any group of people. Wasn't there an experiment where a White(Anglo) sounding name got more callbacks for a job interview than a black sounding name? In my experience, there was no Brahamin sitting up top as an overlord, and the Indians i met were like any other group I've met, most were decent, hard working, intelligent people.

> "I can personally vouch that your average Indian IT engineer is very ethnocentric, clannish, and completely unamerican in every sense of the word"

Honestly I can attest to this from big tech. It's anecdotal but my experience is that Indian engineers will self-organize into their own teams, start bringing LOTS of people on both remote and in-sourced, and effectively push anyone out who's not Indian by implementing super authoritarian leadership structures where everyone's vague on their standing in the company.

Those leadership structures often push non-H1B visa holders out because the quality of work plummets, and they don't want to put up with VERY terse management (ie: the type that will call you at 10:30pm screaming at you because your overseas Indian counterpart can't read the English documentation you wrote and now it's your problem).

I've now seen this at one old-school Midwest aeronautical corp, one startup trying to save costs, and one "big-tech" bay area company most people would recognize. This article very much speaks to me on something I have seen in my life.

I've worked for a bunch of companies (i'm a us citizen), and I've never had this problem. These days it actually seems like companies ONLY want to hire Citizens or GC holders. Pretty much everywhere i applied to when i wanted to change jobs this year asked if i was a Citizen/GC Holder. I know a h1b guy whose company got bought out and they fired all the H1B's, the guy sent out like 300 resumes before finally getting 1 interview and he told me it will take him 20/30 years to get his GreenCard. From what i know about him, life as a H1B is essentially a slavish like existence.

> I know a h1b guy whose company got bought out and they fired all the H1B's, the guy sent out like 300 resumes before finally getting 1 interview.

Yeah that's by design. Companies like the ones I've worked/contracted for want the H1B visa holders is because it's incredibly risky/etc. for them to find work if they're laid off, fired, need to find another position, etc. I think the max time they even get to search is 6 months (I've also heard 3!) - would need to fact check this.

Simply put - the organic parts of the US job market literally just don't work for H1Bs. It's wrong, and I hate how they pay these guys approx. 60% (less if outsourced!) of what I make only to require more hours from them.

If you're a citizen/greenie then the US job market magically works for you hah. It's as simple as that.

H1B is the dumbest worker permit. It's stupid for the holder, stupid for American workers, and stupid in design. If people are needed enough to come here from another country, then they are needed enough to come here without being sponsored by some company. Regardless of who they are, if they were good enough to import, then there will be a business that needs them. Give the power of the permit to the worker and not the company and nearly all problems with the H1B go away. I've had the privilege of working with some amazing H1B workers and some truly terrible ones. It's very obvious which companies are using H1Bs to lower wages and which ones are bringing in workers you truly can't find here. If you can replace an entire department with H1Bs then you're not using H1B as intended.

> Wasn't there an experiment where a White(Anglo) sounding name got more callbacks for a job interview than a black sounding name?

There was. And it was really bad there, and deserved to be called out. Likewise women in programming, etc... For the same reason, it's bad here, and pointing out the bias is certainly not "a hit piece against Indians".

If it was a slightly balanced article which pointed out some of problems in the IT industry with regards to Indians, i would have fully endorsed it and added my opinions on it, but it turned into essentially a one dimensional attack backed by Quora quotes.

One is a research study and the other plucks cherry picked anecdotes from Quora.

I am an Indian working at Facebook and can confirm that what the article says is true. The team I work is 100% Indian and that is fairly common. Managers hire not just based on "Indian" but the state where the applicant is from. The Chinese also do it. This puts folks from other communities at a major disadvantage and needs to be addressed.

Just left big tech after seeing an entire branch of the company go this direction. Zero management skills, either you didn't hear from them for weeks at a time or they'd be on you aggressively... nothing in-between. Also, zero training when being on-boarded.

The problem was everyone on an H1B visa would work any hours, pick their phone up 24/7 etc. Effectively they were always on-call and for a lot of the local/US engineering talent we disagreed with the "always-on" culture they brought. They also contributed to that "always-on" culture by never finishing work, pushing deliverables out the door with zero security review, no documentation etc. It's also worth mentioning these budget teams of H1B "engineers" come in and create their own cyclical work by constantly fixing problems they caused. This is what happens when you treat engineering and management as a "cost center" :(

Mostly though, it was insane to hear how blatant they were with bigoted comments, like "we don't hire _those_ kind of Indians", and "if it wasn't for foreign talent we'd have none at all." I felt the need to speak up on this one but when you're a middle-aged white male you're not afforded the right to speak up on any of this without being IMMEDIATELY labeled a racist (hence the throwaway!).

There's some truth to this article but it's overtly racist by generalizing "all" Indians to be this way. I've had Indian friends and co-workers over the years openly admit that this happens, and that they hate it.

It's a side effect from hiring people from a culture with a caste system.

What should we do about it? No idea. A good start would be only allowing a certain percent of hires from each country through the H1B program. You can create a curturally mixed team without denying any visas.

In my previous company we had one Indian employee. He had been in the company for years and did very solid work. When my boss hired another Indian group manager, he assigned the employee in question to that guys project. First the new group manager was not shaking hands with him, not communicating with him properly etc. We found out that the previous employee was from a lower caste, and that the new group manager refused to work with him. The group manager was then fired.

However this requires that the person in charge actually nips this kind of behaviour in the bud. And the group manager had a 15 year career in a very big company. So apparently he could do what he did without a problem for 15 years.

Of course the other employee (that we kept) was not happy about this "system".

> First the new group manager was not shaking hands with him, not communicating with him properly etc.

Yeah - and for an American this is just the weirdest thing ever. I struggle with this a lot and have been told to not equate it with racism - but what the hell is it otherwise?

Well, I don't know about 'racism' but assuming that the behavior was accurately reported, it is prejudice, and fairly blatant discrimination. I don't think people should get to be immune to criticism simply because of their race or any such characteristics, that just doesn't seem right to me.

You're 100% right - and it's just semantics.

It's just that I feel the R-word carries so much more weight on how we're judging something. When I hear people talk down on other people like that I have the same physical reaction of unease in my stomach that I have with the classic "brown people are bad" American racism that I was taught to fight.

Or have hiring practices where an applicant gets a random team in the org that interviews them first and they are hired based on a committee, kind of like google, that way you avoid these type of problems for the most part.

I applaud Google for this, I was thinking about their policy while reading the article.

People hire people that they can get along with. This is easy to overlook.

If truth be told, just statistically, non-Indian non-white minority women are the hardest to get along with in a workplace. They routinely make false complaints. I say this after more than a decade of workplace experience. If there is one of them in the team, I wouldn't join the team.

Everything substantive addressed here can be handled by proper and ruthless application of anti-nepotism and anti-discrimination policies, cracking down hard on abusive management styles, plus such tools as "blinding" the names and addresses on CVs.

This seems like a severe memetic hazard for ill considered racist responses.

It's not that easy. I can easily find out which school, which school board and college you graduated from. If you are not a graduate of an IIT, I will conclude that you are subhuman. (By I, I mean a general recruiter.) None of this needs names or addresses.

Then that's just more information to "blind", isn't it?

Sure, but it is hard to make a decision without knowing educational background. That level of blinding is not really feasible. Unfortunately many Bay Area recruitments happen based on IIT/Tsinghua snobbery, not the caste system as others mention. Many Westerners do not know about this. For the most part, this does not affect quality since they are the top Asian schools, and their graduates are very competent.

There's a different level of nepotism promoted by insecure Indian managers - this is to attract a bevy of cheap and deliberately chosen incompetent engineers who are reliant on the manager for their sustenance and continuing immigration status. This is where the trope of the incompetent Indian s/w engineer comes from. A good example can be seen in the behaviour of Sunny Balwani from Theranos - you can read about it in "Bad Blood".

This is one failure mode of an open-ended immigration system. If you admit large numbers of migrants in a short amount of time, they cannot possibly assimilate quick enough to avoid forming cliques and bringing with them certain problems from the old country. If these cliques and problems are big enough, they attract the attention and ire of natives and other migrant groups, and you wind up with new problems.

I don't know what the solution is. As a non-Indian tech worker in America, I've had great 1:1 experiences with many Indian co-workers, but I've also heard of and witnessed many of the problems described in the article.

Unpopular opinion for non Indians: People favor ones from same caste is very unreal. They don't like to see others in same caste being as successful as they are.

This is someone who has an axe to grind against Indians and found "evidence" to support his views. Such posts can be written about any ethnic group: Irish in police and fireman, jews in banking, italians in construction, landscaping companies etc. on and on...This is an embittered, disgruntled person's rant. Hope s/he feels better after this.

Well, that wasn't racist at all.

Isn't "Proof by Quora" a wonderful thing?

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