Are Foreign IT Workers Disproportionately Racist?

Don Tennant

An online discussion forum about African Americans in the IT industry caught my eye today, and I was intrigued by the comments posted by one black IT professional in particular. While too many people in minority communities shy away from openly discussing their experiences with racism, this man had the courage to write about his encounters with racism displayed by foreign IT workers.


The writer was responding to a question posed by Wayne Hicks, executive director of the BDPA (formerly Black Data Processing Associates) Education and Technology Foundation: What is your assessment of the demand for African Americans in the IT industry? Here is his response, in its entirety:

I say the issue is very important, but as most racially charged subjects in our country, extremely awkward to address. Particularly in light of the abundance of IT workers from other lands that dominate the IT fields, this is a major industry issue. Racism is now being more acceptably practiced through them, when they are given the opportunities.

When I was in graduate school recently, the classes were disproportionately students from foreign backgrounds and quite often I was the lone African-American student in my classes. There was bias exhibited towards me by most of my classmates that has carried on into my experiences in the workforce afterwards as well. I have nearly 30 years of industry experience.


Not to overgeneralize because of course there are exceptions, but the bias from foreign IT people can be much more severe than from American born and all are consistent in discriminating or questioning your skills, no matter how credentialed you are. I find this stifling on many levels and more than frustrating. Even now in expressing it, I feel I must be careful in not appearing to be over reacting. But it is frustrating when people can come into your country and discriminate against you and the general society is oblivious to it.

I'm very eager to hear the views and experiences of other IT professionals on this topic. Do foreign IT workers indeed discriminate against minorities here? And is our society in general indeed oblivious to it?

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Jun 10, 2010 7:16 AM Sick Dog Don Sick Dog Don  says:

Stupid post. Get a really life don..

Jun 10, 2010 8:12 AM Mo Mo  says: in response to Sick Dog Don

Mr. Sick,

It may seem that way unless it happens to you daily - not an experience you can recall once or twice. I am quite pale skinned and still see and hear predjudice to hire -or retain-people of African-American decent.

I was involved in the screening/hiring/manging and firing of over 500 people in the last 4 years - not in HR but management.

It's done more descreetly among cohorts after they feel each other out. It comes from both American & foreign born. I would each time stop them in their tracks and if there was a statement made that was not too vague - report them to HR. Don't you notice some companies have all one skin tone?  Get real sick dog  and open your eyes.

Jun 10, 2010 9:11 AM Dave Dave  says: in response to Sick Dog Don

Nothing stupid about Don's post or the IT writer's response to Wayne's question.

Jun 10, 2010 11:10 AM Pascal Pascal  says: in response to Raymond

I think Don is right.  Indians and Chinese in particular are much more prone to racism than the typical American.  This is really a matter of attitude, not of any actual superiority.  Most of the black American IT people I've worked with have been both technically and verbally superior to the foreign workers that global corporations are so fond of importing. 

When is America going to wake up and end these H1B visa programs that flood American IT with second and third rate cheap foreign labor?  We've got better people here, but if we let the corporations keep driving down wages of American IT people we'll end up with Third World quality information systems and lots of smart, educated, capable Americans standing on the unemployment lines.

Jun 10, 2010 11:21 AM Raymond Raymond  says:

Give me a break... There must be something more interesting to blog about?!?  Seriously "Black Data Processing Associates" people need to get a life and stop making excuses in their life. Everyone has faced discrimination is some form, it's human nature to discriminate based on perceptions and bias's. Stop making excuses and trudge forward like the rest of us....

Jun 11, 2010 4:47 AM EW EW  says: in response to Mo


maybe it's more your orthography than your skin tone, that is a problem.

Jun 11, 2010 5:42 AM RBS RBS  says:

The United States is very unique when it comes to it's distaste of racism. In countries like China and India racism, casteism, and class and ethnic identity are widely accepted. There are no protections for workers against age, race, and gender discrimination.

So, as these cultures are getting entrenched into higher levels of management we see more discrimination in those companies. Cultures don't change just because we invite somebody here with and H-1B or a green card.

Many people throughout the last 20 years have warned us about the dangers of importing people who don't show our cultural values. Of course the warnings were ignored so now we have the discrimination.

Racism is part of the culture of India and China and we are very naive that just by allowing them to immigrate here they will change. 

Jun 11, 2010 9:10 AM Sick Dog Don Sick Dog Don  says: in response to Mo

Racism is existed in all races. At work and school, I love to hang around black friends because they are fun to talk and play with, but I found down some black is racist as well. They don't even consider to play or take part with anybody is not black or acting like them. Some of the group with black manager won't hire any IT workers different than their own skin and thought. So you tell me black is not racist ? We are all human being, some is this and that. The only problem I am having is the IT companies discriminate against American workforce by hiring cheap workers from oversea to displace American workers. Tennant is the one who supports discrimination by support those big crook IT companies to hire more Cheap H-1Bs workers to dispace American. The one to blame to be racist is Tennant not others.

Jun 13, 2010 1:11 AM Blue Blue  says:

At the very least, there are some serious discriminatory hiring practices going on. 

Jun 13, 2010 8:38 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Sick Dog Don

Thank you, Don, for highlight a problem that we American IT folks have known about for a long time: foreign racism against .... us! Americans come in all colors.The posters who are pooh-poohing this latest from you are probably the same foreigners who disparage white American IT folks, by yelling, "compete" or some such drivel whenever we complain. But if white American professionals face dirty tricks from imported foreign competition, that goes double and triple for African Americans. America did NOT invent racism, sexism, and ageism, and in other countries these attitudes are accepted as a way of hoping with hypercompetitive societies where there are more people than resources. Bottom line: they want our jobs and will play any trick in the book to get them.

Jun 13, 2010 8:44 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Dolores

Jun 25, 2010 11:03 AM Dark Guardian Dark Guardian  says:

I'm constantly having this problem of being discriminated by foreign born people whether working or being a customer. I had a cab driver demand I give $20 in advance before leaving for my destination because I said to be "safe". I have lots of work experience and a 10-year military background. It's like a closed shop when the boss is foreign born. The employer is only hiring more of their race and not me saying I won't be happy here. It happens in fast foods in San Diego too. You don't see many blacks except to take orders (English). I constantly have to out perform to show I am competent. Before the law, I would get that I'm over qualify but now it's "Oh, we need a Bi-lingual person. I said I knew some French and they say no Spanish. Well, I guess I'm not of the ethic group that speaks Spanish. I'm studying Spanish now but I feel they'll just find something else. That's life!

Feb 26, 2011 1:14 AM Tunnel Rat Tunnel Rat  says: in response to John C. Welch

The bigoted and misogynist upper-caste invaders have almost managed to purge all goras out of the American IT biz, and minorities and women have been some of the major victims of the ethnic cleansing.  All the more reason to fight back against the hordes of CEWPs.

What, Don expects these these scabs to be enlightened and egalitarian, just because they are working on our shores?  WTF?  The racism is ingrained in the culture and religion!  You can take the slumdog out of the slum, but you can't take the slum out of the slumdog.

Feb 26, 2011 1:22 AM Rudy Torrent Rudy Torrent  says: in response to Dolores

I've done my part to fight this invasion of racist scabs by preventing several Indians from getting past the first round of tech interviews during our recent hiring process, and I pounded the table to get two black programmers on board.  The blacks now outnumber the Indians on our team

Yup, plenty of testimonials online, even by Indians, of the racist nature of our curry-scented scabs:

"Indians are the biggest racists, bigots and snobs"

"Racism storm over 38,000 Indians-only' job advert"

"We're even more racist than Aussies"

Feb 26, 2011 2:14 AM Tunnel Rat Tunnel Rat  says: in response to Rudy Torrent

Hey Douchebag Don, why don't you do some real reporting and write about Infosys committing large scale visa fraud and retaliating against a disobedient gora:

How's this for racist:

In September 2010, Palmer says, an Infosys manager from India "confirmed the violations, but stressed to the plaintiff that it was important to 'keep this quiet.'"

     Palmer says he got "further pressure, harassment and retaliation for refusing to be a part of the illegal conduct."

     At Friedel's urging, he says, he filed a report with Infosys' "Whistleblower Team," on Oct. 11, 2010. But the whistleblower team "failed and refused to promptly investigate plaintiff's report and still refuses to thoroughly and fairly investigate and correct the illegal conduct," Palmer says.

     Since filing his report, he says, he has been "subjected to constant harassment, threats, and retaliation" including "numerous threatening phone calls;" monitoring of his emails; "racial taunts or slurs, including being called 'a stupid America' and criticized for being a Christian;" refusal to pay his bonuses; refusal to "reimburse him for customary and substantial expenses;" and being forced to work more than 70 hours a week "without appropriate compensation."

Feb 26, 2011 6:08 AM John C. Welch John C. Welch  says: in response to Dark Guardian

Not just blacks. Whites (who created Silicon Valley) have been driven out. Delusional Chindians who want to be like us have taken over all the jobs in Silicon Valley. Oh, did I mention the economy is going down the tubes and the state of CA is going bankrupt with these clowns in the workforce? What a joke.


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