Using Lies to Foster Anti-Indian Sentiment


The statement, "If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it" has been attributed to Adolph Hitler, Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and others. Regardless of its origin, the statement is a disturbingly fitting motto for people in this country who are determined to discredit technology professionals from India.


Not surprisingly, a reader who commented on my post, Beyond the IT Angle: Ethnic Cleansing in Arizona jumped at the opportunity to make the claim that "IT has had a breathtaking ethnic cleansing in the last 15 years-from white American to East Indian." Aside from the troubling inference that IT jobs in the United States are best held by white people, the statement aims to bolster the frequently repeated, albeit absurd, claim that Indians hold an inordinately high percentage, if not the majority, of computer-related jobs in this country.


In truth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2008 whites held 70.3 percent of those jobs, and 15.5 percent were held by Asians, a demographic that includes Indians. It's obvious, then, that whatever the percentage is of U.S. IT jobs held by Indians, it's significantly less than 15 percent. Hardly an ethnic cleansing in which whites have been ousted by Indians, so repeating the lie is the best hope of having it believed.


Another disturbing claim made by the anti-Indian crowd in this country is that people from India lack technological prowess. I've received comments from readers who ridicule the skills of Indian engineers, and I recall one reader in particular who cited a bridge collapse in India to prove his point. Never mind that the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis in August 2007, which killed 13 people, was attributed to faulty design.


There are legitimate reasons not to be willing to accept the current state of affairs relating to IT job opportunities in the United States, including rampant abuse of the H-1B visa program. But resorting to repetitious lies as a means of validating one's argument destroys the legitimacy of that argument. I've spoken out for years about the self-defeating nature of confronting our problems with personal attacks and mean-spiritedness, but the destructiveness of those blights is nothing compared to the insidiousness of perpetuating lies.