Americans who LIKE Indians are also complaining about call centers
It is common at Noida Call Centers for managers to encourage their workers to become less Indian — to erase their Indianness and become a fake American or Britisher. The point is that Americans and English live in very cosmopolitan societies where people of all backgrounds are accepted to a greater or lesser degree. Sure, it is good to blend in, but the bigger issue is how you interact.
My Tamil-American Friend
I have a friend who as born in Tamil Nadu. He loves India and visits regularly, but he has lived in the United States since early childhood. He thinks that Indian culture is the best in the world and married an Indian lady born in the West as well. Every day I talk to him he tells me something new about how great Indians are, and how great Hinduism is. But, when an Indian call center calls him, he gets annoyed right away. So, even Indians in America get upset at Indian call center workers. He takes offense that they always have a fake American sounding name, and that they pretend to be in America. The words that come out of his mouth are, “Let’s be honest, what’s your real name Rocky? Is it Rakesh?, and where are you really located, you are not in Memphis — that is for sure”. Misrepresenting your location, having a fake name, and trying to push a product you don’t understand well is not flattering to my friend. Once again, honesty and good interaction skills are what sells.
My American Friend who Loves Indians
I have an American friend from a meditation group that I used to belong to. He loves Indians. Half of the people he knows are from India. He loves Indian food, culture, languages, and everything else you can think of that is Indian. He too gets annoyed that these call centers bother him and the workers have fake names and refuse to disclose their real locations. So, is the problem that people don’t like Indians? Americans like Indians, they just don’t usually like Indian call center workers for a long list of reasons.
American Stereotypes about Indians
Americans think that Iranians are terrorists, they are terrified of Pakistanis, and think that Arabs want to kill us all. These are all cultures that Americans can not tell apart from Indians. Dark skinned people, who wear strange clothing, have bizarre beliefs, and worship a scary god that is different from our god. You can explain to Americans that Allah is the same god that Jesus prayed to, but this fact will simply not register. But, the American stereotype of Indians is that they are GENTLE and INTELLIGENT — non-threatening. This group of exotic brown-skinned people is NOT out to get us — we can trust them — and they are amazing with computers too! But, this positive stereotype of Hindustanis — the new model-minority in America changes when we meet pushy call center workers who talk without listening, have fake names, fake locations, and fail to understand any of the prospective buyer’s concerns.
An example of an Indian who got ahead.
I know an Indian who got ahead — far ahead. He did multi-million dollar deals for decades and was one of the most sophisticated people in his industry. According to the philosophy of the North Indian Call Centers, he would have to be fair skinned, and have one of those “NEUTRAL” sounding accents, and throw his Indianness in the garbage to get ahead. The truth is that the Indians who try to de-Indianize themselves are making about 100 rupees per hour. This particular Indian who got ahead makes several crores (millions) on a bad year. He is very Indian, and at the same time very worldly — speaking five different languages flawlessly. He has a very typical South Indian accent, and he looks like a typical South Indian. He uses his real name, he never plays games about where he is located — which is never a constant. Breakfast in Singapore, lunch in Qatar, and dinner at Nariman point would be a typical day for him in his business. If this gentleman was the only person who you knew who was getting ahead, you might think that call center workers need to be MORE Indian and use their real name!
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