The color of outsourcing

Some U.S.-based Indian techies have a big concern: a possible racial backlash against foreign-born workers.

I've received several private e-mails from Indians working in the U.S. since we began publishing the offshore outsourcing special on Tuesday. Their big concern: a possible racial backlash against foreign-born workers.

To their credit, the hired help in Washington has refrained from playing racial politics--so far, at least. But with more Americans worried about losing their jobs, all it takes is one demagogue to ignite an uproar.

Admittedly, my antennae aren't as sensitive to the nuances of this issue as someone from, say, Bangalore, working in San Mateo. But you have to ask whether there isn't some linkage between antiforeigner bias and the uproar over outsourcing, or the H-1B and L-1 visa programs. I don't recall a similar dust-up when U.S. computer companies opened up call centers and expanded their operations into Northern Europe a few years back. I'd be interested to hear your take on the topic.

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