Indians` Call Center Trauma
November 18, 2005, 01:53 AM
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Leave it to the San Francisco Chronicle to publish a one-sided article about the poor Indian call-center workers suffering "trauma" because of rude Americans ringing up. ["Outsourcing outrage: Indian call-center workers suffer abuse"]

Noida, India — While irate calls are a mainstay of customer service work in any country, many Indian call-center workers say they regularly face particular abuse from Americans, whose tantrums are sometimes racist and often inspired by anger over outsourcing.

Getting downsized can mean the loss of a car, a house, college education for the kids, along with stress that can end marriages. There is often no replacement position that pays a middle-class salary.

But the Chronicle is full of sympathy for Indians hearing a few harsh words rather than for many thousands of nearby citizens around Silicon Valley who have lost their entire livelihoods.

Furthermore, the Chron carps about Americans' "racism" against Indians, but the nastiest epithet in the article is "rat eater." That sounds more like a John Waters film than a racist insult.

And just how polite should a person be to Indians who are impersonating Americans?

Agents typically adopt anglicized names, undergo "accent neutralization" and U.S. cultural training, and sometimes claim to be located in the United States.

The normal politeness our moms taught us doesn't seem appropriate in situations of such insulting falsehood.

It's no wonder that the Chronicle's sales are dropping like a rock, with the paper posting a 16.4 percent circulation loss for the six-month period ending Sept. 30. Insulting a chunk of your readership is not good business, even in San Francisco.