Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Of Indians and Chinese

A faithful reader of the Financial Times, I was slightly put off by a tasteless remark in the article "Costly lesson for Indians in Australia" by Amy Kazmim, published on page 8 on 24 June 2009.

Ms. Kazmin reports that "her (Ms. Thakur, an Indian student's) first semester was spent in a disappointing accountancy course pushed hard by an agent but filled only with other students from India and China". (emphasis added)

The usage of "filled with" to refer to humans is bad enough, but the insinuation that it is sub-obtimal to have said filling done with Indians and Chinese is appalling. Would it have been better if there were lesser Chinese and more Scandinavians? The obvious implication is that the mere presence of Indians and Chinese, quite irrespective of intellectual ability or motivation, tends to lower the credibility and quality of a host academic institution, and is not on at all.

I hesitate to use the word "racist", but am not sure if Ms. Kazmin's opinion is entirely undeserving of that epithet.

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