The Dartmouth Observer
Friday, June 04, 2004
A belated response to Prof. Vernon Takeshita
This comes by way of my old friend Vijay Rao '03, NOT ME. Please direct all comments to him.
I must take issue with Prof. Takeshita's attack of Trustee Rodgers' intentions. The issue is Dartmouth's definition of diversity, and it's clear that these two men disagree. However, Prof. Takeshita chooses to play the man, and not the ball, and attacks Rodgers and his company Cypress Semiconductor, charging both of racism. This is a serious charge, and Prof. Takeshita needs more than just innuendo and tales about "old Asian American guys" to justify it. Rodgers has defended himself against these charges elsewhere, and it makes no sense for me to go over them.
However, I do have something to add to this discussion, and it's in response to Prof. Takeshita's mischaracterization of what goes on with regards to temporary work visas like the H1-B program and the outsourcing of technical work to other countries. Prof. Takeshita is just plain wrong about these two phenomena. He says, "Getting special quotas for foreign workers, outsourcing jobs during times of rising American unemployment –-- what sort of example is set by Cypress Semiconductor?" This is shameful, especially for someone who's a professor. Professors and researchers at Dartmouth (and Tuck) have done studies and concluded that outsourcing services will be a long-term plus for our economy and will actually contribute to creating more and better jobs for Americans. I would encourage Prof. Takeshita to have a chat with Prof. Douglas Irwin of the Economics department who has written about the outsourcing issue. I have a feeling Prof. Irwin has spoken to more people about this than just a few "old Asian American guys."
And what about H1-Bs? Attracting highly-skilled people to the U.S. has long been accepted practice in the American corporate and academic worlds. How can a Dartmouth professor lament the influx of skilled foreign workers and not at the same time condemn the influx of talented foreign students to colleges like Dartmouth? After all, aren't these foreign students taking up spaces otherwise meant for American students. Oh wait, I'm sorry - Colleges know what's up with diversity and so it's ok for them to look outside the country. But the corporate world? We all know they're the bad guys are, right?
What gets my goat about all this is a very simple issue. Beneficiaries of welcoming work visa programs and services outsourcing initiatives are highly educated, motivated and enterprising young individuals from third-world countries trying to improve their lives and hitch a ride to the American dream. What business is it of Prof. Takeshita's or any other arm-chair intellectual to suggest, without basis, that this is hurting Americans, and then to somehow suggest that such practices are in fact racist? Such protectionist talk only hurts the poorest nations in the world, and continues a cycle of poverty and depravity. Is this what Prof. Takeshita really wants? If I were looking to affix the label of racist based just on suggestion and innuendo, I wouldn't need to say much else. Having met Prof. Takeshita and taken multiple classes with him as an undergrad, I know better. He should too.