Does International Business Make Us More Racist, or More Aware?

Posted by Michael Michelini on Aug 10 2010

Coming back from Philippines to China, and just passed the border into hong kong and its always a sight….its kinda sad, but i don’t get in the line where there are africans or middle eastern….because almost definitely they are going to take longer to process…and almost 75% of the time have to be interrogated by border patrol supervisors, being my first situation to cover.

And coming to Hong Kong from the philippines, i always overhear the conversations from the border inspectors to the filipina woman, as this one below from tonight:

Hong Kong Inspector: “how long are you staying in Hong Kong?”
Filipina Woman: 2 weeks, sir
Hong Kong Inspector: Why are u coming to hong kong, no jobs in the philippines!??
Filipina Woman: No, to visit my sister
Hong Kong Inspector: You sure your not going here to find a job, to be a nanny
Filipina Woman: No sir, i miss my sister and i came to visit her
Hong Kong Inspector: Oh, so you can afford to take a personal vacation to hong kong!

That was all i was able to get before i stepped up in my line.

I almost feel guilty, showing my american passport while there’s an african businessman getting pulled into an interview office to be asked additional questions, or provide additional paperwork.

All because of where we are born, where we grew up…..which none of us have any control over at all….

And the other side of racism in international business…..seeing orders to various “high risk” countries. Second example is having your IP (computer location) matters when surfing on the internet, and banks and businesses flag certain customers or visitors interacting with the website – sometimes putting certain alrts, flags, or restrictions on the website.

As you have seen me complain so many times about Bank of America and paypal (everyone overseas HATES paypal overseas, they are constantly blocking payments, receiving money) are always monitoring the security of their systems and flags always go off with IPs changing for multiple logins.

And the third situation is the freelancer networks…if you hire a worker online, you can filter your results by location/country of applicants. some of my other business friends make jokes about the generalizations of certain cultures of people. Like in India…..they seem to push for money more urgently, faster in the cycle. And more frequently then others – which annoys the buyer of that service.

Sure, businesses and countries are just trying to protect themselves from terrorism, their domestic labor market, their client’s financial security. But in a way…its profiling different cultures and different races. But how else, that is the question.

Having been outside of USA 3 years now makes me less centralized on American business, and I remember myself and those I dealt with only thinking DOMESTIC, USA to USA business….not realizing there’s a big, big world out there. Being aware of these situations makes us better in business decisions, as well as life.

  • lammy

    i remember it was so easy to get a 10 yr us visa 2 yrs ago, with no questions asked really…

    tho while i got into canada, many more questions, but still alrite…

    also for england, not really a problem…just better to us a hk passport than BNO.

    the conversation u overheard’s pretty harsh…….never heard of it….esp as it happened in hk….

    yea, nth’s really fair on earth….we can only strike for what we can get the most out of the area, the class set…..somehow….

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    Sad, but true….borders are getting harder to pass rather then easier…..

    what a BMO ?

  • http://larrysalibra.com Larry Salibra

    BNO passport = British Overseas National. People who were born in Hong Kong before the return to China have it. Britain took right of abode in UK rights away from British Nationals born in Hong Kong (and other colonies?) basically because of a xenophobic fear that millions of Chinese (foreign) people would move to UK before the handover.
    —–
    The immigration system, while not fair to the individual, does have some logic to it. For example, the USA’s Visa Waiver Program (the ability to enter the USA without a visa), for example, is extended to countries that have 1) passport security (ie. corrupt officials aren’t issuing fake passports) and 2) have low refusal rates (<3%) for non-immigrant (tourist/business) visas. Hong Kong (ie people holding HKSAR passports) meets 1) but if i recall correctly is slightly above the 3% refusal rate so hasn't qualified yet.

    —-

    It is the system that makes a country high risk. People that live in developing countries need to reform their countries so that the rest of the world can trust the documents they issue (passports) and trust that if fraud or financial crime has been committed in their borders, there will be a mechanism for obtaining justice.

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    Larry,

    thanks for your thorough response….

    but to skip to the point – you think a 45 year old uneducated filipina mother is going to change the policies of the filipino government?

    i guess its a lose-lose situation…..

    why can’t we all just get a long

  • lammy

    larry, take out 2 ns fm my name is ur name hoho. anyways.

    yea, BNO’s the passport for me to get the 2 yr working visa in the uk. anyways, the plan prob has to b postponed. will c.

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    So LAmmy,you are delaying your europe trip?????? i guess that means ur gonna be a big party promoter in HK then

  • Lammy

    I’ll still go to Munich for Oktoberfest as tix is bought. Just now I’m planning to go for two weeks if I can then back to Hk n org partiessssss hohohhohoho

  • http://mikesblog.com mike

    ohh, so a shorter trip then expected, just gonna have to party that much harder

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About Mike

American internet dude living in China (since '07) helping western companies leverage Chinese social media for business.

Passionate for working with more like-minded internet entrepreneurs. Love international business & connecting, and working on ways to give hard working people global opportunities. (Read More...)

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