This ad depicts “hidden” discrimination – calling only people from the Northeast!


At first glance this looks like an innocent, attractive advertisement for jobs on a cruise liner. Careful scrutiny highlights the words "North East"… and a more thorough examination focuses on their critical requirement "people from the North East working in and around Mumbai".

If the ad was published in the Northeast, it would not have got my antennae up. Many ads in local newspapers read "For the first time in the Northeast…" or even "Calling North East India…" as this one does.

Given that this ad is targeted for Mumbai, it definitely grabs my attention for its subtle discriminating tone. And do correct me if I am wrong but I haven't ever seen any ads calling for people from North India, or South or West India.

"To encourage diversity in our crew" is what the text reads and I appreciate the endeavour but diversity cannot be sought through profiling. Definitely not racial profiling…that too in a country that is anyway dealing with cases of discrimination against people from the Northeast.

The ad however, generalizes (or discriminates) when it calls for people from the Northeast who work in hotels, restaurants and airlines. There is an unspoken notion here (and in many parts of India) that people from the Northeast are better suited to the service sector. Brilliant. But this speaks of the unspoken requirement is for staff to wait at Chinese restaurants and Thai spas.

I would hate to see ads calling for people from the North to become bouncers at bars or people from the South for appear in fairness cream ads. But I doubt I will ever see that for that would mean the end of discrimination!

(This is the personal opinion of a contributor who has asked to remain anonymous)