Shaun Sayers

Shaun Sayers

Last time it was South Africa’s Iain Muir, he of SAATCA, who used an impossibly racist graphic in a presentation on the ISO related training. In true “what do you mean apartheid’s over?” fashion, neither Muir nor his employers have seen fit to remove the graphic or address the issue, much less issue a public apology. Apparently since they don’t have Mexicans in South Africa, it’s okay to claim they are lazy, unemployed, illegally-voting, lying gun smugglers.

Then it was Daryl Guberman, the self-accredited ISO registrar and Kipling-quoting consultant who claims that IAF accreditation is bogus because  after all, we “don’t really know where those Indian doctors got their degrees from.” 

This week it’s Shaun Sayers, of the UK’s Capable People blog, and an official trainer for IRCA and IEMA. Over at LinkedIn, a woman asked a question related to verifying the credibility of ISO 9001 accreditation bodies. Out of the blue, Sayers chimed in with an assessment of Indian culture, in order to provide an example of how some countries tolerate poor CB/AB performance:

I’ m sure you are aware that Indians, generally, are unwilling to spend any more on a commodity than they have to.


The irony, natch, is that the original question was posed by an Indian, who clearly was asking about enforcing credibility, and was arguing against the very thing Sayers had just accused her entire race of doing.

I wrote to Sayers privately, pointing this out, and ending with “good thing this post wasn’t about Jews.” To which he wrote back, utterly tone deaf to both my sarcasm and the charge of racism:

… the local AB in India has little more credibility than the plethora of pseudo accreditation bodies that operate in India. Suggesting to her (as some have) that there is no harm, risk or downside in going with a locally accredited CB (albeit under the framework of the IAF) is not sound advice at all. You’d do that only if you couldn’t afford the alternative. The Indian market is a commodity market if ever there was one. If there was only marginal value in the expensive western accredited CB, nobody would take that option.

I suspect the poster knows this fine well, and is merely seeking affirmation.

I wrote him back and just called him a racist outright, at which point he requested I no longer message him, and then his posts — all of them — suddenly disappeared. In fact, his entire LinkedIn profile is now gone. It’s not clear at this point if he elected to flee, or if he was pushed out. I’m sure the post was flagged by quite a few others who found it racist.

Here’s the thing, though. The original poster did not “know this [sic] fine well” was not merrily “seeking affirmation” from some pasty, smug white guy.  She later posted:

You have misread about Indians… You check out the latest buyers list, we will be in the top 10 among the world. I agree that Indians look around and take wise decisions, as they don’t want themselves to be in trouble at a later stage. That doesn’t mean we all go for cheap products.

Sayers, meanwhile, alleges to be world-traveled and uses this point to prop up his credentials. What’s telling, however, is that despite all that world travel, he hasn’t learned squat about other cultures, and instead carries around a colonial philosophy that dates back to the Victorian Age, if not centuries prior. It also implies an impossible opposite theory, that non-Indian (read “white”) cultures love paying lots more for stuff, and that negotiation is an entirely Third World thing. Obviously, that’s hogwash.

It does give some additional context to the accusations he made about the cultures of other countries in this IRCA article (“… the vast majority are looking for a cheap and quick way…”.)  One wonders why, if he dislikes these unwashed, darker-toned countries so much, why does he spend so much time there? I’m betting it’s the color of their money.

So will CQI, IRCA or IEMA or any of his other partners or publishers distance themselves from these racist comments? Will Sayers offer an equally public apology?

Don’t hold your breath. We all  know those damn white people never admit when they are wrong.


About Christopher Paris

Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.


ISO 14001 Implementation