Removing racist terms in tech

Removing racist terms in tech

This post is purely to educate why we need to remove Racists terms in the IT industry and provides some alternate terms

I am not here to comment about the "Black Lives Matter" movement or the death of George Floyd

On May 25, 2020, A Guy Named George Floyd from Minneapolis USA was killed by a " White Police Officer " by knelt on Floyd's neck for about nine and a half minutes Which triggered a Nationwide protest which quickly turned into a movement(Black Lives Matter) & spread like a wildfire to other countries & continents all over the world.

That's when big companies like Google, Microsoft, Github stepped in and supported this movement by updating some of the basic language underpinning the industry, dropping terms that could be considered racially offensive, and replacing them with more neutral language. Terms like “blacklist” for malicious websites and “whitelist” for safe emails are being swapped out in favor of words with no mention of color.

When you really think about it, it’s just a weird way to describe something when you could just say, ‘exclude’ or ‘include’ — it’s just more precise

- said Gabriel Csapo, a senior software engineer at LinkedIn.

Does this matter?

Yes. Also no.

Language is important. The words we use have deep, subtle impacts. They reinforce beliefs, behaviors, and power structures.

Conversely, while it’s easy, it’s also a lower impact.

There’s a real danger that the collective tech industry will dust off its hands, look around and go, “Well, we did it! We stopped racism, y’all!” Nope, not even close.

If you think " renaming/removing words won't stop racist people being racist " then you are wrong.

Changing the language is symbolic. This is the first step in a journey of many.

World has faced many incidents like this before. but in this modern era, this has incident created a global outrage and every people has woken up to it. Let's not keep silent. Let's change ourselves & the way we write code. this could lead to something good in feature.

Alternative phrases

These are some Alternative phrases which could replace the existing Racists words that we use every day

“whitelist” and “blacklist”

  • Approved/Unapproved
  • Allowed/Blocked
  • Go/Stop
  • OK/Spam
  • allowlist/denylist

“master” and “slave”

  • primary/secondary
  • main/replica
  • initiator/target
  • requester/responder
  • controller/device
  • host/worker
  • host/proxy
  • leader/follower

You can mix-and-match these as desired, too. I personally like main and follower.

I have already started to rename my GitHub repos, doing my best to update old source codes. and making sure I don't use offensive terms

How about you? Share your thoughts in the comments.