The tech industry has a lot of work to do in the fight for racial justice and equality. But while hiring black employees and other under-represented minorities in the field is crucial, there are subtler issues that need to be addressed, too. That includes reflecting on and changing the racially insensitive terminology that is commonplace throughout the industry, and there’s a growing movement of companies and independent developers that are trying to do just that.
Recently, GitHub announced it will change the term “Master repository” to “Main repository” due to the former term’s references to slavery, and will be abandoning the terms “whitelist” and “blacklist” to remove any racial connotations from their use. The changes will apply to all projects on the platform.
Github isn’t the only company leaving these words behind. Other organizations that have made similar pledges include:
Android Open Source Project (AOSP)
Curl (programming language)
Go (programming language)
The UK Government’s cybersecurity branch
This is just a small selection of organizations that have updated or are in the process of updating their terminology with neutral phrasing sans such overt racial references. Some groups began changing these terms years ago, but the numerous alternatives to terms like “Master” or “Slave” has made the transition slightly messier than expected—“Main and Secondary,” “Primary and Secondary,” “Master and Minion,” etc.