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[Slashdot] - Tech Terms Face Scrutiny Amid Anti-Racism Efforts

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Apple, Google, Microsoft and other Big Tech companies have stepped up their comments on the need for racial justice amid the Black Lives Matter protests that have gripped the US for the past two weeks. Now, a growing group of technologists say the language of the industry itself needs to change in order to fight racism. From a report: The terms "master" and "slave," used to describe the relationships between two computer hard drives and or between two camera flashes, have come under scrutiny because of their association with America's history of slavery. Similarly, "whitelist" and "blacklist," terms for allowing and denying access to a service, are being revisited because of their potentially racial overtones. "I refuse to use 'whitelist'/'blacklist' or 'master'/'slave' terminology for computers. Join me. Words matter," tweeted Leah Culver, co-founder of the Breaker podcast app and a co-author of the widely used OAuth signon technology. More than 16,000 people liked her tweet. Photographer Theresa Bear expressed a similar sentiment on the PetaPixel photo site, writing that it's time to "make way for our black community" by banishing the use of "master" and "slave" to refer to how flashes are controlled. "Can you imagine being on set with a black human and the photographer yells to the assistant, 'Hey, can you put it on slave mode?'" Bear asked. Other terms proposed for sunsetting include "white hat" and "black hat," with "ethical" and "unethical" suggested as replacements.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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