Coders push back against offensive terminology

A number of organisations are leading the charge in getting offensive, exclusionary terminology removed from the computing world.

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Language matters. It demonstrates our values and has the power to make people feel part of – or excluded from – a community. Offensive terms should have no place in the language of computing, and yet today, they still do.

Terminology such as master and slave, black- and whitehat/list are still used throughout the coding world, leaving many people uncomfortable. Encouragingly however, we’re seeing more people stand up and say the impact of offensive, racist terminology like this shouldn’t be minimised, and that it’s a barrier to inclusivity that the industry needs to remove.

“Words that create an environment that’s less welcoming to a particular group of people, whether that be women, people of colour or any other marginalised group, ensure that those people are less represented in our industry,” says Deb Bryant, Senior Director, Open Source Program Office at Red Hat. “This makes us all poorer, denying ourselves the innovation, point of view and wisdom of entire sectors of the population.”

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