Daily used discriminating(?) words

Daily used discriminating(?) words

Gummibeer

Astroneer
Moderator
Local time
17:03
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,167
Pronouns
he/him

Hey all,

I've already started this discussion on Twitter - but because of tweet size it's not this easy there.

There are several words that are, potential, racist but still daily used.

Two words several already agree are whitelist and blacklist.
There's no real reason, no history why it has to be these colors/words.
Following the definition of blacklist and the fact that there's no real reason for "black" it's a conclusive guess that it's based on the people that were discriminated.

a list of people or things that are regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy and should be excluded or avoided.

So alternative words are allowlist and filterlist. Because these are this typical words in tech and the alternatives are not only not discriminating but also more inclusive it's definitely a change worth it for me! How about you?

-----

The next word I'm not sure about whitepaper.
Right now it's commonly used for releases containing recommendations and research results. Like "whitepaper: how to improve your Facebook" or similar, I bet you've seen them already.
Following it's history it's based on the whitebooks/whitepaper which was original the wording for political/diplomatic papers wrapped in a white envelope (some countries also used orange, blue or any other colored envelopes).
Again here's a guess that it's build on white supremacy because it was first used for the contract between Germany and Samoa islands.

Like already said I'm not sure about this! Do you think that this word should also be replaced? Or is it okay? One argument to replace it would also be to be more inclusive again. Research documents or similar would be clearer than whitepaper which assumes knowing exactly this word which is also not really translatable.

-----

Do you have more words you already replaced or want to or think should be discussed?

 

Mike Rees

Member
Local time
16:03
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
71

I don't like the replacement words for blacklist and whitelist. To be honest, I'd move away from the word list (and I'd probably opt for deny over filter) if we're moving away from the adjective prefix. They don't make grammatical sense.

I also don't see a need to rename whitepaper if its origins are well documented. If it's clear that they were talking about white envelopes then there's no reason to jump to the conclusion that it's white supremacy.

 

Gummibeer

Astroneer
Moderator
Local time
17:03
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,167
Pronouns
he/him

I don't like the replacement words for blacklist and whitelist. To be honest, I'd move away from the word list (and I'd probably opt for deny over filter)
The two were examples - deny is also a great replacement! Most times they are lists - like a word filter based on allow/deny lists. Or a deny list of trash mail domains.
And isn't it this most times that removing part of the word changes it's meaning? 🤔
I see it more that you can immediately use the prefix to talk about it's behavior. Instead of explaining that the whitelist is allowed you just can use this verb.

-----

I also don't see a need to rename whitepaper if its origins are well documented. If it's clear that they were talking about white envelopes then there's no reason to jump to the conclusion that it's white supremacy.
That's why I've opened the discussion for it and am not towards anything for myself.
The part that's missing is when/why it has switched from the diplomatic books to PDFs with research results.
But I see why you think that whitepaper is okay. For me the major argument for renaming it would be inclusion/accessibility.

 

kilian

Member
Gold Member
Local time
17:03
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
62
Pronouns
he/him

A good one most of the industry has moved away from are the "master"/"slave" terms, for e.g. database replication. instead, use primary/replica or leader/follower. Language evolves and I'm glad we're taking steps to be more inclusive as an industry.

 

Gummibeer

Astroneer
Moderator
Local time
17:03
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,167
Pronouns
he/him

A good one most of the industry has moved away from are the "master"/"slave" terms, for e.g. database replication. instead, use primary/replica or leader/follower. Language evolves and I'm glad we're taking steps to be more inclusive as an industry.
Yeah, that's true. During my training the master/slave was a very common wording.
For me it's the typical discrepancy between a group saying "we are so open/inclusive" and reality.
In tech this discrepancy starts with the need of a, own, computer. But for sure extends to common wording/phrasing and group behavior like having this elitary group of seniors excluding the new junior devs. Or possibly more common "let me do this" which always has a "you are too dumb" subline.

 

LividJay

Member
Local time
11:03
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
61

It never once crossed my mind that these would have anything to do with racism. I simply thought of them as good list/bad list and the colors black and white are like the dark and light in terms of good and evil, not skin color. I think it would also be difficult to do considering we've been using these terms for so long. I do often find myself already using "allow list" at times just randomly, though. I think "deny list" would also be acceptable. I don't really care, I guess. People find too many reasons to try and be angry.

 

Talia

Member
Local time
10:03
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
84

master/slave is the only one mentioned in this thread that I think is actually a good idea to change. White and black, or light and dark, being associated with good and bad respectively isn't based on race. But even if you could maybe make an argument for those terms being changed in some contexts, saying whitepaper could be a problematic term just seems silly to me, honestly.

I think being concerned with harmless language just leads people down a bad path. I'm not saying there isn't language that we should change, or is a good idea to change, but we shouldn't look for problems where there aren't any.

You could argue that maybe I'm being too lackadaisical, but I just don't want people to be afraid to use innocent terms that happen to include the word "white" because of fear that they might be racist.

 
Last edited:

CodeJunkie

New member
Local time
06:03
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
5

I can see how you could get that from whitelist/blacklist (if you reallyyy stretch), but I don't really see how whitelist and blacklist are actually bad..

White is the complete set of all colors... It's also represented with max values like 1, 100,255,FF, etc..
White is inclusive of 100% red, 100% green, 100% blue... You can say it's its exclusive of 0-99% red, 0-99% green, 0-99% blue

Black is a null set of all colors... It's represented with min values like 0,0,0,00, hahaha
Black is inclusive of 0% red, 0% green, 0% blue... You could say it's exclusive of 1-100% red, 1-100% green, 1-100% blue

So race aside, saying blacklist for the allow list is kind of backwards since all of it's representative values are falsy
and using whitelist for the disallow list is backwards since all of it's values are truthy

On top of that, let's say that the representations were defined in poor taste so we'll ignore them
If everything around you is dark (say pitch black dark), you can't see anything -> the blacklist can't see the resource
If everything around you is light (say sunlight), you can see everything -> the whitelist can see the resource

I personally think it's stretching to reach any conclusion that these words were defined and chosen in poor taste and while I don't really care if they're used or not, I don't think it should be frowned upon to use such words. After the fact of it's conception (even in poor taste) the word develops it's own, more specific meaning, especially when the word is used in practice for so long, it can't be taken as it's original constructors because it is literally not those, If it were, it wouldn't exist (even most English synonyms vary in their meaning by their extend, ex. content is synonyms with radiant, but radiant is much happier of the two)

--

The thing about language is that it is the form in which we communicate ideas and concepts to each other. Literally.

Free Speech in the US is such a huge deal because it means that you have the right to express/manifest yourself and your thoughts to others, without limitation and without alterations

Note: There are words you are allowed to used but should defer from, for example, the n-word, in the words of John Mulaney "it's so bad you can't even say it". (plus I could type it, but I'm not, because I don't have to for you to know exactly what word I'm talking about) -- Why can't we use that word?, because that word has been used and was exclusively used as a way to degrade and oppress someone of color because of that color. The difference is that blacklist has meaning not tied oppression at all, that's why it's just fine and dandy to use.

So the whitelist/blacklist words mean, literally, to allow or disallow a list of consumers

They don't mean anything against race, and I don't think they instill any prejudicial meaning against races...
Like if you read blacklist and subconsciously think that because of it's symbol, black people can be excluded... You're either reading too far into it, or you have some much bigger issues in this world other than those two words.

--

Now I think racism is bad and it would be better if everyone collectively decided to not be.
However you have to admit that people differ in values (it's the spaces in between cultures) so you can't compel all English speakers to adopt a form of restriction.

Let's imagine that I take offense to something you find quite alright, it would be pretty unjust of me and society to compel you to change your vocabulary.
It would not be right for me to require of you that you restrict your speech.
It would not be right of me to force you to not utter words to which you find not offensive...

Imagine saying something and someone gets offended, so you stop saying that.... But then everything you say will offend someone and what are you supposed to do? You can't stop speaking entirely, obviously.

So why am I going on this super long (and honestly excessive) tangent about free speech?

Well because you either have free speech or you don't. It's black and white (which is a phrase that by your own estimation is racist, even though it's representative of opposite colors (which is incredibly useful because people envision your words when you say them, and people see colors (mostly)))

I'm not giving in to change any part of my vocabulary to make anyone (white or black or pink or plaid) not/(un) offended.
If we were on twitter, the sentence above would be more than enough to cause many people to call me a racist. But I'm not a racist. So is the problem me and my words and their definitions? Or is it the ones assigning blame for feeling oppressed (or compelled to protect the oppressed (the overprotective, oedipus mother)).

--

Colors have meaning

It does not mean that persons' of a corresponding color are/or are meant to be treated like that meaning.

Psychologically speaking brighter colors are happier colors, it doesn't mean that it's racist or that the derivatives of those words are racist. It just means that throughout our development, light was generally a good thing and lighter things are more stimulating (helpful during evolutionary processes).

--

You know, discrimination is not always 100% necessarily bad.
You might be thinking "well that's kind of f'ed up isn't it".
And that makes sense, but I'm about to blow your mind.

What are you doing when you pick a significant other?
Like seriously, what EXACTLY are you doing?!?!?!?!?!

Depending on how picky you are this varies (though it doesn't vary that much)

Take Tinder, you swipe right on people sometimes based off their picture, sometimes based off their bio. Either way you're discriminating

Unattractive? Swipe left.
Boring bio? Swipe left.

There is potential with that person, and you explicitly say no.

But it's okay! It's okay to discriminate because you don't want to come home to an ugly, boring, incompetent, lazy husband/wife and be resentful for it.
You also don't want a super attractive yoga coach that is constantly off running while you read books (what would you even talk about? taxes?)

The left-ist view of that statement would be "well you shouldn't judge someone by their looks", and fine, but they're going to judge you based off your looks. So maybe you go on a date with someone you find attractive, but they're polar opposites from you, you're super introverted and they're super extroverted, or agreeable and disagreeable you won't go on another date because of who they are as a person. That's discrimination.

This isn't an excuse to be racist. But it is an example that takes something you find horrible and terrible (discrimination) and I turned it around so you could see a side of it that you never saw and never considered.

--

I'm part of a minority, Peruvian, I'm brown (light brown at that), our n-word was cholo.
I come from middle-class, and at my age I make an incredible living. I had to work a little harder because of my skin color but mostly because I was middle-class. But I'm okay with that! The alternative to that would be making a socialist country so I wouldn't have to work so hard, it turns out communism is much harder (for everyone) than upper class.

Life if rife with inequality, and that's because we're all different, we NOT all equal!
I'm not super social, I bet you can definitely beat me at that game. But I don't care!
I've had a sunburn twice in my entire life, I bet you can't beat me at that one. (not that you would care either)

People are black and brown and white.

  • brown and black people are frequently the minorities and feel alienated because most people around them are different (trust me I know, during highschool, my graduating class of 1500 students had fewer than 10 black persons and fewer than 40 brown persons). They need to look outward past it and identify with people for who they are, and stand up for themselves when they're being oppressed (appropriately of course, eye for an eye is not right).
  • white people have to be attacked anytime a person or group of persons of their race oppresses any other race or people for any reason ever. They need to do nothing because actually there's nothing wrong with them.. Other than being stereotyped and hated for no reason. It's so backwards.

People are tall and short.
  • tall people hit their heads and suffer from back pains earlier in life. They need to pay attention more and avoid lifting with their back
  • short people can't reach the top shelf. They need stools or tall people

People are fat and skinny.
  • fat people can't run quickly. They have work harder to move anywhere/everywhere.
  • skinny people can't fight with mass. They have to work harder and get some muscle to make up for it

--

My intent is not to tell you that you're meaning of these words are wrong.
My intent is to tell you my definitions and why, and to ask you to consider changing the way you view things.

When the only thing you have is a hammer, things start to look more like nails

When race is trending discussion, colors become trigger words

A screw is not a nail, and neither is the word blacklist

 
Last edited:

Gummibeer

Astroneer
Moderator
Local time
17:03
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,167
Pronouns
he/him

I'm happy to quote again the definition of blacklist by several dictionaries:

a list of people, countries, etc. who are considered by a particular authority or group to be unacceptable and who should be avoided and not trusted
- https://dictionary.cambridge.org/de/worterbuch/englisch/blacklist

A list of people or groups regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy and often marked down for punishment or execution; the term is recorded from the early 17th century.
- https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095510835

If someone is on a blacklist, they are seen by a government or other organization as being one of a number of people who cannot be trusted or who have done something wrong.
- https://www.collinsdictionary.com/de/worterbuch/englisch/blacklist

It's true that these two words are now used in tech for a long time without a discriminating meaning. But they are still special words that have to be explained and are not translatable.
And only because we've done it for a long time isn't a reason that we shouldn't change it.
And that there are several companies, organizations and single humans is an indicator that it's not this bad to replace it.
And it's not about a new law limiting the free speech! But independently decisions.

https://alexjs.com for example also suggests to replace both words.

 

CodeJunkie

New member
Local time
06:03
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
5

Definition 1: Nothing wrong with that definition..? It doesn't imply race at all. By that definition it could be applied to persons who kill people, or bird watchers.
Definition 2: Convenient of you to pick that particular dictionary, as the internet is not a fable, that definition does not apply. As it turns out the same word can have multiple definitions. For example, Sue. If one of the definitions was bad, does that mean we need to change all law books?
Definition 3: Again, not race based. Someone could be blacklisted from the military because they have a irresponsible past, race has not a single thing to do with that.

The thing is, the internet word "blacklist" is NOT the fable word "blacklist" because the LITERALLY have 2 different definitions. I will not be changing this word because someone out there will interpret my SAAS company as The gulag archipelago (a book that I highly suggest you read, as it outlines exactly how bad these radical ideas can go)

You think that it's just a simple word but it's not that far away from communist ideology. When you include EVERYONE and you respect EVERYONE, you include no one and you respect no one.

 

CodeJunkie

New member
Local time
06:03
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
5

-- also as far as an amount of people justifying the validity of the notion to restrict word use

YouTube has demonetized video containing curse words, in the sake of not offending.
That was a huge company making a huge mistake. Not that I love to curse but as it turns out, curse words have utility, they express extreme discomfort or feelings of aggression, those are real feelings and they have real words and rude or not, if you make a living of YouTube, you are oppressed to the max, you are restricted, you have no free speech, because there are words that will threaten your livelihood if spoken.

In the name of content creators, that's fucking ridiculous

 

CodeJunkie

New member
Local time
06:03
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
5

I really must go to bed now but real quick.
Master and Slave?

Someone owning and forcing work from someone.
Yeah, I agree, not great when it comes to people.

A server owning and forcing work from another server.
Fantastic! And you can call it what it is, exactly, Master and Slave. Because guess what! Computers don't have feelings and computer were made to do work fast.
Mr. Computer will gladly be a Slave, if it means you can have your redundant DB.

And seriously, who's getting offended by Master/Slave? My ancestors were slaves, but they weren't slave computers. Again, same spelling, two words (because that's actually what they are, technically, they are technically two separate words, with different meanings, that happen to be spelled the same).

 

Gummibeer

Astroneer
Moderator
Local time
17:03
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,167
Pronouns
he/him

I'm still repeating because it seems that everyone only discusses around these reasons.
Discriminating not racist - these are two different things. Inaccessible websites for example are also discriminating but for sure not racist.
And even if you don't agree with the discrimination there's still the inclusive argument. White-/Blacklist isn't inclusive because of it's different meanings, that it requires knowledge in used context, it's not translatable, you have to use one of the replacement words to explain it.
So why not use the more inclusive words directly?

And one of the biggest problems regarding discrimination is "I don't see it so it isn't". Free speech ends when it hurts someone else.

 

CodeJunkie

New member
Local time
06:03
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
5

And one of the biggest problems regarding discrimination is "I don't see it so it isn't". Free speech ends when it hurts someone else.

No it doesn't. That's what's so great about it.
In order to think, you have to be willing to risk being offensive-Jordan Peterson

I don't know what the exact situations are in Germany regarding free speech but in the US, we don't tolerate any restrictions as such is an impediment to our basic human rights.

My rights are your responsibility, literally, that's what they are.

So my right to free speech is your right to not oppress me for the choice of words I utter. And to your's the same. I'm just trying to make you see the bigger picture. Plus, an ill-informed user seeing white/black-list is not going to racial prejudice, unless they are explicitly looking for it, like your initial post.

 
Top