More words

I wonder what proportion of the people who so busily argue that 'master', 'slave', 'blacklist' and so on could not possibly be offensive terms when used in computing are black?

In May 2020, Google reported that 3.7% of their employees and contractors were black. That number covers more than just programmers: it covers, presumably, cleaners and catering people for instance. Perhaps the proportion of black people is much higher among programmers ... don't be silly, of course it's not: it's lower. Well perhaps Google are particularly bad, but probably they're not: in 2016 only 8.6% of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer and information science were black. Apocryphally, things are even worse in open source projects: we know that only 1.5% of people who work on such projects are female: do you think the proportion of black people is much higher? Of course it's not.

Well: it's hard to know for sure in a world of pseudonymous trolls, but my guess is none of the people who claim so vigorously that use of language is not offensive to certain groups belong to those groups.

So, here's an idea: before making a claim about what a group of people find offensive or belittling why don't you ask some members if that group? Unless you don't actually like people in that group very much, of course.


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