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[flagged] The Go Language was rid of blacklist/whitelist and master/slave (googlesource.com)
79 points by itvision 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 177 comments



This is just stupid. Words are polysemic, they have multiple meanings depending on their context, but more importantly they don't have any meaning outside any context. Words are offensive because their context is offensive. If you don't change the context, you don't solve the problem.

I've never thought master/slave offensive in the context of computers. Those words imposed their inoffensive meaning in the culture of computer users for half a century. Now they just ruined it, they actually changed the context to make those words offensive again. Sometimes you just have to fight the cultural battle.


Definitely. And "blacklist"/"whitelist" is used for a lot of contexts outside computing that have, to my understanding, not even a historic relation to racism:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacklisting#Origins_of_the_...

What's next, blackboards and whiteboards? What about red-black trees? Do we really need to shuffle around well established non-offensive terms just because they have a color in their names?

If there was some truly offensive embedding in our nomenclature im all for removing it but this seems like a silly PR stunt. We're turning completely benign ideas into something offensive.


I agree that the context determines the intent to offend but I think some words may be offensive or at least distracting to some despite the context.

If you have seen a word used in a certain context enough it can become difficult to ignore that context in other uses. Similarly, after watching an actor play a role well it may be hard to separate them from that role while watching other movies.

It may also be useful to imagine master/slave replaced with words that are offensive to you to imagine what it’s like for someone else. For example, if they were called pimp/bitch servers I’m sure others would find that offensive.

Different sets of words will be offensive to different individuals. I’m sure we could find 2 words which are less offensive to all.


Very well said! I might add, some people seem to look for things to get offended by just to bamboozle others into thinking they deserve special treatment and as a result, gain some political power.


Good for them! When it was first pointed out to me that these terms feel harmful for many, I rolled my eyes a little bit. But after thinking about it for a while, a few things became clear:

(1) There's no particular reason to start using the terms in a new project

(2) Leader/follower is much more accurate and clear than master/slave in basically every way

(3) It's a lot less difficult than I originally thought to fix legacy docs and code with nicer language

(4) The fact that master/slave has never bothered me personally has absolutely zero bearing on whether I should support their continued use.


Well, there is one drawback I can think of: they are well established terms that have a very specific meaning on an engineering context.

I agree that "leader/follower" might be easier to grasp for someone who has never encountered these terms before, but it is also true that it causes a bit of confusion for more experienced engineers.

For example: if I am reading documentation about a hardware controller and find the "leader/follower" terms I would wonder (and, in fact, this has happened to me in the past) if they have the same meaning as "master/slave" or if the author has decided to use these other terms because there is some particular behavior quirk that applies to this hardware that I should be aware of.

All in all, you have to compare cons and pros and, for this particular context (engineering), I think correctness and lack of ambiguity is more important than "feelings"... but this is (obviously) just my personal opinion.


It isn’t clear to me that master/slave has a specific meaning. For instance in the DNS world, it's better to talk about read-replicas, public authoritative servers, update servers, zone transfer servers, DNSSEC signers, etc. - the nuances aren't captured by a primary/secondary distinction. The old master/slave terminology is badly misleading since the DNS protocol doesn't allow the master to command the slaves to do anything: in the DNS it's the slaves that make the demands. (BIND now supports primary/secondary in its configuration though there are parts that still require the old words.)


> it is also true that it causes a bit of confusion for more experienced engineers.

Experienced engineers are used to handling new and changing terminology. It’s the nature of the job.


This is a ridiculous and sad move. We are living in 1984 a bit more every day.

Master/slave was chosen on purpose because it is very clear, clearer than the alternative you suggest, and is no more offending that using Knight, gladiator, etc.

Sometimes we must realise that an issue lies with the people who are offended by anything and everything, not with what offends them.


The language of 1984 was meant to euphemize to the point of inverted meaning.

Master/slave hasn't made sense since consensus algorithms came on the scene and started "taking leadership"


A consensus algorithm isn't master/slave hence the different terminology.

Master/slave is a very clear analogy and is used extensively for example about hardware interfaces.

The point here is the same as in 1984. It is aimed at suppressing 'incorrect' thoughts. It is totalitarian and we see society moving that way more and more.


Changing some terminology is totalitarian and oppressive? Give me a break.


Language is expression and offense is subjective. Forcing people to change their language is bordering on totalitarian control and is usually followed by compounding changes and eventually physical force. This is a single software project but it's the same when scaled up to an entire state.

There are a million terms that have negative connotations but are used in technical jargon. It would be endless to account for them all in case someone somewhere finds it disagreeable.

It's much more logical to ask why 0.1% of people are taking offense and seem to draw such stretched interpretations rather than asking 99.9% of people to change for them.


I initially rolled my eyes too, but if there's one thing I learned in the last two weeks is that you can't "imagine" how something is perceived by a member of a persecuted minority. No amount of thought experimentation can reproduce a lifetime of experiences that hurt your self-worth.

That said, leader/follower and allowlist/blocklist are both better than the older terms in every way. The represent the actual mechanisms better and they're less metaphorical.


That’s absolutely false. It’s gatekeeping, pure and simple.

I’m a guy, so I can’t imagine the pain of pregnancy? I had a large kidney stone once. The female doctor who had two children of her own told me that I experienced was more painful by a good bit than a pregnancy.

I’m also Hispanic, from a super high crime rate country. You think I don’t know what fear is, fear of random government kidnappings, fear of cartel kidnappings? Trust me, I do. Racism? Check. Genocide? Check.

Now should I be able to tell my white friends they can’t imagine what I’ve felt? Bullshit. I suppose SpaceX couldn’t imagine a self landing rocket either. They absolutely can imagine it.

Maybe some people can’t imagine it. Maybe some people are so closed off they really can’t try to put themselves in that position. But everyone? Nah.

It used to be guys were told they couldn’t imagine what it was like being a woman. It was their reserved space, so the gatekeepers claimed. Then trans became more of a thing. Suddenly it was politically incorrect to say these guys couldn’t imagine being a woman when they had been thinking about it for years.


Lol still not sure if you 'for' or 'against' the changes?


I don't think the poster is even addressing that, they're instead addressing the gate keeping mentality of the poster they replied to.


> Leader/follower is much more accurate and clear than master/slave in basically every way

Not for me. A master is to me much more controlling than a leader. A follower is to me much more independent than a slave.

Again, take say i2c where the master is the only one who can initiate a transaction. Being an "i2c follower" doesn't convey to me that the follower is prohibited from initiating a transaction.

The controller/worker suggest by others is much better than leader/follower, but "worker" doesn't work very well in all cases IMO.


Agreed. Manager/worker work better for me.


"Leader" == "Führer" could be constructed as offensive in Germany, if you are motivated enough. Should we accuse Google of cultural imperialism? Antisemitism?

Also, when I'm working in a corporate hierarchy, I don't want to see the words "leader" and "follower" all day. But perhaps that is an intended side effect of that change.


It's still a word that people use alone and in compounded forms, and Germans only avoid its use use it in a political context.


Wow I 'm not german... but man... I can imagine all hell breaking down in our offices if came running in yelling to everyone The "Führer is DOWN"


[flagged]


To be clear, I'm in support of fixing these terms. But paper is usually white. The term whitespace came from referencing the space on paper without ink on it. The color white DOES exist outside of skin, and has many uses.


He's just trolling. No need to respond.


I'm not sure why you said that. I'm serious. Words do matter. Please get your facts straight.


Not to mention that the default background color on the web is white.


>whitespace, black hole, blackbody radiation, white noise

I don't think these are fair comparisons. In "blacklist" and "whitelist" there is clearly an association black = negative and white = positive. That is something that should be corrected.

In "blackbody" and "black hole" the modifier "black" corresponds exactly to the ordinary meaning of the word "black" in English: it absorbs light. In "white noise" we again correspond closely to the usual understanding of white light. "Whitespace" comes from the usual color of paper, which is the original medium for typesetting. None of these terms indicates a value judgment.


I get master/slave being potentially offensive if you apply it to history, but blacklist/whitelist etymology was never related to race at all. Blacklist seems to come from a more religious perspective with people without good souls being empty or black inside.

If people actually find it offensive then by all means change it. However I wonder if people read too much into thing sometimes.


I started replacing master/slave with primary/secondary in my code 20 years ago. I was never happy with the terminology (been programming for over 30 years now, didn't like it what when I was 14, still don't like it at 44).

As for blacklist/whitelist, my first thought was that I'd change it to allowlist/blocklist and sure enough that's exactly what they did.

There's nothing wrong with this change. If you have a problem with it you need to look deep inside yourself and reexamine your own biases. That's where the real problem lies.


> I was never happy with the terminology

> If you have a problem with it you need to look deep inside yourself and reexamine your own biases. That's where the real problem lies.

So if you are not happy with established terminology you change it but if someone else is not happy with the change he is biased?

There are valid reason to be bothered by the change itself, even if the new words are OK. For 1) from the leadership, it is intellectually weak/calculating and fear-based appeasement move to a vocal extremist ideology group; there was nothing wrong with those terms in those contexts. For 2) the change and the associated power play has divisive and desintegrative effect on the project. For 3) it is a nasty manipulation of decent people, unaware of the political power game that is the real motivation behind these calls for new, better terms.


> I started replacing master/slave with primary/secondary in my code 20 years ago.

But primary/secondary doesn't mean the same as master/slave.

Consider master/slave from say i2c protocol. Switching to primary/secondary would completely obscure what is going on, you might as well call them apple/orange, while with master and slave it is very clear.


> Switching to primary/secondary would completely obscure what is going on, you might as well call them apple/orange, while with master and slave it is very clear.

This meaning for master and slave is not clear at all. It’s merely familiar to you.


You could say that about anything. Most common jargon already have a clear meaning.

Primary/secondary has a clear meaning to me, same with leader/follower. Both are very different from master/slave.

I'm not saying we must at all cost continue to use master/slave, I'm not married to that piece of language. But I'm struggling to find cases where primary/secondary would be a good replacement for master/slave. That's assuming master/slave was a good fit in the first place.


> You could say that about anything.

Yes, you could.


But even there you have a problem with the conceptual terminology.

A master controls slaves using through ownership and punishment. In computing that ownership aspect is usually very weak or not even relevant to the task at hand. I2C is a good example. Its about who controls the bus. So for "control" plenty of other concepts are applicable and likely more accurate. Since when does I2C need to punish? A little in / all in: if you want the concept use the entirety of the concept. But really you don't need to. Its actually unnecessary.

Supervisor/worker etc etc. Plenty of more accurate concepts exist without even needing particularly politically correct angles. Even Controller/controllee could work. I'm sure Head Ewok / lesser ewok might work as well if you want to go too far.

The resulting binary as presented to the processor is likely not particularly impacted. Isn’t that the real purpose of most code?


Would leader/follower work in this context? I find it difficult to think of a context where they aren't similar enough to be replacements.

Sure you can nitpick about how strict the leader/follower relationship is, but master/slave doesn't necessarily tell you that accurately either.


In the bus protocol context of master vs slave:

Some combination of bus-controller works ok, bus-arbiter, or bus-writer vs bus-reader or bus-listener, or bus-consumer.

We also have the idea of having two units 'slaved' together. Which I guess would just be 'synced' or 'chained' though 'chaining' in this case is still probably the same metaphor as 'slave'.

Overall I'm not so big on these sorts of efforts. The euphemism treadmill has been going on forever with little apparent impact on the underlying inequities of the world.

To me it feels like the act of changing the language is a way to feel good about doing something without actually doing the hard work of changing the actual beliefs and actions of racism.

That said I don't think it matters all that much: terminology falls in to and out of fashion all the time, and we end up forgetting where most of it comes from (which could be used as an argument for either side).

So uhh long-live whatever!


The changes in code in this case concerned the terminal package, which was changed from 'master/slave' to 'pty/procTTY', which are more accurate terms.


I replied to the part I quoted.

The renaming from master/slave to pty/procTTY might be a good change in that specific case.


I'm conflicted about this, because on one hand I don't enjoy Americans exporting their notion of racism (which is historically loaded and makes sense only in the context of US history), on the other hand I'm writing this on an American site using software developed mostly by Americans etc.

So I guess it's "take it or leave it".


Yes, I think it's important to remember - both for American as well as outsiders - that racism-related notions are different and sometimes are completely alien in other countries/cultures. For example, some Americans believe that racism doesn't include prejudices towards the dominant "race"/ethnicity, and find it offensive to even suggest that it might be so (some even invented the term "inverse racism" for that). For example, the racist implications of painting one's face black are so alien in other cultures that every few years there is a big storm about someone doing blackface in Europe, having no idea it will offend Americans (recently it was Gigi Hadid in Vogue Italy).

For example, as an European, when someone says "slave", I immediately think about ancient Rome. To think that in the USA you had slaves only recently always strikes me as really strange. To say nothing about the segregation period quite recently.

In any case, I still wonder: you can remove these words from software and try to banish their current metaphorical usage. But will it really make a difference to your history? These seems like nervous attempts at "making everything right" in a situation where no right can be made - at least there is no easy way to do so.


> Americans believe that racism doesn't include prejudices towards the dominant "race"/ethnicity, and find it offensive to even suggest that it might be so

Ah, the good old "you can't be racist towards white people" mantra. As an example, all of ex-Yugoslavia would like to disagree.

> But will it really make a difference to your history? These seems like nervous attempts at "making everything right" in a situation where no right can be made - at least there is no easy way to do so.

And worst, sometimes these precautions are used by corporations who mean no good other than signalling wokeness to turn up a profit.


The argument is that "racism" is not simply discrimination on the basis of race but rather that racism requires structural and systemic bias against an ethnic, racial, religious, etc. subgroup of the population who do not have political power.

As such, you can therefore talk about the racism of the English towards the Irish, even though both are considered "white" by modern standards (though at that time, the English prided themselves as being in the "Anglo-Saxon" race).

And you can certainly use that framework to talk about the genocide of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats targeted by the Bosnian Serbs with who had local power in the areas controlled by the Army of Republika Srpska.

So to summarize the argument as "you can't be racist towards white people" comes across as a complete misunderstanding of the actual argument.

It's certainly possible for someone who self-identifies as "white" to be discriminated against on the basis of race. But if you want to also call that "racist" then what term do you use for something like Jim Crow laws in the US or apartheid South Africa where racism was truly and without doubt systemic?


Missing the point. In the examples above, the ideology would say it would be impossible for the Irish to be racist against the English.

Unless the definition of racism was based on bigotry, intolerance, prejudice and stereotypes based on race which is how the majority of the world understands it. This also includes the possibility for whites to be racist against whites, and allows systems to be racist. it's actually a more encompassing definition.


I don't think I'm missing the point. I think the argument is that "racist" should be reserved for systemic racism, in which case the Irish under English rule could not be racist against the English.

They could be prejudiced, discriminatory, Anglophobic, and more. But not racist.

That you - and yes, many others - disagree with that argument doesn't make it fundamentally wrong in the way that can flippantly be rejected by "of course people can be racist against whites."

The definition I gave includes the possibility for whites to be racist against whites .. though "white" is such a nebulous term. Would the 1800s Irish or English call themselves "white"? The latter preferred "Anglo-Saxon race", for example. See my parallel comment at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23449545 .


> That you - and yes, many others - disagree with that argument doesn't make it fundamentally wrong in the way

No, it's fundamentally wrong because only a minority of people use it in this way. Check a dictionary.


This is new to me, too. It seems like we're overloading an existing term with a new meaning that is foreign to anyone over the age of 30..?


It's very possibly deliberate in order to manufacture consent. I mean, who born in the past 40 years be "for" racism or sexism as traditionally defined?

But for the past decade or two, sexism and racism have been taught in universities as "systemic sexism/racism" rather than the classical meaning. If you've seen any debate online about academia "indoctrinating" youth, and creating "social justice warriors", this is basically what they're referring to.

So now anyone that doesn't immediately accept these newly moved goalposts is themselves a racist or a sexist. This has obviously led to quite a degradation in social discourse.


It's hard to see how playing such games with human language can possibly lead to improved discourse. The various camps aren't even speaking the same language anymore. Not sure how we recover from that.


The intent is to put the supposedly uneducated individual off balance. Personally I find the tactic to be manipulative and outside the realm of good intentioned debate. By turning the issue away from racism and towards ™the system" it unites smaller groups together under one cause while disarming the fragmented majority. This gets intermingled with the idea that if you are not the correct skin color or gender you don't get to speak your opinion on certain topics. There is also what I would call a puritanical desire to immediately "other-ize" people who deviate in the slightest from accepted line of thought: they are publicly shamed and expunged from the group. It is baffling to watch.

As someone else pointed out on this page, whomever came up with identity politics is a Machiavellian genius.


If your argument is true, then that means it's easily countered (by anyone with any education on the topic) by saying something like "you and a small minority of others have decided to re-define racism in a manipulate way that favors your viewpoint. I reject that a-historical revisionism."

Since that doesn't happen, it means one of two things: 1) most individuals are actually uneducated about the debate, or 2) it's not actually a re-definition.

My (admittedly light) reading of the scholarly literature says that "racism" generally requires some sort of power imbalance, suggesting that it's #2, which further suggests your interpretation isn't correct.

I don't know what you mean by "not the correct skin color or gender you don't get to speak your opinion on certain topics". Could you explain further, perhaps with examples?

Identity polities is indeed Machiavellian genius. It's as old as the Bible. I think the current form in the US has its roots in European colonialism, where a small number of foreigners managed to convince a larger minority of a foreign country to act as their muscle. (Eg, the origins of the Rwandan genocide because of German racial theory which place the Tutsi over the Hutu, or the techniques the English used to rule India.)

The early US history starts with the colonialist views (English but also Spanish) of superiority over the indigenous peoples. The current white/black identity polities started in the early 1800s when white supremacist ideas grew as a response to the abolitionist movement. After the Civil War, it developed further as a way to keep poor whites in line with the power structure of rich whites, rather than their black and free economic brothers and sisters. "Better poor than black."

I therefore don't think it can be pinned to any one person, but like I said, my knowledge isn't that deep.


> It's hard to see how playing such games with human language can possibly lead to improved discourse.

They don't believe discourse changes society, they think change necessarily follows conflict. "Conflict" is taken too literally IMO, but I suppose we'll see.


> It's hard to see how playing such games with human language can possibly lead to improved discourse

The goal isn’t to improve discourse, the goal is for Us to beat Them, even if we do it by redefining the word “beat” :(


Who is "Us" and "Them"?

If "Us" is "those fighting against centuries of race-based oppression" and "Them" is "those who benefit from the current racist system so much they even refuse to acknowledge the continuing racism" and "beat" is the creation of a new system of racial justice and equality then I agree with you 100%.


Essentially the same argument was used to complain about switching away from "Negro".

One way to recover is to try to understand the argument and reject it on its own terms, rather than call it a mantra.


> The argument is that "racism" is not simply discrimination on the basis of race but rather that racism requires structural and systemic bias against an ethnic, racial, religious, etc. subgroup of the population who do not have political power.

Nope, this is precisely the modernized, bastardized, wokenized definition of racism which gives ground to the "can't be racist against whites" because, in this narrative, "whites are in power". Which is so wrong and so tied to a specific point in the history of the US that I am wondering if you re-read your comment before posting.

The bosnian genocide was mostly a military coup. There's no structural and systemic bias in place here.


I interpret the issue as "racism" being used too broadly, such that a minor snub for "being white" is called racist, while sundowner towns and other Jim Crow laws are also called racist. It doesn't make much sense to lump them together.

We have "murder" and "manslaughter" - two forms of homicide. Wikipedia tells me the distinction goes back to at least the 7th century BC.

In US law, both have multiple nuances; first- and second-degree murder, and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

I interpret the argument as wanting to reserve "racist" for systemic and institutional racism.

We already have other terms we can use. For example, the law talks about discrimination on the basis of race and color as well as national origin, sex, or religion.

So, why not use "discrimination on the basis of race" or "racial discrimination" for the non-systemic kind, and reserve "racist" for the systemic one?

Even better, there's no reason to use "reverse discrimination on the basis of race" because that's identical to "discrimination on the basis of race."

FWIW, in my understanding of the issue, as I described above, I'm perfectly fine describing the US treatment of Mormons as racist - "white-on-white" racism - being also highly aware that Mormon religion was itself highly racist against blacks.

But the concept of "can't be racist against whites" isn't meaningful for even 100 years ago, because "whiteness" is such a slippery social construct. Finns were racially discriminated against, as the "Finnish race", and derogatorily called a China Swede, even though in the modern sense they are very "white".

As for "mostly a military coup" ... a genocide is by definition affecting a protected group - more specifically a national, racial, ethical and religious group. All of those are also protected groups under US anti-discrimination law.

If you want to argue that racism should be treated as a broad term, then genocide is a type of racism.

If you are arguing that my definition is wrong - congratulations. I'm a programmer, with only a lay understanding of the topic. My point wasn't to give an exactly correct definition but to point out an apparently deep misunderstanding of the issue at hand.


> So, why not use "discrimination on the basis of race" or "racial discrimination" for the non-systemic kind, and reserve "racist" for the systemic one?

Because it is already the other way around, why swap definitions to create more confusion? "racism" is broadly the discrimination on the basis of race. Any nuance should get a new definition. Period.


Do you still believe that "you can't be racist towards white people" is a mantra? Or do you accept that perhaps the issue is one of differing definitions?

I don't understand what "the other way around" means. What's an example of something which is racist but not racial discrimination? [1]

If you instead see them as synonyms, why not personally use "racial discrimination" knowing that it's the definition with less diversity in interpretation?

FWIW, US law doesn't seem to use the term "racist" or "racism" but does use the terms "discrimination on the basis of race" and "racial discrimination", which I interpret as meaning that those terms are more well defined.

[1] Here's my thought experiment. The US Constitution requires that racial discrimination be allowed in some circumstances, such as private clubs. I find that I prefer to say that the Constitution allows some racial discrimination, rather than saying that the Constitution allows some racism. Which makes me think that "racism" is an emotionally stronger and more specific term than "racial discrimination."


Racism implies motive, discrimination implies action (of which racism is one motive e.g. mysogyny, agism). One of these is easier to prove and prosecute.


If an image-recognition algorithm training set omits black faces and results in black people being labelled "ape", is that racism?

If so, what's the motive?

If not, what term would you use?


> But if you want to also call that "racist" then what term do you use for something like Jim Crow laws in the US or apartheid South Africa where racism was truly and without doubt systemic?

Being racist has nothing to do with laws or power structure. It is believing that people of some other race are inferior.

Racism supported by laws/government is called ultra-right-wing state, nationalism, segregation, apartheid.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism :

> Today, some scholars of racism prefer to use the concept in the plural racisms, in order to emphasize its many different forms that do not easily fall under a single definition. ...

> Garner (2009: p. 11) summarizes different existing definitions of racism and identifies three common elements contained in those definitions of racism. First, a historical, hierarchical power relationship between groups; second, a set of ideas (an ideology) about racial differences; and, third, discriminatory actions (practices).

Your "believing that people of some other race are inferior" falls under the second of those three.

But compare your "nothing to do with laws or power structure" with "historical, hierarchical power relationship". Clearly there are different definitions.

On the same page:

> Scholars also commonly define racism not only in terms of individual prejudice, but also in terms of a power structure that protects the interests of the dominant culture and actively discriminates against ethnic minorities. From this perspective, while members of ethnic minorities may be prejudiced against members of the dominant culture, they lack the political and economic power to actively oppress them, and they are therefore not practicing "racism".

Which leads us back to the reason I joined this thread in the first place - that perspective was dismissively summarized earlier as the '"you can't be racist towards white people" mantra.'


The quote says there are different existing definitions of racism. I agree with that statement.

I don't agree that your definition of racism is useful to discussion. It is a redefinition that confuses people into false and harmful beliefs, such as the idea that "people of oppressed minority race cannot be racial oppresors" or the idea that "an action/belief against white majority cannot be racist".


While you don't agree with the quote about how the scholarly definition requires an imbalanced power structure.

What are the false and harmful beliefs?

More specifically, what are some examples of an oppressed minority race becoming racial oppressors while still being subordinate in the power structure? How are they able to oppress with little political and economic power to do the oppression?

What are examples of where it's important to say that an action against a white majority is "racist" when we cannot equally well say it's "racially discriminatory" or "racially bigoted" or other terms?

Yes, there are many terms with differing definitions. We need only look at the differing definitions and understanding of what "rape" means. (Or the "evolution is only a theory" crowd.)

But that doesn't mean (going way back to how I entered this thread) that it's correct to describe this more scholarly-based interpretation as 'the good old "you can't be racist towards white people" mantra'.


> what are some examples of an oppressed minority race becoming racial oppressors while still being subordinate in the power structure?

If minority is a requirement, then some examples are:

1) Jewish Nazi collaborators killing Jews, 2) Black gangsters killing black people 3) black/latin-american SJW agents manipulating authorities for more discrimination and cancelling of their white enemies.

> How are they able to oppress with little political and economic power to do the oppression?

In cases 1),3) by having elevated power granted and supported by even more powerful groups. In case 2) they are organized violent people with guns - they have substantial power.


[I haven't repeated this disclaimer recently enough. "Race" is a sociological construct with no biological meaning.]

1) Apartheid South Africa gave special status to Japanese people - honorary whites. This doesn't mean that the Japanese people could control their own status; it was a special status given to them by the white supremacists who wanted Japanese trade deals.

Similarly, your 1) is for people were granted special privileges by the racist Christian Germans because of the services rendered for the racist power structure.

But the racist power originated from those Christian Germans, not Jewish Germans.

So, great, you've discovered that some black slaves avoided whippings by helping their white slave masters keep the other slaves in line. With as much sarcasm as I can muster: If only those black slaves hadn't been so racist.

2) How is this racism, any more than white gangsters killing white people? So if a black business owner shortchanges a black customer, that's also racism?

3) Are you effing kidding me?

Everyone who is outraged at, angry with, or otherwise against the police violence against black people is an SJW.

I am an SJW. 60% of Americans believe that ’Racism is built into American society. The assumption of white superiority pervades schools, business, housing, and government.’ according to a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll. 52% agree that "President Trump is a racist." The majority of Americans are SJWs.

If you are not outraged .. why not?

Drop the nonsensical "SJW" rhetorical label. Demand social justice and equality.

Now, back to 3) By "example" I don't mean some abstract story. Because I remember the lying stories Republicans used about black welfare queens in order to harness good old American racism to shrink our social safety net.

"Agents"? How sinister! You know you could have left it as "SJWs", right?

Your terms have been so over-used by right-wing extremists that they have acquired new meanings.

Your "more discrimination" comes across like those people who insist that "feminism" means not "gender equality in the public sphere" but wrongly that "women should be in charge, and men should be hated."

While your "cancelling" bring to mind all those people who think "cancel culture" means "no one expressing bigoted ideas should ever have to face consequences."


I provided an answer to your question. I did not claim those are examples of minority race being racist.

Such examples can be found as well, if we change the target group to be a different race. Nazi Germany (whose population became oppressed minority in Europe after being defeated in WW I) was becoming more racist towards most of the European nations south and east of them (majority) - including Slavic nations, Romas and others. More recent example, after WW II, Israeli settlers (most of which are Jews, an historically oppressed minority) became racist towards Palestinians (majority).

> Everyone who is outraged at, angry with, or otherwise against the police violence against black people is an SJW.

That's another misunderstanding of terms on your part. Almost everybody who saw that video and other police transgressions since then was disgusted by those policemen actions and are against such police brutality. That includes many racists, bigots, right-wingers, libertarians, traditional left, progressives and others not so easily categorizable political agents.

That does not make them SJW's. "Social Justice Warrior" now has a very specific pejorative and derogative meaning: a vocal activist pushing and fighting for ideology of political correctness, for positive discrimination, favouritism of people of minority groups, limiting freedom of expression by policing words and inventing and enforcing new words, and generally using any means available, including racist or bigoted or factually incorrect or logically flawed arguments about race, power, history or biology. They are very attention-seeking and uppity. They care more about winning rhetorical arguments and political battles than about being right and fair.

People who really care about society and people of all races/groups having their fair part in society are very different from that. They do not try to annoy, divide or cancel people of other groups, they do not push ideology, instead they try to work with those people towards common goals.


My question was about 'oppressed minority race becoming racial oppressors still being subordinate in the power structure' not a few members of said race becoming racial oppressors.

Once a country has weapons and can defend itself, its citizens are not really subordinate in the power structure, is it?

When you write "against such police brutality", what does "such" refer to?

Because most of the people I've seen/heard on the topic are specifically against racist police brutality. (And they aren't arguing that police brutality against whites should increase.)

Where's the long list of white people killed by police brutality that matches what we've seen on video for black people?

> now has a very specific pejorative and derogative meaning

Based on my observation, its most common meaning is simply a derogatory term for progressive.

Are NASCAR officials SJWs by banning the traitor's flag at their events? Are they "politically correct"? ... or simply "correct"?

You do know that "uppity" is traditionally used as a way to put down women and blacks who supposedly didn't know that they were supposed to be lower in the social hierarchy, right?


> It is believing that people of some other race are inferior.

I think this is a view from the 90s. Today's view is that the're not inferior but different, and that race itself is a social construct.


It is a view from the colonial era at least and probably much older.


...but rather that racism requires structural and systemic bias against an ethnic, racial, religious, etc. subgroup of the population who do not have political power.

Why should it, though? Nazi Germany racism was infamously based on the notion that it's the Jews who are in power and favour their own.

The very concept of ant-zionism today puts the people it's racist towards as the oppressors with political power.


Telling lies about who is in power doesn't mean those people actually have power.

It's a common technique - hype people who don't have much power into some sort of super-villain, unite the rest of the population against them, and leverage that into political power.

Nazi Germany racism was also based on US racism, including its treatment of Native Americans. See https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691172422/hi... with PDF at https://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/upload_documents... .


Telling lies about who is in power doesn't mean those people actually have power.

My fossilized-antisemitist relative once told me that the reason there existed people in my country (Poland) who would help nazis was that, and I quote, "before the war everyone owed the Jews some money".

Also a large part of islamic antisemitism stems from wars lost to the Israelis.

Basically there are instances in history where whole ethnic groups are hated because they are dominant.


That hatred wasn't meaningfully due to Jewish political power. Banking was almost literally the only field where Christian law in the Middle Ages - in this case prohibitions against usury - discriminated against Christians in favor of Jews.

The section at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usury#Judaism gives more context:

> As the Jews were ostracized from most professions by local rulers during the Middle Ages, the Western churches and the guilds,[30] they were pushed into marginal occupations considered socially inferior, such as tax and rent collecting and moneylending. Natural tensions between creditors and debtors were added to social, political, religious, and economic strains.[31]

> ...financial oppression of Jews tended to occur in areas where they were most disliked, and if Jews reacted by concentrating on moneylending to non-Jews, the unpopularity—and so, of course, the pressure—would increase. Thus the Jews became an element in a vicious circle. The Christians, on the basis of the Biblical rulings, condemned interest-taking absolutely, and from 1179 those who practiced it were excommunicated. Catholic autocrats frequently imposed the harshest financial burdens on the Jews. The Jews reacted by engaging in the one business where Christian laws actually discriminated in their favor, and became identified with the hated trade of moneylending.

I surely agree with the other statements you made. (As another example, apartheid South Africa's and the unrecognised state of Rhodesia's minority white population were far from loved by the rest of the population.) I don't, however, understand the relevance.


These seems like nervous attempts at "making everything right" in a situation where no right can be made - at least there is no easy way to do so.

I share this sentiment entirely. It all feels so ham-fisted.

And also like throwing someone a proverbial bone thinking that it's all good now because we changed a name of something somewhere.


> makes sense only in the context of US history

Sorry but I must disagree. The U.S. slave era was not uniquely American. Who operated those slave ships to "import" the blacks from Africa? It wasn't the Americans. No, the Dutch had a big role, as did other cultures.

And as the protests around the world have demonstrated, racial discrimination is a global issue with similar problems in many countries to what you see happening in the States.


I came across this sentiment on Twitter for the first time just a few hours ago today, and while it almost feels like searching for reasons to be offended (which you will always find) I'm pretty happy with the change. Allowlist/Blocklist is even more obvious than the original.


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We've banned this account for using HN for ideological flamewar and ignoring our request to stop.

Please don't create accounts to break HN's rules with.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Deleted


> Same argument against replacing "master / slave". It's a powerful metaphor that sometimes works really well when talking about IT.

Whether it works really well depends on cultural loading of the concepts in the audience, that's the nature of metaphor. Choosing terms whose cultural loading has less intense variation will result in more consistent effect.


Hmm I notice the change was made to the "master" branch :/ Maybe change that to "main".


Good thing I don't have a master's degree.


> Good thing I don't have a master's degree.

Hah. Exactly.


My least favorite tech term is "infant mortality"[1] from reliability engineering. Just very bad naming taste.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve


Slavery is only bad if the slaves are people (or, generally, any self-aware entity with its own agency).

I, as a human, love being a master to my computer slaves.


There are animal rights advocates offended by usage of the terms master and owner when referring to an animal's guardian--their preferred term.


Why would I (or anyone else) care? The important question is, are the animals offended? Besides, I think owner is the correct legal term - if you own an animal, you're responsible for it (and for any harm it might do to others).


No master/slave? That's just bigotry against BDSM culture.


Just use dom/sub :)


No, it is not.


That's the beauty of identity politics. No matter what you say, you are always going to encroach on someone's identity.

Whoever promoted it, was a machiavellian genius. People can't rebel if they keep each other in check.


> That's the beauty of identity politics. No matter what you say, you are always going to encroach on someone's identity.

> Whoever promoted it, was a machiavellian genius. People can't rebel if they keep each other in check.

That is exactly what I wanted to say too but you said it better.

I'd point out that there are possible hundreds if not thousand other software that use the terminology. It doesn't offend me at all.

$> man -k slave grantpt (3) - grant access to the slave pseudoterminal grantpt (3p) - grant access to the slave pseudo-terminal device jack_netsource (1) - Netjack Master client for one slave kdeinit5 (8) - Launcher for applications built with kdeinit support, ... ptmx (4) - pseudoterminal master and slave pts (4) - pseudoterminal master and slave ptsname (3) - get the name of the slave pseudoterminal ptsname (3p) - get name of the slave pseudo-terminal device ptsname_r (3) - get the name of the slave pseudoterminal Tcl_CreateSlave (3) - manage multiple Tcl interpreters, aliases and hidden c... Tcl_GetSlave (3) - manage multiple Tcl interpreters, aliases and hidden c... unlockpt (3) - unlock a pseudoterminal master/slave pair unlockpt (3p) - unlock a pseudo-terminal master/slave pair

$> man -k master agentxtrap (1) - send an AgentX NotifyPDU to an AgentX master agent getpt (3) - open the pseudoterminal master (PTM) gnutls_session_ext_master_secret_status (3) - API function gnutls_session_get_master_secret (3) - API function gnutls_session_set_premaster (3) - API function jack_netsource (1) - Netjack Master client for one slave mmafm (1) - creates AFM font metrics for multiple master fonts mmpfb (1) - creates single-master fonts from multiple master fonts ptmx (4) - pseudoterminal master and slave pts (4) - pseudoterminal master and slave pulseaudio-ctl (1) - Control pulseaudio's basic functions such as the maste... RAND_DRBG_get0_master (3ssl) - get access to the global RAND_DRBG instances SSL_get_client_random (3ssl) - get internal TLS/SSL random values and get/set... SSL_get_extms_support (3ssl) - extended master secret support SSL_get_server_random (3ssl) - get internal TLS/SSL random values and get/set... SSL_SESSION_get_master_key (3ssl) - get internal TLS/SSL random values and ge... SSL_SESSION_set1_master_key (3ssl) - get internal TLS/SSL random values and g... Tcl_GetMaster (3) - manage multiple Tcl interpreters, aliases and hidden c... Tk_GetImageMasterData (3) - define new kind of image unlockpt (3) - unlock a pseudoterminal master/slave pair unlockpt (3p) - unlock a pseudo-terminal master/slave pair WildMidi_MasterVolume (3) - sets the overall audio level of the library. xapian-replicate (1) - Replicate a database from a master server to a local copy


I'd also say `man` from the unix manual <- yep, would you consider that to be the elephant in the room?

If I had to hazard a guess, we are all a bunch of technologists/engineers/tinkerers who deal with technical stuffs; not some societal driven definitions and constraints that supposedly define what `man` is in this context. We bloody well know what `man` is in this context - manual pages. For some odd $deity fore shaken reason, please don't try to bend the meaning of it.


> It doesn't offend me at all.

Which means this is NOT ABOUT YOU. The fact that something does not bother you has absolutely zero impact on how other people feel about that same thing.


I think it's 99.9% certain that GP was making a joke.


Yes, and it was a joke in very bad taste that belittles the very real issues people have with this.


Very real issues, being it offends some minority, somewhere. Guess what, everything offends some minority somewhere.

In essence, I am against the policing of language to police the mind.


> Guess what, everything offends some minority somewhere.

No. It does not. It most definitely does not. This is a lame excuse, and also a blatant lie.


Would you please stop using this site for political and ideological flamewar? It destroys what it's supposed to be for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

You've unfortunately been doing it a lot, and we've already had to ask you to stop.


Why are you asking me, and not the other guy?

Why is it me who is supposed to shut up, and not the other guy?

That sounds like taking a political stand to me.

Or are you going to try to claim that "oh those minorities are such whiners" is apolitical, but "no they are not" is not?

You allow lots of inflammatory and political opinions on the site. But you don't allow people to stand up to them or challenge them. That is pure hypocrisy.


I mean, if we're nitpicking

Anyway, allowlist and blocklist are more self-explanatory than whitelist and blacklist, so this change has negative cost.

No, it does not. All changes have cost. They just can't see it now, or chose not to see it now. Aside from the obvious cost in the very same patchset.


I’ve been using the term controller/worker since the 80s as have many others. It also better connotes what’s going on. I do like allowlist/blocklist. Though blocklist sounds really close to blacklist. Maybe we should use denylist instead?


deny has 4 letters, while allow and block have 5. Having the same number of letters for the variable component(s) of a set of interface names is quite convenient.


ITT: reductio ad absurdam.


There is nothing wrong with the change, but I personally not sure if "slave" offends someone. "slave" does not represent a social group anymore.


“The International Labour Organization[5] estimates that, by their definitions, over 40 million people are in some form of slavery today. 24.9 million people are in forced labor, of whom 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labor imposed by state authorities. 15.4 million people are in forced marriage.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_21st_century


You're suggesting that the actual slaves take issue with the usage of the word "slave" in tech?


I don't think this is the thrust of the issue, but since you mention it, yes. I'm pretty sure someone who lives in modern slavery would find it sickening to learn that the word "slave" is used casually without consideration for those it describes. But we all know the historical role of slavery in many cultures, and the legacy it has left in current life, which is more the issue.

It's a selfish and unjustifiable situation to be in, where one group of people casually uses language that describes a different group in questionable terms without considering how the other group might feel. It's trivial to implement. Questioning it is a hair's breadth from defending it.


> But we all know the historical role of slavery in many cultures, and the legacy it has left in current life, which is more the issue.

Why bring "current slavery" into it then, if this is what you mean? Personally, I'm pretty sure that slaves care about slavery, not language in Go documentation, but that's speculation of course.

> without considering how the other group might feel

Have you asked a slave in Saudi Arabia how they feel about the usage of the word Slave in Go documentation?


> Why bring "current slavery" into it

Because it was mentioned in the post you replied to.

> Have you asked a slave in Saudi Arabia how they feel about the usage of the word Slave in Go documentation?

Why Saudi? Slavery exists globally. You know someone whose ancestors were bought, sold and died as slaves. Ask them how they feel about it.


> Why Saudi?

Maybe because it's easier to Google and find supporting evidence? You should give it a try.

> You know someone whose ancestors were bought

Sure, rather than the 40 million living it first hand.


I'm frankly bemused at the push-back in this thread, and totally lost about your aggressive tone towards me.

The parent post links to global slavery information, here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23446390

The original post was about choice of language in code repositories.

I've no idea what you're objecting to.

I'm out.


You know... millions of real people suffer from actual broken bones, and millions more suffer from being broke (having no money). I think it's pretty insensitive how we use the word break and broken so casually in all kinds of tech documentation...


Yes, and Google is a customer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn

Deeply hypocritical, but it of course is easier and cheaper to focus on historical injustices. How about stopping business and censorship in China?

Who would Google have done business with in the 19th century?


This might surprise/enlighten you, then: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery#Contemporary_slavery


OMG, there're still many of them. Thanks for the link.


I don't think it offends anyone... this is just virtue-signalling.


It seems to me that if they had used those replacements names in the first place, nobody would have ever submitted a PR to change them to master/slave or blacklist/whitelist. Thus most people complaining are just making a fuss over nothing.


Replacing master/slave with leader/follower makes perfect sense, given historical context.

Is blacklist/whitelist inherently racist, or does it have racist origins? Try as I might I don’t see inherent bias in it.


We should remove short and long because you can use those words to describe people's height or other features.

You can argue for the replacement of black- and whitelisting with allow- and Blocklisting because it removes the intermediary step of having to know that the color white/light is usually seen on our culture as something representing good, while black/darkness is seen as bad.

Different cultures may see those differently, such as white also representing death and mourning in Japan, which may cause confusion.

But this change likely came from current events and has nothing to do with the above other than someone on Twitter thinking "blacklisting -> black people -> that's racist" and getting upset about it.


The connotation is that white is good and black is bad.


To me it seems that this connotation is very deeply embedded in Western culture (but not only Western culture, compare for example yin and yang) and doesn't actually have much to do with race, and more with day and night, light and darkness and the fact that humans are not a nocturnal species and darkness can be dangerous to us.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-and-white_dualism this is traceable to the Ancient Near East and listed in the Pythagorean Table of Opposites for example, so it goes much further back than the Atlantic slave trade.

I do not think that it would be possible to rip this metaphor out of our thinking.

By the way, a really great linguistic book about how much of our thinking is in systematic metaphors in general, is "Metaphors We Live By", by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.


> I do not think that it would be possible to rip this metaphor out of our thinking.

But this is exactly what certain people are trying to do. And it's not a fringe group anymore, this is starting to touch different aspects of our life that have no any real relation to racism or skin color. If "black" in "blacklist" is offending you today, tomorrow you will be offended by Master's degree.


That's a connotation. Another one is that black you cannot see, white you can. Which does have some grounding in physics. And no, absolutely nothing to do with race.


Of course...some people seem to have an obsession for race, they connotate everything with it.


Wouldn't it make more sense then to change the name of the race? "Blacks" -> "browns" or something... (and it would also be more physically accurate... same with "whites" -> "yellows" or "roses")


Which has nothing to do with race, and is heavily rooted in "light" vs. "shadow" mythology. In India it's the other way around, Asia has Ying and Yang.

Changing these words is a feel good thing, that does nothing to address our internal biases, prejudices, and racism. It wastes time that could be spend on writing your senator, politician, or being active in a political party.

It's a zero effort, zero stakes thing, that makes privileged people feel personal accomplishment, while allowing them to relax into complacency.

"I make a million a year, and work for a company that makes money off of algorithmically radicalising people into right wing conspiracy theories, but I don't use the word white- and black-list anymore, because it reminds me of race. I did my part!"


Yes, but it is worth noting that this did not originally refer to skin color, but more to the association in our culture of black with death.


Yes, but I don't see the correlation to any race.

black is bad everywhere, probably because of its physical properties. ditto for white.

Those who wish to see a racial relation are just racists, and racists should not be fed.


This shows a strange inability to differentiate between computers and humans.


From the file changes it is not very clear in which context these words are used.

I mean, if it was a library or a DB sure, but these seem to be more in the language core.


This is common practice already I can say at least 10 years.


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Probably not.


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I think brainfuck has the keyword please. Now that sounds nice!


DemocraticQL is needed. It's long overdue to "ELECT * FROM".


You're thinking of INTERCAL: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/INTERCAL


You are right:

PLEASE GIVE UP

to terminate execution sounds overly polite to me :)


> with alternatives you can easily make errors in and which make understanding the code harder

blacklist/whitelist => blocklist/allowlist

how's that making the code harder to understand ? or errorprone ?


Maybe because it is inappropriate to use blocklist/allowlist in all cases, so to replace blacklist/whitelist people have to come up with a few different words (blocklist, badlist, denylist, etc) and apply them accordingly. It is certainly pretty confusing to see similar concepts expressed in a few different words, I'd prefer an umbrella word in this case. Of course if we are going to say "blocklist is the word replacing blacklist and it'll go into textbook you don't have to think deeply about it just remember this is the word you must use in all cases" the problem would disappear, but I'm afraid we can't.

Master/Slave demonstrate this better. For example, in the context of pseudoterminals, primary/secondary is certainly not precise words to use, it is quite hard to come up with "obvious" words without re-educating everyone. (oh, and it's baked in the API name in various specifications, like "ptsname" => "pseudo terminal slave name")


The leader/follower for master/slave seems pretty clear, similarly for blocklist/allowlist. Your argument seems to be 'because we have been doing it like this' or 'has been used in so many places' which I don't agree with too much as a reason to keep using it.

This change seems to actually bring in better terms and clearly understandable.


Sorry, but if you actually click into the link before arguing with me, you would see they replaced "master" and "slave" in pseudoterminal context with "tty" and "processTty", not leader/follower because their relationship are really not leader and follower.

https://go-review.googlesource.com/c/go/+/236857/5/src/os/si...


Fair enough. I did check the link but didn't see that one.


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Does "blacklist" really have an extremely charged history? I've not found a source suggesting that. I've found sources saying that the term "black sheep" is racist, and I find that idea backwards. "Black sheep" did not become a term to point out individuals that strongly deviate from the norm because of Africans. They did so, because they were rare and stood out (just like people who strongly deviate from the norm), like black swans being very rare but possible.

I get the feeling that there's a lot of hysteria involved where "black" is now a taboo word and every usage of it is considered "because of racist motives".


The use of blacklist has been mostly employment-related, and is unrelated to racial issues.

Consider why we think black=bad/sin, white=good/pure, however. These are arbitrary choices.


> The use of blacklist has been mostly employment-related, and is unrelated to racial issues.

Exactly, but it's mentioned as being so.

> Consider why we think black=bad/sin, white=good/pure, however. These are arbitrary choices.

And they're not because of "omg black people". The concept is far older than the transatlantic slave trade and is mostly about opposites, because it's literally black and white. Not brown and grey/pink/reddish-depending-on-weather.

White skin tone isn't white, black skin tone isn't black. The use of black and white as polar opposites was not invented after the 16th century.


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How did "social justice warrior" become a slur? Is there anyone who honestly doesn't think Social Justice is a virtue that it is worth fighting for?


It's not the name but how that group of people acts that gives the bad connotation. Even "Fascism" as a etimological concept has not a bad connotation ("suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break"), but as a political group which uses it to identify themselves, it really is extremly bad.

Long story short: we cannot just look at the etimology of a word, we need the associated context.


Sure, but what are "social justice warriors" doing that is so horrific that it has become an accusation rather than a political label?

That is what I am getting at - the way I see it, social justice continues to mean the same thing as it always did: respect for the rights of all minorities, and a genuine desire to see an end to oppression and of the long-standing effects of oppression for all.


> the way I see it, social justice continues to mean the same thing as it always did: respect for the rights of all minorities, and a genuine desire to see an end to oppression and of the long-standing effects of oppression for all.

I'm sure that's the way they see their own actions, but not everyone agrees with that framing. I'm guessing the pejorative sense comes from the tactics sometimes employed, and the way social justice goals are sometimes twisted:

1. Destroying individual lives via doxxing and twitter harassment (twitter mobs), rather than tackling powerful people or systems who benefit from or perpetuate systemic bias.

2. A hyper-focus on token gestures with no real effect, like changing technical jargon.

3. Moving the goalposts by redefining basic social justice terms in order to manufacture consent. For instance, sexism and racism.

4. The sometimes violent suppression of speech, and even basic scientific facts, with which they disagree.

And more, some of which very much has the flavour of "the ends justify the means", where the ends are a moving target.

For a contemporary analogy, the pejorative view might be that SJWs are to real fighters for social justice as rioters and looters are to protestors. Maybe some of the rioters and looters are just so angry at the systemic injustice that they believe that violence is their last resort, but plenty of them are just opportunists.


I agree with your assessment of what is causing some people to dislike those they label SJWs, but I am still deeply bothered by the term used (though I haven't really seen a legitimate example of item 4).

We don't call rioters and looters 'BLM warriors' or 'freedom fighters', we call them by the negative characteristics that set them apart. By extension, the term SJW and its association with those who exaggerate and cause harm from the social justice scene seems designed to make social justice seen like a negative, instead of explicitly pointing a finger at doxxers and mobs.


> though I haven't really seen a legitimate example of item 4

A lot of the campus protests had a violent component that wasn't really reported in most media.

> We don't call rioters and looters 'BLM warriors' or 'freedom fighters', we call them by the negative characteristics that set them apart.

If the rioters called themselves "BLM warriors", people might start using that term pejoratively too.


As usual, the devil is in the details. I believe in a society that is blind to race, gender, class. This is my view of social justice. But this is in opposite of the SJW ideology, who claim that because of systemic discrimination, the only way towards equality is reverse discrimination.


I asked another commenter as well, but how do you think the hundred years of legal discrimination and two hundred years of slavery before that can be redressed to help bring the former victims up to date with the rest of society? Are any kind of reparations out of the question from your point of view?

The same can of course be asked about women, gay people, Irish people, Italians and all other minorities who were historically oppressed in the US - does the day that the most explicit discrimination stop equal day 1, as if the past weren't relevant at all?


Yes, I do. I think "justice" is worth fighting for, and as soon as "social justice" deviates from "justice" (e.g. positive discrimination, whereas blacks need to score less on SATs than Asians to be admitted) it's in the wrong.


Do you have any views on historic reparations? For example, do you think that at the time general slavery was abolished, it would have been just or not to have taken (some of) the wealth of former slave owners and given it to former slaves? If this was not done at the time, is there a lingering injustice over all of the former slaves?

And the same can be asked about the very recent past, when explicit discrimination of black people in schooling, jobs, housing etc. was abolished, would it not have been just to give them back some of the wealth that had been legally denied them for more than a hundred years?

Or do you believe that a line can be drawn at any time and everything that happened before can be fully ignored?


I’m ok with reparations to former slaves, but AFAIK none of them are still alive (in the US). Reparations to their descendants (taken from all taxpayers) aren’t IMO any more “just” (or socially beneficial) than reparations from the rich to the poor (poor kids are also disadvantaged at no fault of their own... due to their ancestry).

Explicit discrimination should be proven and solved by the usual means (suing, courts, ...). If you mandate a generic white-to-black reparations, you might end up with a situation where a working-class white person (deprivileged) is subsidising Obama’s daughters (extremely privileged). Basically any time you try to project “injustice” or “privilege” on a single dimension (such as race), the result is certainly unjust.


What about reparations to people who lived under Jim Crow? Many of those are still alive.

And no, I'm not saying you should do white-to-black reparations. But that's not to say it is just to do nothing. Particularly for pre-civil rights laws, the state could use its resources to undo the damage it did itself, and offer direct monetary aid or other advantages to those it wronged for so much time. Doing nothing is not justice, it is explicitly continuing the injustice.


I’m not too familiar with those laws, but yeah I generally support damages to specific people for specific acts. Like when people are falsely imprisoned. I’m sure there's a lot of examples that involve people of other races


After slavery and before the Civil rights act, in a lot of the USA, a doctrine termed euphemistically 'separate but equal' led to segregation laws establishing 'whites' only and 'blacks' only neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, workplaces etc. , followed of course by large discrepancies of funding between the white areas and the black areas.

This ended officially sometime in the 1960s, so almost all black people over 60 in America today experienced it directly to some extent (and in reality disparities continued for many more years: e.g. the local school in a historically discriminated neighborhood is not going to get any better if today the discrimination stops, unless someone starts investing in it to account for the years of neglect). Most of affirmative action is meant to undo this injustice specifically, because direct reparations to the millions of people who were owed them were never even on the table.

And of course, social justice is about more than black people. We haven't even talked about the historical disenfranchisement of women, the relatively recent imprisonment of gay and trans people, the internment of Japonese people, and so many other injustices that have never been repayed, even if they stopped.


> Most of affirmative action is meant to undo this injustice specifically

Intention =/= effect. It would be far more effective if the state invested more effort into educating people from underprivileged families (black, poor, immigrants), rather than lowering the standards for college admissions, which probably has worse outcomes (those students likely won’t catch up in terms of their skills), as well as creating new injustices (e.g. discrimination against Asians).


You cannot have social/collective justice and individual injustice at the same time. People who like individual justice (aka "justice") will generally have an issue with "social justice", yes.


Where exactly is social justice against individual justice? I for one am both for social justice and for individual justice - I don't believe an injustice should ever be forgiven.

At the very least, the vast majority of social justice ideals are perfectly compatible (and in fact require) individual justice as well. Social justice does tend to focus especially on the rights of historically (or currently) discriminated against minorities. Basically, about making it clear that discrimination can never be just.

I suspect that you have a major problem with the second aspect of that - that is the obvious observation that discrimination and its effects does not simply stop the moment the legal principle is removed. Justice is not restored simply by releasing a wrongly imprisoned person after 50 years. You must provide reparations for the 50 years of unjust imprisonment, all the lost opportunities. And the same must somehow apply for entire groups of people who have been discriminated against for far longer time.


> Where exactly is social justice against individual justice?

"This person should get the job because of social justice" means "That person should not get the job". You have discriminated against that person because of innate attributes they have no control over. That's obviously unjust.

> Social justice does tend to focus especially on the rights of historically (or currently) discriminated against minorities.

Yes, but groups are a terrible idea for those kinds of things. A wealthy black Nigerian emigrated to the US in the 70ies and had a son. That son now qualifies as a minority that should get affirmative action, while e.g. some white kid whose ancestors were slaves (indentured servitude is considered a form of slavery) would not. If you only look at group-membership, you are not looking at individuals, and you're not looking for individual justice.

> And the same must somehow apply for entire groups of people who have been discriminated against for far longer time.

Where do we start? And who are those groups? Are "Africans" such a group? The Barbary Slave Trade had Northern Africans regularly pillage towns in Southern Europe, kidnap Europeans and then sell them as slaves on slave markets throughout the Ottoman Empire. Do I as an European who had (to the best of my knowledge) no kidnapped slave anywhere in my ancestry, now get reparations from some Moroccan person? Or do we just trade claims and nobody gets anything?

You'll notice that the wrongly imprisoned person themselves will get money (laughably little, I may add; it's insult to injury, really). Not some random person that accidentally shares their skin color, gender, ethnicity, political or religious convictions.

Germany (and especially German companies using slave labor) paying money to Holocaust survivors or their family makes sense to me. Germany paying money to a jew who lived in Canada since 1900, hasn't lost anyone in the Holocaust and hasn't suffered more because of the war than any other Canadian? Less so, I suppose? To someone who isn't ethnically Jewish, lived in Canada since 1900, hasn't lost anyone etc pp, BUT converted to Judaism in 1945? Is he part of the group that should receive group reparations or not?

I'm sure you're seeing where I'm going with this: groups aren't easily identifiable, aren't clear-cut, and if you really want justice, you'll probably have to go back a long time. Should Germany say "yeah, sorry about all that Holocaust business, but here's an IOU we have from the Romans for their invasion 2000 years ago, please collect your reparations from them"?

You're getting nowhere with group justice. Focus on individual justice, you can make a much better case for it, and you're not creating new victims every time you try to right a wrong.


The US could well do the same. Pay reparations to each individual slave and their families, tracing genealogy.

Or, given that slavery may be too far in the past, pay reparations to each individual person that was discriminated against through Jim Crow, and maybe some level of immediate descendants (children? Grand-children? Some reasonable line could be decided).

Of course, direct individual reparations are hard to do, which is why other, less expensive and less targeted measures have been preferred.


> The US could well do the same. Pay reparations to each individual slave and their families, tracing genealogy.

That's not really suggested, I believe. From what I know, suggestions are "must have officially identified as black before some date", not "must be able to trace his family back to slavery". And, after multiple generations, each descendant would receive relatively little.

For "simple" (compared to slavery) discrimination AND divided by multiple descendants, you'll arrive at relatively small sums, I'm afraid. Saying to somebody "I'm really sorry about what your grandfather went through, but here's a check over $5000, that makes us even" will sound like an insult (and is likely a bad trade if you're giving up affirmative action and other benefits).


Why would there be so many descendants? There are probably tens or even hundreds of thousands of people still alive who lived through the Jim Crow era. This is not some distant past. How much reparations are due to these people alone in terms of lost opportunities, missing funding, moral damages etc?


It derives from "keyboard warrior", a term we used on the Internet back in the days when goals you like could be separated from presentation you don't.


The term is often used about activists, public speakers, opinion leaders etc, so I don't believe your etymology is correct. It is not a term coming from internet circles.

Also, keyboard warrior has an explicit reference to being ineffective in your convictions (fighting with your keyboard, a useless weapon). Social justice warrior, if it were etymological related, would have to mean someone who is fighting with the use of social justice. Instead, it refers to someone who fights for social justice, which is not meant as ineffective, but as harmful.


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Are black and white people equally screwed by corporations? Wage theft seems like something that would happen more to poorer people for example and class has a racial component. Additionally workers in the global south, predominantly non-white are totally abused by these large corporations.


In absolute terms, white people are screwed up more as they have more money. Not sure if it matters really.


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Geez... how about seeing it as them wanting to remove references to slavery in general?


Sounds like "if you're fixing this one thing, why not fix everything? And if you can't fix everything, why fix anything?"

No. We can fix things one at a time. Master/slave doesn't upset me but it does upset some people. Ok, if they're willing to put in the effort to update the code and all the docs then I'm willing to adopt the new terminology.

If you can make a bona fide case that 'kill' or something else upsets you and I'm convinced that you're sincere, and you have a superior alternative like 'leader/follower', you'll have my support to make a similar change.


> No. We can fix things one at a time. Master/slave doesn't upset me but it does upset some people. Ok, if they're willing to put in the effort to update the code and all the docs then I'm willing to adopt the new terminology.

I have nothing against change but _context_ matters. When I read about `pty` masters or slaves, I think of pseudo-terminals not humans.


So just because some people find it offensive, it's a reason to change the terminology?


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If you really wanted to you could probably label male and female connectors as sexist and the act of using them rape.

I think that's both insanity and distracting/undermining the real problems actual humans have.


The term master/slave of all terms is widely used and established in many fields of EE and CS especially in networking. I was exposed to it since I was a college student endless times and never ever thought of it having any kind of racist meaning, and again, I have a dark skin myself. The term is used in thousands of seminal textbooks and published papers by many great scientists who worked for decades and retired without even thinking that this term could map to the history of racism in the US or anywhere else. What's next? should we organize book burning parties and burn the textbooks of Leslie Lamport and Donald Knuth because they contained the master/slave term?

These lousy radical groups are only brave at the things that don't fight back and are very dedicated to solving non problems and the rest of us is obliged to either bow to their irrational nonsense or labeled as racist by their primitive mob mentality.




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