Software Host GitHub Banning ‘Master,’ ‘Slave,’ and More from Programming Code to Appease Activists

Google walkout protest
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Code-hosting portal GitHub is reportedly working on replacing the programming term “master” with a neutral term such as “main” in an effort to avoid references to slavery. The move is part of a leftist push to change the language of coding by removing terms deemed racist, sexist, and otherwise “offensive.”

ZDNet reports that the code-hosting platform GitHub is planning to replace the term “master” on its service with a more natural term such as “main” in order to avoid any reference to slavery, according to the company’s CEO.

A growing movement in the world of tech is pushing for changes to coding languages in order to avoid terms that may be offensive to developers in the black community. These include remove terms such as “master” and “slave” and replacing them with “main/default/primary” and “secondary.” Terms such as “blacklist” and “whitelist” would also be replaced with “allow list” and “deny/exclude list.”

However, some have noted that some terms such as “blacklist” are not rooted in slavery or the oppression of black people, but actually refers to the practice of using black books in Medieval England to record the name of problematic workers to avoid hiring in the future.

In a 2018 journal, academics wrote that the use of terms such as “blacklist” and “whitelist” not only “reflects racist culture, but also serves to reinforce, legitimize, and perpetuate it.” Now emboldened by the Black Lives Matter protests across the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd, many companies are engaging in efforts to remove certain language from their programs.

The Android mobile operating system, the Go programming language, the PHPUnit library, and the Curl file download utility have all stated their plans to remove the terms “blacklist” and “whitelist” and instead replace them with more neutral alternatives.

Last week, Google Chrome developer Una Kravets tweeted that the Chrome project was considering a similar move of renaming the default branch of the Chrome web browser source code from “master” to a neutral term like “main.”

Read more at ZDNet here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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