Twitter, JPMorgan, and other organizations have announced they will stop using racially-charged coding and hardware terms like master, slave, blacklist, whitelist, and others as part of a thorough review of best practices around value-neutral terminology in programming and technology.
JPMorgan appears to be the first in the financial sector to remove most references to these racially problematic phrases, and it comes after the bank has said it is taking other steps to promote Black professionals and anti-bias culture training for staff.
Columbia Business School programming professor Mattan Griffel said such terms have long been controversial and can be difficult to change. The technology that underpins bank operations is often a spaghetti-like mess that results from merged companies, decades-old code and third-party systems, and any change can have cascading effects that are difficult to predict, Griffel said.
Twitter engineer Regynald Augustin described what they have been working on even before the killing of George Floyd brought even more urgency to the process:
Open source projects like GitHub are also making strides to update terminology.
“Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit.”
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