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INI proposes to ban technical terms that indicate racial discrimination

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INI proposes to ban technical terms that indicate racial discrimination

The initiative has compiled a list of terms that cannot be used in technical documentation.

“Inclusive Naming Initiative” ( Inclusive Naming Initiative, INI ) – an industry initiative to promote and facilitate the replacement of harmful and exclusionary language in information technology – has developed its first lists of recommendations.

List version 1.0 for naming, it offers 3 categories of “undesirable” terms that the industry should move away from:

  • Level 1 – Replace immediately;
  • Level 2 – Highly recommended to replace;
  • Level 3 – Recommended to replace.


Level 1 words and terms:

  • abortion(interrupt);
  • blackhat/whitehat(black hat/white hat);
  • Cripple(cripple);
  • Master(master);
  • master/slave(owner/slave, slave);
  • Tribe(tribe) – The term may be associated with “colonialism and has a history of being used to describe division along ethnic or racial lines.” INI suggests using other words to describe groups of people;
  • Whitelist(White list).

Several companies have already stopped using most Tier 1 terms due to their racial connotations or references to slavery.


Level 2 words and terms:

  • Sanity Check (health check, health check) – the term “may be derogatory to neurodiverse people.” INI liked the alternatives that Twitter* suggested – confidence check» (plausibility check) and “coherence check»(consistency check);


Level 3 words and terms:

  • Man-in-the-Middle (man in the middle) – the term is overly gendered and “implies that women do not have the skills to perform this type of hack”;
  • segregate (separate) – the term is “almost exclusively associated with the segregation of blacks from whites, which is a highly racist context.”


Level 0 words and terms:

The INI also defined some “level 0” terms that were discussed but not recommended for prohibition.

  • parent/child (parent/child) – the term does not describe a deliberately abusive relationship;
  • Red team (red team) – the term does not apply to indigenous peoples;
  • Fair hiring practice (fair recruitment practices) – the term indicates a preference for fair-skinned people.

The v.1.0 listing was finalized within a few weeks, but INI’s attempts to officially launch it seem to have reached a dead end: there is a post on the group’s little-visited forum at the end of May asking them to sign the announcement draft. It hasn’t been added in nearly four weeks at the time of writing, and one post has pushed the group to speed up its release.

INI leaders include representatives from IBM, MicrosoftDell, Intel, Red Hat, Cisco, Extreme Networks, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and GitLab.


* The social network is prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation.



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