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Cover image for Please, don't politicize DEV!

Please, don't politicize DEV!

robencom profile image robencom ・2 min read

This is my 2 cents about this whole matter, I will not discuss politics ever again on this site. I hope you do the same..

Someone in this site mentioned that the word master offended her all these years because she is a "product of slavery".

The fact is, you don't have to have dark skin to be a product of slavery. Slavery existed in the world since the very beginning and sadly it still exists in the whole world today, not just in some parts of it.

I'm the product of genocide (Armenian) but I never find any word related to genocide offending, including the world genocide. I don't find the "kill process" logic offending in Unix or anywhere else. Because I realize that you are killing a process, not a human being.

I never thought of "master" as a slavery term until people started talking about it in that way. It seems Racism is in people, not in words. If you wanna see racism in a word, then you will. Master in git had absolutely nothing to do with slavery.

What about when people talk about "master classes"? Are those slavery related classes? "Master of her/his domains"? The word master has many meanings: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/master

People are resisting this change because they see awful politics hiding behind it that is invading the programming world. A real slavery is happening here, where some people that have nothing to do with DEV are FORCING (like a slave master would do) developers to make changes for no good reason whatsoever.

Next is blacklist and whitelist. These 2 terms have nothing to do with the races... It's the concept of light and dark, day and night, good and bad. Why white is good? Maybe our ancestors thought the day/light was good and the night/dark was bad for obvious reasons. As a child, I used to be afraid of the dark (kinda still am, who isn't?). There's some religious historical relations as well which came through our ancestors to us, the whole idea of light vs dark, good vs bad, somehow coined with white and black when put as colors.

White people are not really WHITE! They say our skin is pink, I'd say we are beige of different shades (a pale sandy fawn color). and Black people are NEVER BLACK. They are light brown of different shades. Stop calling people white and black. We are none. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skin_color#/media/File:Felix_von_Luschan_Skin_Color_chart.svg)

Morgan Freeman, when asked about how to end racism, he said: "Stop talking about it!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNM4txmV0Lc)

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@robencom

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Discussion

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Dev.to is showing this post in homepage, supporting Black Lives Matter and the Pride Month. One of the Dev.to sponsors is Diversify Tech.

I think that this platform is already political, and referable to a very precise political part.

Also, everything you do is political, even choosing of not talking about politics, too.

 

Insisting some programming terms should not be challenged or discussed publicly is a political stance.

Asking people--who think differently from you, and who do it on their own time--to not challenge/discuss it publicly, is definitely a political act.

Β―\(ツ)/Β―

 

Totally agree.

Progress is made challenging the status quo, and to make the people talk about injustice in the current social situation you need to put everything in discussion, even terminology.

Obviously you can't stop after renaming a couple of things and call it a day, because now you have the people's attention. Now it's time to make an actual big progress in social justice.

 

Diversity is a great thing. I love how Dev.to accepted me and others from all around the world and gave us all a platform to connect with others.

But diversity is becoming an exclusive club in the USA and EU in the last couple of years. Some groups are praised and welcomed, some other groups are frown upon because of their beliefs, sexual desires or tone of skin. That is what we need to pay attention to. Diversity means ALL, not ALL but these groups..

I love all, doesn't matter if they are gay or straight, black or white. I might even have a secret desire to see more LGBTQ or non-white people excel in DEV or other fields, ALTHOUGH I am straight white. Why? because I want us all to be equal in what our minds can do. We are never equal physically, sexually, financially...But we are all equal mentally, the only difference between a smart and stupid person is that one is using their brain and logic, and the other is not...

 

agree on this! software development should be neutral.
it's not that we don't care with what's happening right now but there should be fine line between politics and programming and each should have a separate space of discussion.

 

I agree, software development should be neutral, it's just kind of not:

theguardian.com/technology/2017/de...

computerweekly.com/blog/Cliff-Sara...

I can probably find more resources, but generally we should acknowledge there isn't a lot of neutrality at the moment.

 

Interesting find, I think this is worth of a debate, I didn't know there are articles tackling this kind of issue up until now.

But now you have mentioned this, I also did my own research and I also have my own opinion on this:

I don't think there was a bias in software development in the first place or it was NEVER intentional.
If I'm going to ask you as a developer, have you already thought about the future problems that your code will cause (technically and socially)? unless it's part of the scope then you can make test cases about it to make sure your code will be able to handle that kind of scenario. Otherwise I don't think so.

We developers are bias at our own work that our main focus is to make the app work in accordance to what our goal is. But that's why you also get feedback from QA/Tester and your users to fix the issue, is that our usual routine? (we develop, get feedback, fix and repeat)? and regarding with the bias in AIs you've shared earlier, my opinion is rather than talking about it as a BIG DEAL why can't we just collaborate and fix the issue?

We need to be aware that AIs & Face recognition programs are still young (even if they have already existed for the couple of years now) and dependent on what data is being fed to them so I don't think anyone has the final say that they are biased.

Because in software development when we solve things there will always be the next unknown questions/problems that is yet to be solved. Which you can say our current situation right now.

That's why my opinion on this issue is just politically driven and history taught that.

Because in the end, no one is born hating one another, it's the people around us who taught us to hate.
For me rather than being a person driven by the opinion of others, I'd rather try to understand the issue and what I can do about it.

In my opinion, right now we are paying the price of the decisions of our ancestors who were selfish and never thought of the future. For me the logical way to do it is never teach the hate to our young generations, instead we should teach them to be kind and selfless as to not make the same mistakes that we are doing now and I think that's the only way to move forward (unless you want to solve conflicts with blood to sacrifice which I don't think everyone wants that).

Here are some good articles that I've read (this is not much but I'm pretty sure we can always find a lot of research in the internet now a days):

So I genuinely believe that due to the evolving nature of society becoming more integrated with technology we should think about the future problems that our code will cause technically and socially. What we are talking about it how me morally use software, building software that lasts requires foresight already, we likely need to widen the scope of that foresight to application issues.

When you say "right now we are paying the price of the decisions of our ancestors who were selfish and never thought of the future" I certainly agree, a lesson we can learn is about being more considerate when it comes to thinking of the future. That starts with our culture as developers, renaming master isn't a big deal but it shows we are willing to correct mistakes of old :)

haha. I think renaming master is just kind of over-exaggerated issue to be fixed.
as I've said on my first post, there should be fine line between politics and software development and thus software development should remain neutral.

Because for us developer we understand master as the main/primary source code and we never have intended to connect it with politics. And we are already accustomed to it, So I don't think renaming it will solve anything unless you want to give headache to all developers.

I am saying that software development isn't actually neutral, and this is actually quite true by and large. Also yes as developers we have one meaning, and as humans we can understand the meaning in other ways. It really isn't that complicated. The term just is isn't neutral to all developers. Renaming it at least an acknowledgement of how language is important.

I see. I think I also get your point.
Yeah, sure why not, if the industry practice changed it then we will just follow.

 

I ironically disagree with both positions.

It's not possible to have a field, let alone one as critical to the modern world as IT not be linked to politics. Keeping things as civil and fact based as possible yes but not having politics involved is generally not realistic and imo outright wrong. Racism slavery and their enduring legacy is unfortunately a thing and it's not possible or correct to ignore.

As for the Master/Slave thing I understand how this can be an issue for people. However I don't think that it's meant to be degrading to the user or the devs but to describe the interaction between the components it refers to. It could be renamed and if it helps people and it's not confusing I wouldn't mind. but I honestly think that this is exagurating and reading too much into these things

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

I respectfully disagree with your disagreement.

Being a professional means that you need to remove all your emotions, beliefs, opinions and everything else that might disturb your professional work. You are no longer a professional if you complain to me that the word master is slavery related, or the word blacklist is racist or or or...Sooner or later, things are gonna go out of hand, and you should know this if you are a human being living in this world, you SHOULD know that people are gonna things to RIDICULOUS levels. The master word is good proof that the ridiculousness is already reached.

 

I think that asking people to just check their emotions opinions and beliefs at the door for 8 hours a day is asking too much. ( in the case of religious beliefs that might be actually impossible )

From my personal view the bar for professionalism is being able to raise the issue in a reasoned and calm manner. Throwing a tantrum is unprofessional, raising an objection about something and having a discussion is ok. I fully expect people to have ridiculous requests. I work in IT after all, ridiculous requests is what I call all the emails from management :P ! But joking aside if something is extreme it should be shot down.

As I said I don't personally agree with the entire master/slave controversy (and just don't understand the blacklist thing as it's not related to slavery as far as I know) but the question that I judge it by is this: Does it cause harm-confusion to change? And is so how does this stack up against the discomfort to the people raising the issue. For me the answer in this case is a solid meh and a shrug. I don't care what we call them anywhere near enough to draw a line in the sand over the change.

 

Banning politics from this platform means that discussions on working conditions and other topics are no longer possible. So I hardly disagree.

On this GitHub topic, I think it's more a change to make people feel good, rather than a change that really makes a difference. Many companies and organizations do stuff like this because it is a simple change to create good PR.

I think many people just get annoyed that they have to change their scripts.

 
 

Thank you! You have all my respect! What I really found bad with that forced diversity is the stats, I think StackOverflow mentioned that there is some increasing number of none white people in the development branch, and they stated this as an improvement, I mean why is that an improvement? I think it is just a fact, not negative, nor positive, the skin color plays no role in the knowledge of these developers. An increased average IQ would be an improvement, change in skin color distribution can not be stated as a positive or negative effect. Sometimes I feel like they are trying to force-feed me with that being white is bad and I should feel bad, and you know what? being white didn't grant me anything, I have to work hard, I had to have a side-job while I was at uni to pay my bills, nothing was granted, no privilege, and I am a minority (language based in my small EU country because some old fight between countries and WW2...) in my country and this did not stop me to prove myself.

 

I think StackOverflow mentioned that there is some increasing number of none white people in the development branch, and they stated this as an improvement, I mean why is that an improvement?

The paragraph you are referring to outlines why this is an improvement:

"We see higher proportions of people of color in students than professional developers."

It's not an improvement because the percentage of non-white users is growing, but because it is approaching the statistically expected distribution.


being white didn't grant me anything, I have to work hard, I had to have a side-job while I was at uni to pay my bills, nothing was granted, no privilege ...

I think you have a misunderstanding of what "White Privilege" is - probably because of the misleading naming. These paragraphs from this article helped clarify it for me:

White privilege is not the suggestion that white people have never struggled. Many white people do not enjoy the privileges that come with relative affluence, such as food security. Many do not experience the privileges that come with access, such as nearby hospitals.

And white privilege is not the assumption that everything a white person has accomplished is unearned; most white people who have reached a high level of success worked extremely hard to get there. Instead, white privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort.

 

Thanks for the clarification. I just have enough that every app open comes wit diversity and gender articles.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

There's white privilege and there is black privilege, and there is RICH privilege...There's all kinds of privileges. White privilege is a myth in this world today.

If you were born as the Queen of England's son, doesn't matter if you were what color, or what gender, you would be PRIVILEGED.

TheOnlyBeardedBeast is right. We all worked hard to get what we have. And I am pretty sure some of us got less although we deserved more because we are white, and the same goes to others (blacks, latinos, LGBTQ..) in different parts of the worlds. It's all relative, people. It all depends on where you are in what time. Today you are privileged, tomorrow you are not.

The only "group" that is ALWAYS privileged is the rich, period.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

Oh geez. OP thinks anti-racism is controversial politics, and being asked to not toss around the word "master" is the same as slavery. How sad. Enjoy being part of the problem.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

You cannot be anti-racism by being racist towards others!

I am not part of the problem, I am not even NEAR the problem. My problem is people like you who just accuse people of being racist or "part of the problem" and force us (like a master forces a slave) to talk in a certain way, or have opinions EXACTLY like theirs, or change master to main or whatever. Basically, my problem is people like you who are gonna DICTATE how my life should be. SO YEAH, you are my problem! Thanks for showing your face!

 

No one will come out in Italy saying that the "master/slave" terminology is disrespectiful, but also no one will call the coordinator node "Polentone" (Person from the - usually richer - north of Italy) and the worker nodes "Terrone" (Person from the south of Italy - poorer, culturally backward).

The point that you are missing is that all of this issue with "master/slave" doesn't solve a everyone's problem, or a problem of me and you as Europeans, but a problem that many people of colour in the US has.

The problem is with the US-centric nature of the IT sphere on the internet, where everyone thinks that every other one is American and that has the same sensitivity to the purely American problems.

Fixing something that doesn't solve everything doesn't mean it's not worth fixing. No one's asking you to inconvenience yourself. Make the change whenever and stop crying about it

I was basically saying the same thing, but I did it really badly.

 

If you're biggest injustice is a small, harmless vocabulary change - then consider yourself lucky. Your warped perspective is disturbing

Please stop being negative and toxic. This is a friendly place. Be positive and helpful or just take your hate somewhere else.