09.29.20

IBM Fought for ‘Master Race’ and Now It’s Banning the Word ‘Master’

Posted in Deception, IBM at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We need to go back in time to understand why many people are so angry

GitHub to replace master with main starting in October: What developers need to do now

Summary: A lot of the current push to ban the word “master” came from Red Hat (soon IBM, helped by Intel and Microsoft for the most part); we take a hard look at IBM’s history to better understand the incredible double standards and what the real motivations might be

THE ‘international bullshit machine’ (IBM) is telling us that the world’s problems boil down to something like a Git branch being called “master”. That’s easily debunkable. We wrote about it many times before and we explained why it’s a pretty big deal.

“Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners,” George Carlin once said. This whole abolition of master, slave terms (not practice) seems to have been started by Red Hat (soon IBM because of the imminent takeover), at least in this earlier case if not earliest (2 years ago). We’re not aware of the debate going further back than this and it was started by a Red Hat employee. “For diversity reasons,” he asserted, “it would be nice to try to avoid “master” and “slave” terminology which can be associated to slavery.” Notice the references there (GitHub, already Microsoft’s on paper).

IBM cardNow read the comments from fellow developers. We’ll quote a few (this is from 2 years ago, before people became reluctant/afraid to publicly object). “I’m a little surprised by this,” said an early comment (on the bug tracker). “It’s not like slavery was acceptable when these computer science terms were coined and it’s only comparatively recently that they’ve gone out of fashion. On the other hand, there are some areas in computer software where “master” and “slave” are the exact technical terms (e.g. IDE), and avoiding them would lead to confusion. Of the four citations you reference, one of them is a PR for Django, and three of them say “see the Django PR”. The Django PR is an unreadable infinitely-long page of miserable arguing. So the context doesn’t help much. Have there been any actual complaints? Or is this an attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist?”

Early debates included also this: “As a counter-example: A quick grep finds 555 occurrences of the word “kill” in CPython master. Everybody knows killing is bad and using the term might upset certain people. Yet I would not support expunging the word “kill” from Python.”

Another one: “I’m not super-excited by the idea that Python has to change its behavior based on secret comments. Python has traditionally had a very open governance model where all discussions happen in public.”

This was weeks after the creator of Python surprisingly resigned. We cannot prove there’s a connection between those two events (resignation and controversy/commotion).

“To me,” said another person, “there is nothing wrong with the word ‘master’, as such. I mastered Python to become a master of Python. [...] Like Larry, I object to action based on hidden evidence.”

“The term “master” has so many positive connotations that I think it is misguided to effectively eliminate it from the current English language,” another developer noted.

“In fact,” said another developer, “in the BDSM subcultures, “master/slave” can have *positive* connotations. You want to support diversity, then why are you discriminating against that subculture?”

Another comment: “Talking about diversity: my wife is of a nationality that historically were often stolen to be slave [...] Both of us are angered by this attack on our linguistic culture. Stop trying to sanitize and infantalize language.”

Also note: “The discussion under GH PRs [Microsoft GitHub] is now censored. What will be the next level?”

That was after Microsoft bought GitHub, at least on paper. No discussion allowed. The debate was secret.

Wikipedia’s article on this very subject states upfront (at the top): “This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints.”

We know who’s good at gaming Wikipedia. Some people receive a salary to do it. Microsoft even got caught doing this, infuriating Wikipedia’s co-founder.

“IMO,” said another person, “the problem isn’t the master/slave terminology itself but the way how the changes were introduced (no discussion) and the justification (“diversity reasons”???)”

Notice this other ticket, also citing GitHub extensively:

It has come to my attention that CPython’s source code contains problematic ableist/saneist terms and/or pejoratives, namely

sanity check 144
silly 26
insane 13
crazy 13
stupid 6
lame 2
lunatic 1

Some of those slipped into the documentation. In an attempt to make Python community more inclusive and welcoming, we should clean up these usages and replace them with something neutral (where applicable). Unfortunately, to this day many developers deem such efforts as “trolling”, so please note that the precedent has already been set by many major projects. Here’re just a few:

https://github.com/unpkg/unpkg.com/pull/81

https://github.com/reduxjs/redux/pull/2335

https://github.com/rtfd/readthedocs.org/pull/3752

https://github.com/krzysztofzablocki/Sourcery/issues/2

https://github.com/google/xi-editor/pull/126

Other resources:

https://english.stackexchange.com/q/282282

http://isthisableism.tumblr.com/sluralternatives

The goal of this issue is not to stir up arguments, but to figure out the alternatives and ways to replace those problematic terms.

So they’re starting to take control of language further and further. Even a word like “crazy” (or “lame”) is going to become a Code of Conduct (CoC) violation of some kind? Where does this go? Where might it end?

“I find this nonsensical and I’m very disappointed that this ideological nonsense is infecting Python,” said another comment.

Guido van Rossum himself wrote (weeks earlier): “Now that PEP 572 is done, I don’t ever want to have to fight so hard for a PEP and find that so many people despise my decisions.”

To CoC antagonists he wrote: “your only option might be to leave this group voluntarily. Perhaps there are issues to decide like when should someone be kicked out (this could be banning people from python-dev or python-ideas too, since those are also covered by the CoC).”

This poses a potential danger to people like Linus Torvalds inside the Linux Foundation, for reasons we covered before [1, 2]. Language control is a slippery slope which overlooks or distracts from the vastly bigger problems.

I’ve always wondered about the timing of Guido van Rossum’s sudden resignation (unscheduled, unplanned, no succession in place), seeing pointless controversies being floated at the time. As Daniel Pocock put it quite recently: “It is permissible for leaders to write nasty things about volunteers but it is not permissible for volunteers to write things about the leaders.”

Now, going back to IBM, it was its initiative initially (or Red Hat’s). IBM keeps pushing this elimination of words, even by sending PR people to me, urging yours truly to suit their nonsensical narrative.

Well, IBM wants us to think that it’s against “masters”. But its history tells an entirely different story. Not only is IBM a deeply racist company; historically it profited a lot from the “master race” agenda, which involved not only discrimination but incarceration/incineration of people of the ‘wrong’ race.

From the full book which contradicts this hypocritical narrative, War Against The Weak:

IBM eugenics p34
page 34

IBM eugenics p36-37
pp. 36-37

IBM eugenics p54
page 54

IBM eugenics p803-807
pp. 803-807

IBM eugenics p852-856
pp. 852-856

IBM eugenics p927
page 927

IBM eugenics p1051-1052
pp. 1051-2

IBM eugenics p1172
page 1172

IBM eugenics p1613-1614
pp. 1613-14

So that’s IBM. How very tolerant a company. IBM knew exactly what it was doing all along. It only stopped when it became a PR embarrassment for Mr. Watson and his associates, after receiving a Nazi medal and meeting Mr. Hitler himself in person.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2020/09/29/banning-the-word-master/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 12: A Worthy Successor to His Mentor?

    We examine the role of Christoph Ernst in EPO management, both in the Benoît Battistelli era and the António Campinos era (plenty to hide)



  2. USPTO for Monopolies, Keeping GNU/Linux in the Dark

    Growing evidence of gross discrimination against GNU/Linux (or Free software, even BSD/UNIX) users at the USPTO is too hard to ignore; some people out there challenge the Office over this travesty



  3. Accessibility and Availability First

    To make Techrights more widely accessible and more difficult to block/censor we've been making further changes, including self-hosting where possible



  4. Self-Hosting Videos With Free Formats and Animated Previews, Watermarks/Logos and Translucency

    We examine the power of video editing with ffmpeg, chained with command-line scripting and HTML5 features



  5. Links 10/4/2021: Linux on M1, Wine 6.6, ClamAV 0.103.2

    Links for the day



  6. Lunduke: On Mob Justice in the Tech Industry

    A new video from the former Microsofter who fears the phenomenon that’s adopted by companies like IBM



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 09, 2021



  8. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli's Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli

    Local copies with evidence of or something concrete about Benoît Battistelli’s connection to unsavoury — and by today’s standards outright fascistic — politics



  9. IBM Doubles Down on Masters Being an Acceptable Word in the Context of Technology

    3 days after this post which disproves IBM's stance or shows its double standards it once again says “Masters” in its official blog (won’t that offend and alienate some people as they insist?)



  10. Hate Letter Against Richard Matthew Stallman (RMS) Backfired So Spectacularly That Signers Asked to Revoke Their Own Signatures and the List Was Then Frozen Permanently (Updated)

    "An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation" tops 6,100 signatures (graph generated just moments ago)



  11. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 11: The BMJV's Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

    The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him



  12. Links 9/4/2021: Tanglet 1.6.0 and HPVM 1.0

    Links for the day



  13. The Libel Against Richard Stallman Did Not Age Well

    Almost 2 years down the line libel about the founder of the FSF remains online, uncorrected (in sites funded by Microsoft and IBM)



  14. The Letter in Support of the FSF and Richard Stallman is Backed by the International Community, Not American Monopolies and Nationalistic Elements

    Free software is for everybody to use, internationally, it is not the asset of a bunch of current and old monopolists (connected to the US military) that also control the media; the nature of the signatures says that out loud



  15. Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)

    The Gemini protocol (gemini://) can already be used to fetch (at the back end) and present objects from a P2P-like network; we're currently exploring practical use cases and possibilities



  16. News Sites That Talk About Patents Have Become Shameless Self-Promotion 'Plugs' by Law Firms (and Sometimes Outright 'Spam' for Litigation)

    The sources of news about patent affairs have dried up; sites that actually used to investigate and report facts have since then shut down or defected to the Public Relations/marketing industry



  17. Links 9/4/2021: Kubernetes 1.21 and FFmpeg 4.4 Released

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 08, 2021



  19. [Meme] Self-styled Judges

    To suit a recurring theme at the EPO we hereby present Roland Lutz, a self-styled judge



  20. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff

    "In any event, the "Nazi" jibes directed against Lutz seem to have triggered Battistelli who decided to take revenge on his perceived enemies inside the EPO by smearing them as “Nazis”."



  21. Links 8/4/2021: GnuPG 2.3.0, Xen 4.15, Xfdashboard 0.9.2

    Links for the day



  22. The Hate Letter Which Backfired

    The FSF is more closely aligned with its founder's vision, his antagonists have left or are leaving, and that old hate letter turned out to be a loud minority (made to appear louder by biased media) emboldened by a gish gallop of lies



  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 07, 2021



  24. IBM: We Can Say It... You Cannot

    Blog posts such as this new one help show the hypocrisy or the double standards of IBM, looking to control speech while attacking people's (software) freedom/civil liberties and profiting from atomic bombs



  25. The Collapse of Microsoft Windows

    Although the corporate media keeps insisting that Microsoft is doing well, government (or military) bailouts keep the company afloat while its desperate attempts to remain relevant (as the common carrier languishes) merit a debate



  26. Links 8/4/2021: Mesa 21.0.2, GNU Releases, and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  27. Petition in Support of FSF's Decision to Put Its Founder in the Board Doubles Size of Hate Letter Propped Up by Corporate Media (Partly Funded by Monopolies)

    You cannot fool the population for eternity and there's a reflexive response to a campaign of misinformation, as the graph above shows; notice it keeps growing and growing, albeit not the defamatory one from the (Google-funded) Mozilla- and Red Hat-connected Luis Villa, who put in the GNONE Foundation Microsoft people



  28. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry

    "Lutz is also reputed to be closely linked to the German branch of the influential UPC lobby group centred around Prof. Winfried Tilmann."



  29. He Said, Xi Said: Hard to Censor Techrights and It's More Than a Web Site

    An explanation of some of the latest Techrights changes (mostly work on IPFS and Gemini this week, as they complement the Web site)



  30. A Patent System for Giant Corporations Like Boeing and Airbus, Not for Ordinary European Citizens

    There's hardly any illusion left that the patent system in Europe is supposed to serve the public; instead what we're seeing is an office that lost sight of its purpose and is instead trying to make law firms and their largest clients richer


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts