Are the ''Master'' and ''Slave'' computer terms offensive?

Posted on Sunday, November 30 2003 @ 17:14 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
This is somewhat strange, the terms 'master' and 'slave' for IDE devices like Hard disks and CD ROM drives already excist for many many years, and now suddenly a county official from Los Angeles asked computer and video equipment vendors to consider eliminating these terms, because they could be offensive for multicultural communities like L.A.
"Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label," according to an e-mail sent to vendors on Nov. 18. The memo asks manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to change or remove any labels on components "that could be interpreted as discriminatory or offensive in nature."

In May, a black employee of the Probation Department filed a discrimination complaint with the county Office of Affirmative Action Compliance after noticing the words on a videotape machine.

"This individual felt that it was offensive and inappropriate ... given the experiences that this country has gone through in respect to slavery," office director Dennis A. Tafoya said.

The issue was solved by putting tape over the labels and replacing "master" and "slave" with "primary" and "secondary," Tafoya said. Although Tafoya said his office did not find discrimination in the case, he added, "I think we constantly need to be conscious of these issues."

Sandoval said the county is making a suggestion, not trying to dictate political correctness. "Knowing that it's an industry standard, there's no way that I'm going to stop buying that equipment," he said.
Source: eWeek

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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Re: Are the ''Master'' and ''Slave'' computer terms offensive?
by Anonymous on Monday, December 01 2003 @ 4:01 CET
I think political correctness is going way too far here. The terms master/slave are also used to describe the relationship between different computer systems. These are pieces of hardware, not people.

Shall we start giving rights to hard drives as well? Maybe they should be allowed to vote? Perhaps should also get vacation time? Wouldn't that be nice: sorry, we can't get any work done today, the computer's on vacation.

  • Reply by Anonymous on Monday, December 01 2003 @ 15:57 CET

    feel free to email this persons office and elt them no how silly this crap is!~

  • Reply by Anonymous on Monday, August 15 2005 @ 21:04 CEST

    Are the terms "Master" and "Slave" neccessary?