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The language police is coming!

June 15th 2020

So I just woke up not long ago, and naturally I browse my mastodon timeline, looking at stuff, what happened the other side of the world while I was sleeping…

Github to replace "master" with alternative term to avoid slavery references

Wow, I have to say I am not surprised, knowing the North American great white guilt. My first problem is with this that it's a very American thing to see a word in the modern language which meant something in older times and still looking at it like it's relevant today. It has pasted, the modern world doesn't have slavery anymore! Yes, we have to remember it, where we come from, how far we have come! But it shouldn't dictate the language in our times! That's why you should destroy statues, like you do now! That's maybe for another post…

The article is about specifically changing the term "master" to something else. If you are not a programmer (wait a minute, I am not a programmer either!), master reference to the main source repository of something. I use the term something, because you can have websites, fonts, books and other things on git, not just programs. In this context. it doesn't refer to a master-slave relationship. And context matters!

I am all for changing languages. I see this at my own language (English is my second one). But organized language changes has to come from unity, and I don't think we have one this time. Especially when it has no basis.

Master also refers to somebody who has reached a high rank in some areas of life. Like chess uses it for grandmaster, which is the highest rank, but there are masters too. Computer games also uses this. Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm and other games has master and grandmaster rank.

I checked the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and there are like 15 definitions for the word master, and only one refers to "an owner especially of a slave or animal".

Example from my language

In my own language we often the chess piece pawns, peasants. If you don't know European history, peasants were kind of farmers in the old times, except - depend on which time they lived in - didn't own that much or nothing at all. On the social ladder, they were at the lowest.

People still use this term for chess (not in professional circles), and we still use it to refer somebody who is very rude, who is doing something very inappropriate.

And guess what! Nobody cares! It's just you, dear Americans, who find everything part of your language offensive! Grow up! Read your history, remember it, and move on!

You are changing things for just the sake of change! Do you think by changing master to main, you help the black people?

This was my rant on day 29 of #100daystooffload. Check out the website for how to join if you want to blog, or just read us and enjoy!

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