Insights

‘Coded’ no more: Building a more diverse tech industry through our words

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FHR
Insights

‘Coded’ no more: Building a more diverse tech industry through our words

Écrit par
FHR

Just this month, TechCrunch brought diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) to the forefront with TC Sessions: Justice 2021. This special virtual event – which our colleague Mubashira Farooqi attended – featured conversations about DE&I in tech, the gig worker experience, the justice system and more in a series of interviews with key figures in the technology community. Some of the speakers included Bo Young Lee, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Uber, Haben Girma, Disability Justice Lawyer, Author & Speaker, Wade Davis, Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix and Deepti Rohatgi, Head of Slack for Good and Public Affairs. They all had very interesting and important viewpoints to share.  

Our big takeaway from the session is that bias exists in the tech sector – as it does in other industries. Racism, sexism and ableism need to be addressed in tech and beyond.  

To make this industry a more diverse and equitable space is no small challenge. However, one thing we can do to make the space more inclusive – starting right now – is to change the language that we use.

Words matter.  

As an agency on a mission to be more inclusive, we have recognized that the tech industry is laden with coded, problematic words and phrases that are entrenched in our common language. Language influences our thoughts, so we need to be conscious of the words we use to describe the people and the world around us.  

For instance, today’s engineering language has inherited terminology that invokes white superiority and insensitivity to the experiences of racial minorities. As we look to shift company practices towards becoming more inclusive, it’s essential to recognize that the words we use are in need of replacement. Here are some of our suggestions for more inclusive language in engineering:

  • Replace Master branch with Main branch
  • Replace Master or Slave hard drives with Primary or Secondary hard drives
  • Replace Whitelist with Allowlist
  • Replace Blacklist with Blocklist or Denylist
  • Replace Man hours with Person hours or Engineer hours
  • Replace Backlog grooming with Backlog refinement
  • Replace Tribal knowledge with Institutional knowledge
  • Replace Grandfathered with Legacy status
  • Replace Dummy variable with Placeholder variable

Using these new terms takes us one step closer to building a more equitable industry.  

Diversity is about more than just who you bring into your organization, it’s about how you empower them to do their best work. Every step a company takes – changing language, shifting processes, expanding its leadership, adding new voices – will help to not only reshape its path forward, but that of our entire industry. From reflecting on language to taking our workshops, we hope you’ll join us in making our industries more inclusive, from the inside out.

If you're interested in participating in an inclusive language workshop to help your team communicate consciously by educating them on the power of words, please contact us here.

Just this month, TechCrunch brought diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) to the forefront with TC Sessions: Justice 2021. This special virtual event – which our colleague Mubashira Farooqi attended – featured conversations about DE&I in tech, the gig worker experience, the justice system and more in a series of interviews with key figures in the technology community. Some of the speakers included Bo Young Lee, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Uber, Haben Girma, Disability Justice Lawyer, Author & Speaker, Wade Davis, Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix and Deepti Rohatgi, Head of Slack for Good and Public Affairs. They all had very interesting and important viewpoints to share.  

Our big takeaway from the session is that bias exists in the tech sector – as it does in other industries. Racism, sexism and ableism need to be addressed in tech and beyond.  

To make this industry a more diverse and equitable space is no small challenge. However, one thing we can do to make the space more inclusive – starting right now – is to change the language that we use.

Words matter.  

As an agency on a mission to be more inclusive, we have recognized that the tech industry is laden with coded, problematic words and phrases that are entrenched in our common language. Language influences our thoughts, so we need to be conscious of the words we use to describe the people and the world around us.  

For instance, today’s engineering language has inherited terminology that invokes white superiority and insensitivity to the experiences of racial minorities. As we look to shift company practices towards becoming more inclusive, it’s essential to recognize that the words we use are in need of replacement. Here are some of our suggestions for more inclusive language in engineering:

  • Replace Master branch with Main branch
  • Replace Master or Slave hard drives with Primary or Secondary hard drives
  • Replace Whitelist with Allowlist
  • Replace Blacklist with Blocklist or Denylist
  • Replace Man hours with Person hours or Engineer hours
  • Replace Backlog grooming with Backlog refinement
  • Replace Tribal knowledge with Institutional knowledge
  • Replace Grandfathered with Legacy status
  • Replace Dummy variable with Placeholder variable

Using these new terms takes us one step closer to building a more equitable industry.  

Diversity is about more than just who you bring into your organization, it’s about how you empower them to do their best work. Every step a company takes – changing language, shifting processes, expanding its leadership, adding new voices – will help to not only reshape its path forward, but that of our entire industry. From reflecting on language to taking our workshops, we hope you’ll join us in making our industries more inclusive, from the inside out.

If you're interested in participating in an inclusive language workshop to help your team communicate consciously by educating them on the power of words, please contact us here.

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