The Times They Are a-Changin'

GlennDJ

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2022
3
7
Like many of you, I have been involved in technology since the early 1970s. I have taught at the college and university levels, and currently am an adjunct instructor. One of my major concerns has been the bias and racist terminology that still exists within our field. For example, current tech-based textbooks still refer to Master/Slave configurations, or allowing "good" websites by marking them in white lists, while barring "bad" website through black lists. There are many other examples found in our field. Many years ago I started to update my lectures and presentations to reflect inclusiveness by removing biased, racist, and negative concepts. I am interested in working with other instructors in updating how we present technology in today's world. Hopefully, we can also convince textbook publishers to update how they present technology.
 

Michael Schmitz

Well-known member
Aug 9, 2021
121
110
Germany
www.linkedin.com
Hello Glenn,
you have seen this one Ressource here on CIN? It is the Comptia Release.
While i always found Master / Slave not appropriate (in the US buying a House it is still call Master Bedroom for the Parents (which i, as European find much more radical), i think changing BlackHole (what does the Astronomy People do there?) not as useful, while i don`t find that not related to People`s Color.
Books writing will not be changed, so People need to still learn in the next 5-10 Years these terms, to know what it meant so far...
It will not go away in a rush.
So, what do you have in Mind?

Michael
 

GlennDJ

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2022
3
7
Thanks for the link Michael. The majority of my students are minorities, and I also start off my introduction to IT with history of terminology and concepts. I contacted my textbook publisher and asked when they were going to make their publications more inclusive. I will keep you posted. CompTIA, being a .org should take the lead, and convince textbook publishers and instructors to take the lead. In the last few years my male/female student ratio was at 50/50, but with the Covid Reset, I the mix is almost 70/30 female to male. It has been my female students who are pushing for more inclusive changes within technology.

Maybe you and I can start the movement for a more-inclusive tech world starting with academics. Also, I am was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the U.S. many years ago with my family.
 
CompTIA is out in front on this. As I learned from working on the Pentest+ Labs last year and mentioned in the PenTest+ TTT last night, they are moving away from such terms. For example, using known vs unknown tests in place of whitebox or blackbox. But I agree with others, these terms will not go away for some time and will need to be covered so students understand their meaning in our field even as we move towards other language.
 

GlennDJ

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2022
3
7
Thanks for your comments and observations. What I have done is created a Then vs Now dictionary of computer terms that I share with students. I also mention in my lecture notes, I use my version of the new term (since there is no consensus yet on what terms to use), with footnotes to the outdated term. I am glad that CompTIA is taking the lead, and hope that they will issue some guidelines on for dealing with computer terminology that is biased and racist. I recommend that the cert exams use the alternative terminology and let the textbooks catch up when new editions are published. There are enough instructors on this site to assist in assembling a more-inclusive, non-biased tech dictionary.
 
Like many of you, I have been involved in technology since the early 1970s. I have taught at the college and university levels, and currently am an adjunct instructor. One of my major concerns has been the bias and racist terminology that still exists within our field. For example, current tech-based textbooks still refer to Master/Slave configurations, or allowing "good" websites by marking them in white lists, while barring "bad" website through black lists. There are many other examples found in our field. Many years ago I started to update my lectures and presentations to reflect inclusiveness by removing biased, racist, and negative concepts. I am interested in working with other instructors in updating how we present technology in today's world. Hopefully, we can also convince textbook publishers to update how they present technology.
1970? wow! that was before i was born. its quite vital to have people like you in these kind of forums. Am encourage and motivated.
 

Jill West

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2019
19
18
Dalton, GA
Thanks for the link Michael. The majority of my students are minorities, and I also start off my introduction to IT with history of terminology and concepts. I contacted my textbook publisher and asked when they were going to make their publications more inclusive. I will keep you posted. CompTIA, being a .org should take the lead, and convince textbook publishers and instructors to take the lead. In the last few years my male/female student ratio was at 50/50, but with the Covid Reset, I the mix is almost 70/30 female to male. It has been my female students who are pushing for more inclusive changes within technology.

Maybe you and I can start the movement for a more-inclusive tech world starting with academics. Also, I am was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the U.S. many years ago with my family.
Great points, thanks for posting on this. I'm not sure which publisher you have in mind. I know Cengage is making sweeping changes on this front, even implementing extensive training for editors to make sure the language is cleaned up and authors receive guidance from the start of authoring throughout the entire process.
 
Ditto what Jill said about Cengage, and what Lee mentioned about CompTIA.
The last 2 books I wrote for Cengage used an updated style/copyeditor guide that used inclusive language (both the dev editor and copyeditor used this guide when performing edits). Similarly, I noticed that the new CompTIA inclusive term list was used in the last few exams I wrote (CySA+ and Security+).
 
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CompTIA is out in front on this. As I learned from working on the Pentest+ Labs last year and mentioned in the PenTest+ TTT last night, they are moving away from such terms. For example, using known vs unknown tests in place of whitebox or blackbox. But I agree with others, these terms will not go away for some time and will need to be covered so students understand their meaning in our field even as we move towards other language.
I've always assumed white box and black box testing referred to seeing everything with the lights on vs. being completely in the dark.

Never once associated it with race.

I quit referring to master/slave drive configurations years ago and call them primary/secondary.

Still trying to come up with a new name for male/female connectors.
 
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Michael Schmitz

Well-known member
Aug 9, 2021
121
110
Germany
www.linkedin.com
I've always assumed white box and black box testing referred to seeing everything with the lights on vs. being completely in the dark.

Never once associated it with race.

I quit referring to master/slave drive configurations years ago and call them primary/secondary.

Still trying to come up with a new name for male/female connectors.
Positiv / Negativ connector or Plus / Minus?
Empty / Full ?
Not sure what will work there as Description?
Michael
 

MonaS

Well-known member
Nov 14, 2019
4
1
Like many of you, I have been involved in technology since the early 1970s. I have taught at the college and university levels, and currently am an adjunct instructor. One of my major concerns has been the bias and racist terminology that still exists within our field. For example, current tech-based textbooks still refer to Master/Slave configurations, or allowing "good" websites by marking them in white lists, while barring "bad" website through black lists. There are many other examples found in our field. Many years ago I started to update my lectures and presentations to reflect inclusiveness by removing biased, racist, and negative concepts. I am interested in working with other instructors in updating how we present technology in today's world. Hopefully, we can also convince textbook publishers to update how they present technology.
Hi Glenn,

Like you I have changed the language by using alternate terminology. There are only a few terms that remain that we are forced to use. For good instructors the goal should be to teach the student how these devices function and what the intended purpose is for the service or device. If we do a much better of that using that alternate language the student will have no problem gaining the knowledge. Example: White box testing is also called open-box, clear box, structural, and codebase testing. Black box testing is also called closed-box, data driven, specification based, behavioral, and functional testing. Gray testing is not as offensive but it all has other names such as translucent, matrix, regression, and pattern testing. I'm sure there are other examples this is just some that I use. Also, may programming languages have replaced Master with Primary and Slave with Replica, Standby, Secondary, or Follower. In addition, black listing and white listing has long used the terms deny/allow list.
 
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