[mythtv-users] The historical roots of our computer terms

Yeechang Lee ylee at columbia.edu
Sun Jun 7 21:22:13 UTC 2020

Hika van den Hoven says:
> Just as white and black in white/blacklist has nothing tot do with
> race. But that is not the issue.

But that is the issue. Why should we kowtow to people who don't understand or don't care about history and etymology?

The vast majority of historical slavery is not whites enslaving blacks, but everyone enslaving everyone (including themselves). As Tim said, Romans took Africans, Germans, and Britons as slaves, and conversely were willing to grant them citizenship if they purchased it or received it from their owners. For centuries Vikings took Britons and other Europeans into slavery and sold them at markets all around Eurasia. When the Dutch were expelled from Taiwan in the 17th century the Taiwanese took remaining European women as slaves. For hundreds of years, into the 19th century, north Africans took both black Africans and white Europeans into slavery and sold them at markets. During World War II Germans used Jews and Japanese used Westerners as sex and/or work slaves.

> Within the original meaning this is a nonsense discussion, but in
> the experienced hurt it is a very real one.  If in such little
> things you can help people...

Where do you draw the line? There will always, always be a small group that takes offense at anything and everything. Who gets to decide whom to listen to, and when?

The origin of the word "blacklist" has nothing to do with Africans or slavery, nor "whitelist" with alleged superiority of whites over others.

> In this respect is black Friday much darker as in its original
> meaning it was a slave sale!

"Black Friday" has nothing to do with races or slavery, either; "black" has for centuries in English been an adjective to describe disaster (again, nothing to do with race or slavery)[1]; see the likes of "black Tuesday" to describe stock market crashes. 1950s Philadelphia police described the large shopping crowds on the day after Thanksgiving as "black Friday", in other words a difficult situation. Retailers turned this into a positive description in hopes of attracting customers.

I rhetorically asked earlier "Who gets to decide whom to listen to, and when?" The answer is clear, actually; as Ian said, ultimately it is up to the developers. If they choose to remove master/slave terminology from backends it is up to them. If they choose to call them "George" and "Ralph" it is up to them. Conversely, if they do not make a change they should not be considered, or be denounced, as white supremacists/racists/Nazis.

[1] On the other hand, "in the black" means to be profitable, and the "All Blacks" are New Zealand's beloved athletic teams.

Frontend:		Apple MacBook Pro 2012, Nvidia Shield 2017
Backend:		HP Microserver N40L 1.5GHz with 4x3TB HDDs
Tuners:			Two over-the-air ATSC inputs with multirec

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list