DEI: Diversity, Inclusivity, Equity ved universitetet i Washington

Foto: J Kelly Brito fra Unsplash
Foto: J Kelly Brito fra Unsplash

Jordan Peterson har gått av som professor ved universitetet i Toronto.

I et avskjedsbrev, publisert på hans YouTube-kanal og i den konservative canadiske avisen The National Post, gir han klar beskjed om hvorfor.

Noe av skylden legger han på det som ofte kalles identitetspolitikk. Peterson bruker begrepet «DIE» (Diversity, Inclusivity, Equity). Han mener fokus på mangfold, inkludering og likhet, eller «DIE-ideologien», gjennomsyrer akademia.

Men hva handler denne “DEI” politikken rent konkret om? Jo, blant annet hvilke ord man kan og ikke kan bruke. Nedenfor viser vi dere en liste fra universitetet i Washington USA, og hvordan de forklarer hva som er akseptabelt og ikke.

Men først: universitetets egen forklaring på hvorfor en slik språkpolitikk er nødvendig:

Words matter. Words that reflect racial or other discriminatory bias are contrary to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in UW Information Technology (UW-IT) and at the University of Washington (UW). They undermine the inclusive environment we aim to create in UW-IT and in serving a diverse University community.

UW-IT has joined IT organizations at universities around the country that are involved in activities to replace racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, homophobic or otherwise non-inclusive language scattered throughout materials and resources in the software and information technology fields.

The resources provided in this document are mostly focused on language surrounding technology tools, resources and services, or language that is more likely to be used on web properties or documentation platforms.

How we arrived at this guide

This guide was created with the input of dozens of people, from leadership to service owners and service managers in UW-IT, and was guided by an advisory committee made up of people representing units across the UW and from UW Medicine and UW-IT’s DEI Community of Practice.

As a major educational institution, it’s imperative that we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and one place to start is how we communicate to those who visit our websites. This guide shows our commitment to ensuring our organization, and our websites, continually show respect for everyone.

Så da vet vi hvorfor.

Resultatet av en slik tankegang er dette:

Inclusive Language Guide

Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, Religion, Native/Indigenous Identity

Problem words Suggested Alternative(s) Context
blackout days/dates

black/gray days

blocked days

restricted days

make no changes period


“Blackout dates” are dates when travel rewards and other special discounts or promotions are not available.

Why it’s problematic:

Use of the words “black” for something undesirable, wrong or bad, and light or “white” for desirable, right or good perpetuates concepts that have been used to oppress people of color.

black list (blacklist, black-list)


deny/denied list



In computing, a “blacklist” or “whitelist” is a basic access control mechanism; a “whitelist” allows everyone access, and a “blacklist” denies its members access.

Why it’s problematic:

Use of the words “black” for something undesirable, wrong or bad, and light or “white” for desirable, right or good perpetuates concepts that have been used to oppress people of color.

Using plain language (i.e.,”deny list” or “allow list”) makes the meaning more clear.

white list (whitelist, white-list) allow list






closed box

closed system

opaque glassbox

frosted glass box

mystery box

unknown origin





A “blackbox” is a reference to a physical machine (machine learning algorithms) or testing.

In testing, “white box” indicates the presence of knowns and a clear view, and “black box” indicates unknowns or lack of visibility.

Why it’s problematic:

Because these words are derivatives of racist tropes — “black” for something undesirable, wrong or bad, and light or “white” for desirable, right or good — they perpetuate concepts that have been used to oppress people of color.



open box

open system

glass box

clear box

clear box testing


blackbox/whitebox  blackbox/whitebox:







Black Hat Hacker/ blackhat hacker








unethical hacker



A “blackhat,” “Black Hat” or “blackhat” hacker are criminal hackers that concentrate on malicious breaking of cyber defenses for money or fame.

A “whitehat,” “White Hat” or “whitehat” hacker are ethical hackers who focus on testing cyber defenses as part of an organized corporate development process, cybersecurity plan or strategy.

A “Gray Hat Hacker” is a hacker who exploits a weakness in cyber defense and brings the weakness to the attention of the owner, with the goal of improving security. They don’t have permission to hack into a system; they bring attention to the system owner, so they are straddling between right and wrong. They think they’re doing good, but they’re still doing something illegal.

Why it’s problematic:

Because these words are derivatives of racist tropes — “black” for something undesirable, wrong or bad, and light or “white” for desirable, right or good — they perpetuate concepts that have been used to oppress people of color.


White Hat Hacker/ whitehat hacker



security researcher





ethical hacker


Gray Hat Hacker



legacy status



A “grandfather” clause, “grandfather” policy or “grandfathering” is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule are said to have grandfather rights, acquired rights, or to have been grandfathered in.

Why it’s problematic:

“Grandfathering” or “grandfather clause” was used as a way to exempt some people from a change because of conditions that existed before the change (e.g., we’ve grandfathered some users on an unlimited data plan.”) “Grandfather clause” originated in the American South in the 1890s as a way to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black Americans from voting.







parent (note: the parent/child binary may be helpful in certain contexts, and so consider the association and connotation when used, as it may not be helpful)


in charge






The master-slave relationship in technology usually refers to a system where one — the master — controls or is at the top or head of other copies, processes or systems.

Why it’s problematic:

The master/slave metaphor in technology dates back to at least 1904, describing a sidereal clock system at an observatory in Cape Town, according to a 2007 essay by Ron Eglash, a professor at the University of Michigan. He argued that the words may have been chosen to emphasize the concept of a “free master that did no work and a slave that followed the master’s orders made for a vivid, if ethically suspect, technosocial metaphor.”

Note: Consider the context in which “master” is used, and whether that use is derived from the racist binary “master/slave:” where the “master” controls an inferior process or system.

For example, a Master’s degree or the common use of master in degrees, such as Master of Science, Master of Arts, etc., suggests a mastery of a subject, and thus is not deemed derogatory.

  • Example of proper usage: “She is a master at the game of chess.”

However, if “master” is in reference to a person who is in charge of a group and evokes the offensive “master-slave” dynamic, then “master” should be replaced.

For example, a Kanban flow master facilitates Kanban meetings, continuous improvement initiatives and process reviews. Kanban project management has been evolving in recent years to de-emphasize the master role, and the focus is now on Service Delivery Manager and Service Request Manager.













primary record, file or recording of data/ secondary record, file or recording of data.


master/slave (relationship)















(Kanban) flow master



(Kanban) flow manager


Scrum master



Agile Lead

Agile Program Manager

Agile Coach

Agile Team Facilitator

Scrum Coach

Scrum Teacher

Scrum Leader

Scrum Facilitator

Servant Leader

Scrum Custodian

Scrum Guardian

Scrum Guide

Process Expert

Process Lead


master branch




main branch


webmaster/ Web master
Web product owner

Web manager

Website manager

Product Manager

tribal knowledge institutional knowledge

organizational knowledge

The word “tribe” is sometimes used to mean a well-connected or organized group of people. “Tribal knowledge” refers to the collective information of people who work together for an organization such as employees in a unit. But using forms of tribe in this way are offensive to many American Indian and Alaska Native and world indigenous peoples.Why it’s problematic: In a Western context, the word “tribal” often implies savage and further perpetuates stereotypes of primitiveness, lack of culture and uneducated. Calling people “tribal” is equivalent to a racial stereotype.Institutional knowledge is more accurate when referring to a long-time employee’s understanding of processes and operations. Reserve the use of “Tribal” at the UW to apply specifically to the UW’s acknowledgement of the “Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.”

  • Potentially offensive/non-inclusive example: “Much of what we know about these processes comes from tribal knowledge.”
  • Correction: “Much of what we know about these processes comes from institutional knowledge.”
brown bags lunch and learn

tech talks


A brown bag lunch, sometimes referred to as a brown bag meeting, is an informal training session usually held during lunch, and implies that employees should bring their own lunches from home to participate.

Why it’s problematic:

Brown bags trace back to the “brown paper bag test,” which was traditionally used to judge skin color by certain African-American sororities and fraternities. References to a “brown bag” when we are really referencing a get-together over lunch surfaces an ugly period of American history that can alienate and offend people.

It would be more clear to say: bring your own lunch.

cakewalk (and the shortened “takes the cake”) easy Definition:

A “cakewalk” is an easy victory or task. “Takes the cake” means to win the prize or to rank first.

Why it’s problematic:

The cakewalk was a pre-Civil War dance performed by enslaved people, and the winner of which would be given a cake. This is the original source for the phrases “takes the cake” and “cakewalk.” Because of this history, this word and phrase should be avoided.

first-class citizen

first-class function first-class control

first-class data type






In programming language design, a “first-class citizen” in a given programming language is an entity which supports all the operations generally available to other entities. These operations typically include being passed as an argument, returned from a function, modified and assigned to a variable

Why it’s problematic:

“First-class citizen” implies that this particular value is the best quality or in the highest grade, and thus others under this group are second-class or lower class. Using cultural hierarchies in people-people relationships to denote relationships between things is a form of classism, which is prejudice against or in favor of people belonging to a particular social class.

gyp / gip steal





The word “gypsy” originated as a term used to refer to the Romani (or Roma), a nomadic ethnic group who were characterized as thieves and swindlers. Hence, the term “gyp / gip” is used to refer to the act of stealing.

Why it’s problematic:

All versions of this term should be avoided as they are derogatory to the Romani people.

lower the bar simplify


make more accessible


This phrase is based on the erroneous idea that a company has to relax hiring standards in order to add people from different racial, ethnic, gender backgrounds.

Why it’s problematic:

In fact, in many cases it’s the opposite; companies that have poorly designed hiring practices fail to adequately evaluate highly qualified, and often diverse, candidates.

mantra North Star

elevator pitch

mission statement motto


While “mantra” is a word or sound repeated to aid in concentration or meditation, the word is often used to imply someone’s basic belief or belief that they live and work by.

Why it’s problematic:

Many people in the Buddhist and Hindu community hold this term “mantra” as highly spiritual and religious experience, and is not to be used with nonchalance.


(if used to comment on a specific group of people and how the group would like to be referred to isn’t considered)

Native American

African American

people of color

traditionally underserved community

historically excluded


“Minority” literally means the smaller number or part, or a number that is less than half the whole number. Often “minority” refers to groups of people that are racially or ethnically different from the racial or ethnic “majority.”

Why it’s problematic:

When “minority” is used to refer to other races or abilities, used as a generalized term for “the other” and implies a “less than” attitude toward the community or communities being discussed. For example, the minority neighborhood (when talking about redlined areas of a town); the minority agenda, when people insinuate that the agenda is negative. The nuance and context of how the word is used is important to consider.

Avoid referring to an individual as a “minority” unless in a quotation.

Use either community-specific terms (e.g., “Native American,” “African American,” etc.) or the general term “people of color” when referring to racial or ethnic communities.

When referring to other marginalized communities, clarify which specific community or communities are being discussed.

Potentially offensive/non-inclusive examples:

  • “El Pueblo de Los Ángeles State Historic Park, in the oldest section of Los Angeles, is the location of some of the most significant cultural landmarks of L.A.’s minority.”
  • “That city has several minority neighborhoods.”


  • “El Pueblo de Los Ángeles State Historic Park, in the oldest section of Los Angeles, is the location of some of the most significant cultural landmarks of L.A.’s diverse Latino population.”
  • “That city has several neighborhoods historically affected by red-lining practices.”
mob programming whole team


herd programming


collaborative programming


Mob programming (informally mobbing) is a software development approach where the whole team works on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer.

Why it’s problematic:

The intention was for a general, non-hierarchical group of people to self-organize and by accomplishing tasks “be dangerous.” However, historically, the use of “mob” has a racial component and has been used derogatorily and in a negative way.

native speaker

non-native speaker

(If used to imply a speaker of English who lives in the U.S. or a person who learned English and lives in the U.S., then these words are problematic)

English as a primary language

English as first language

English language learners

English as a secondary language (ESL)


A person who has or hasn’t spoken the language in question from early childhood.

Why it’s problematic:

Over time, as officials have recognized that some of these labels can perpetuate negative or inaccurate narratives, the terminology regarding those whose first language isn’t English has changed and evolved.

English is not the native language of the land occupied by the United States of America.

Other terms better describe people learning English as a secondary language from their primary language. The U.S. Department of Education talks about English language learners (ELL) or just English learners (EL). The Center for Promise, the research institute at America’s Promise, uses students whose first language is not English (FLNE).




Agile expert

charismatic person

talented person



A person who excels in a particular skill or activity.

Why it’s problematic:

These words are culturally appropriative and thus are problematic.

In tech job descriptions, these words can be perceived as more masculine and therefore discourage some groups from applying. These words also don’t identify exactly what qualities and qualifications are being sought.

no can do I can’t do it

Not possible or not feasible (within a time frame, or within the parameters)


“No can do” is a colloquial or slang phrase that means “I cannot do it.”

Why it’s problematic:

What might seem like a folksy, abbreviated version of “I can’t do it” is actually an imitation of Chinese Pidgin English. The phrase dates from the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries, an era when Western attitudes towards the Chinese were markedly racist.

off the reservation out of bounds
out of the norm

To deviate from what’s expected or customary; to behave unexpectedly or independently.

Why it’s problematic:

Native American peoples were restricted to reservations created by the U.S. government, and their freedom was severely limited by the terms of the treaties they were often forced to sign. The term can feel like a slight because it doesn’t acknowledge the origins of the phrase that was used historically in contempt of Native Americans.

open the kimono full disclosure

provide insight into


“Open the kimono” means to reveal what is being planned or to share important information freely.

Why it’s problematic:

A kimono is associated with formal attire in Japanese culture. Over time, this 1970s-era slang has been misinterpreted from myths that certain Japanese warriors would open their robes to show someone that they were not hiding their weapons. Kimonos were also worn by geishas — highly trained hostesses who throughout history have been inaccurately depicted as concubines in various films and books. Both amplify a stereotypical view of Japanese culture.

peanut gallery upper balcony/gallery

other tier

the cheap seats



The upper levels of a balcony, gallery, theater and often the least expensive.

Why it’s problematic:

Peanut gallery originally referred to the balconies of segregated theaters, where African Americans had to sit. Peanuts were introduced to America during the slave trade, and thus became associated with Black people.

pow wow huddle






A North American Indian ceremony involving feasting, singing and dancing.

Why it’s problematic:

Using the word “pow wow” is cultural misappropriation, and ultimately racist.

redline scrap





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