Inclusive Language Changes

HashiCorp’s mission statement for diversity and inclusion guides us to foster an inclusive culture where employees are inspired to do their best work and be an organization where we embrace differences to drive innovation and integrate inclusive practices into every aspect of the business to achieve our goals. As we reflect on systemic injustice and racism, we’ve been reviewing areas that we can improve. One area that has emerged is inclusive language. We found several examples where HashiCorp projects or documentation have used language that implies connotations counter to our principles. To quote from the section on kindness, “Long after we forget the details of an interaction, we remember how we felt.” In doing our bit to make a difference, we are identifying language that evokes unintended associations and replacing it with inclusive language.

Why are we making this change?

Inclusive language aims to create a welcoming environment for all by avoiding words that express or imply ideas that are biased or prejudiced to large groups of people. We believe changing the specific language we use to be more inclusive is the right thing to do, aligning with our principles of integrity and kindness. While we know that this is in no way a “cure all” for the social challenges we face in our world today, these changes represent a small, but positive and meaningful improvement.

What specifically is changing?

The following changes are what we have identified so far across our projects and products

  • blacklist/whitelist will change to allowlist/denylist
  • GitHub repository default branch name will change from “Master” to “main”
  • “master” terminology used in HashiCorp Consul and Vault will be replaced

We are continuing to uncover other areas where our products and associated materials may contain non-inclusive language. In addition, we are putting best practices in place such that we don’t inadvertently use language or terminology that perpetuates this issue.

Commitment to our community

We will ensure that there is backwards-compatibility, detailed upgrade guides, and sufficient resourcing for changes that might alter existing workflows. Any changes to the CLI/API that are being phased out will come with a warning around the change and offer time to adjust your workflows to accommodate new naming conventions, commands, or other updates. We will also ensure the documentation details the changes and notifications will go out as appropriate.

Timeline

Our teams will be rolling these changes out incrementally. With this post, we are communicating our intent and providing insight on our approach. We will communicate specific changes with the diligence described in our commitment to our community.

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This is a great initiative! :heart:

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Great initiative!!! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

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This is unnecessary, ideologically charged, disappointing decision.

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I think is very difficult to do or say something that is not ideologically charged, all the language we use is ideologically charged we like it or not, and great examples or it are the former names: master, blacklist, etc. I feel new names are less ideollogically charged than former ones.

On the other hand, I got your point about the “unnecessary” of the refactor. It is unnecessary if you don’t feel personally disappointed by the former names, right? So for you it is simply a pain in the ass for no reason, it puts things to do in your side, i.e, adapting to the change, with nothing in return to you, as you were not upset with the former naming…

As I said, I get your point, but I kindly ask you to broad your vision, former naming have very very harsh connotations, you can document yourself of them, and I am sure that by doing that and putting yourself in the shoes and in the skin of the people that suffered because of that, you will start to be more confortable with the change, even happy with it.

A matter of a mindset change, step out of your confort zone buddy!

12 Likes

Great stuff. Straight forward changes and aligns with a large evolution of how we communicate and work.

Hello! As an African American reading this, I felt it worthwhile to respond.

Not to chastise or make you feel bad because I see the intention in this, and I appreciate that on a personal level. That’s love and know its reciprocated from myself as well.

However, speaking as a black person, we don’t need any symbolic gestures. Its not that it isn’t appreciated, we just don’t need it and it attacks the wrong issue.

Racist ideology espoused verbally or online against myself or my ‘race’ in general is hurtful to see, hear and/or read. But ultimately, that is a facet of life that I am more than willing to accept.

What I can’t accept is:

  1. Knowing that there are so many gifted young black men like me that could change the tech field in ways never before imagined, but nobody is bringing this to them. I’m from Baltimore, I doubt anyone has heard of Hashicorp - and not because you all aren’t popular, but because nobody is showing us this avenue.

  2. Watching people from all over scream how much ‘Black Lives Matter’, without taking initiative as a fellow citizen (if they’re a U.S. citizen, I assume) - to push forward an initiative to bring us into this field or help us craft communities to liaise with what few of us there are here.

  3. Seeing no one attack the Venture Capital investment walled garden in Silicon Valley that sees Series A fundraise totals be awarded to teams led by a white male >90% of the time. Which, at that rate, there’s no possible way that those projects could represent the true top 90% of projects in incubation currently.

We Aren’t Weak or Fragile

Our feelings don’t need to be protected. We’re adults in the same way you are. As a woman, you undoubtedly face unique adversities, antagonisms and injustices that I will never experience due to the privilege of being a man in a world that renders us immune to those things. Yet, I’m sure over a lifetime, you’ve become resilient - perhaps stronger - as a result of learning to persevere in spite of these obstacles and affronts.

In that same way, we black people are equally as capable of doing so.

In Closing

We’re not fighting to be liked. You’re well within you’re right to not like me - even if your reason goes no deeper than the hue of my skin.

The issue is that those ideas. That hatred. These feelings and attitudes toward us are stopping us. They’re hurting us. They’re robbing us of enjoying the same quality of life that others are getting. And that’s inherently unjust.

If You Want to Help

Immerse. Get black friends. Live in a black area. Watch black TV & media. Understand our culture on a deeper level. You can bring perspective with you and perhaps views that we’ve never heard before in our community discourse.

Don’t prescribe us solutions and care from a distance. Be one of the few that are willing to actually willing to interact with us long-term - not just to march or in the aftermath of the latest police shooting gone viral.

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