<antirez>

antirez 75 days ago. 110808 views.
Today it happened again. A developer, that we’ll call Mark to avoid exposing his real name, read the Redis 5.0 RC5 change log, and was disappointed to see that Redis still uses the “master” and “slave” terminology in order to identify different roles in Redis replication.

I said that I was sorry he was disappointed about that, but at the same time, I don’t believe that terminology out of context is offensive, so if I use master-slave in the context of databases, and I’m not referring in any way to slavery. I originally copied the terms from MySQL, and now they are the way we call things in Redis, and since I do not believe in this battle (I’ll tell you later why), to change the documentation, deprecate the API and add a new one, change the INFO fields, just to make a subset of people that care about those things more happy, do not make sense to me.

After it was clear that I was not interested in his argument, Mark accused me of being fascist. Now I’m Italian, and incidentally my grand grand father was put in jail for years by fascists because he was communist and was against the regime. He was released to die in a couple of months at home. The father of my mother instead went in the north of Italy for II World War, and was able to escape from the Nazis for a miracle. Stayed 5 years as a refugee, and eventually returned home to become the father of my mother. Mark do not care about the terminology he uses against other people, if the matter at hand is to make sure people that may potentially feel offended will not.

Now, it’s time for you to know my political orientation, so that you can put in context my refuse to change terminology. I want my government to be more open to immigration, including economical immigration, I do not accept any racism and I was strongly in favor of “ius soli” law here in Italy. I do not just accept conceptually same-sex marriage, but I really love the beauty that there is in two men or women kissing, making sex, adopting a child. Every day in Facebook and with my social sphere I actively talk about politics in order to push equality. I believe in a systematic bias that our society perpetuates against women, and I’m proud to live in a  country where women are free to not recognize the child as their own after giving birth, in order to have the same rights of the biological father that can go away: this was a big win of the European feminist movement in the 70s, together with the abortion right. I’m proud that in my country there is no death penalty like there is not in the rest of EU, that guns are mostly banned, that there is universal healthcare for free.

I do not believe to be fascist or racist honestly, and I write almost daily about all this things on Facebook with my friends, talk at people on the street, and so forth. For years and years, since I was 16. So, what’s the problem with changing this terminology?

The first problem is that every terminology is offensive in principle, and I don’t want to accept this idea that certain words that are problematic, especially for Americans to make peace with their past, should be banned. For example if I’m terminally ill, the “short living request” terminology may be offensive, it reminds me that I’m going to die, or that my father is going to die. Instead of banning every word out there, we should make the mental effort to do better than the political correctness movement that stops at the surface. So, let’s call it master-slave, and instead make a call for US, where a sizable black population is very poor, to have free healthcare, to have cops that are less biased against non-white people, to stop death penalty. This makes really a difference. For instance Europeans that are a lot less sensible to political correctness, managed to do a much better job on that stuff.

There is more: I believe that political correctness has a puritan root. As such it focuses on formalities, but actually it has a real root of prejudice against others. For instance Mark bullied me because I was not complying with his ideas, showing problems at accepting differences in the way people think. I believe that this environment is making it impossible to have important conversations. For instance nobody at this point want to talk about women in tech and about the systematic bias of women in our society (to the point that recently in Japan it was discovered that women were systematically stopped from entering the best medical schools). People will go away once the discussion starts, because everybody knows that at this point to talk about this matters is a huge PR error, can cost you your job or company. Many, while reading this blog post, are thinking that I’m crazy at writing this stuff, even if they think likewise. Well, I don’t want that the people that did this to the our ability to have conversations will get a free pass to say what to do to others, because conversations is the only way we can make people that yet don't have an open vision to change ideas.

Moreover I don't believe in the right to be offended, because it's a subjective thing. Different groups may feel offended by different things. To save the right of not being offended it becomes basically impossible to say or do anything in the long run. Is this the evolution of our society? A few days ago on Hacker News I discovered I can no longer say "fake news" for instance.

I want a world of equity, opportunities, redistribution of wealth, and open borders. But the way I believe this world can be obtained is not by banning words, nor by stalking people on Twitter so that they comply with your ideology. I’ll continue my local political activity, and I’ll continue to write open source software. I hope that Mark, and the others like Mark, will let me live my life as I decided to do.
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