Replacing Problematic Terminology
August 20, 2020
By Shanis Windland, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion, VMware
Here at VMware, building a more inclusive and diverse workplace is a company priority. We understand that words matter. What we say (and write), even without ill-will, can have a profound impact on others based on their cultural backgrounds.
As part of our efforts around inclusion, we’re taking a close look to ensure we’re walking the talk to end systemic racism, from changing the way we hire to providing learning and discussion opportunities on difficult topics, such as race and privilege. We’re taking a hard look at what actions we can take in the short- and long-term.
To that end, the company has undertaken a cross-VMware effort to change our standard product, services and marketing terminology with more inclusive language.
There are phrases that have been used in the tech industry for a long time that we’ve identified as insensitive. Because we believe in using inclusive language, we’re undergoing a process to review terms and replace them with an alternative: i.e. blacklist/whitelist to approvelist/denylist and master/slave to main/secondary.
New terminology will impact our software code, manuals, sales materials, Knowledge Base articles, partner communications, marketing materials and other written communications. We know this won’t happen overnight. However, we are committed to this change and have cross-functional leaders who are on point to ensure changes are made as quickly and expeditiously as possible. We’ve also implemented a process to evaluate and adopt alternatives for other potentially problematic terms.
These changes are long overdue. Continued casual usage of these terms normalizes them and desensitizes us to the seriousness of their origin. We are for you, we hear you and we are with you.
Learn more about our VMinclusion, our diversity and inclusion initiative, at https://www.vmware.com/company/diversity.html.