Recently, GitHub decided to abandon ‘master’ and ‘slave’ terms to replace them with alternatives, to avoid slavery references. That’s a really good move and practice but there are still some serious questions remaining.
You may know that GitHub is owned by Microsoft and follows Microsoft specified terms. This has discriminated against a number of people around the world. Many people in Iran, Syria, Crimea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. are not able to create private repositories or use some basic GitHub functions.
Countries I listed are basically countries that are not following U.S. rules and are under United States sanctions. While GitHub is trying to show that its against racism, many people are restricted to use GitHub service because of their nationality.
Limiting users based on their birthplace, ethnicity, or nationality is racism. If GitHub is doing this because it’s law, GitHub is still racist as it’s following a racist law.
Once upon a time, slave owners/traders were doing something completely legal but does that make slavery OK? Of course not. Not fighting against racism is helping racism. This is not a fight where you can choose to be neutral. This is a fight that you should choose to be with people or against them.
It’s needless to mention that at first, many users were restricted from using GitHub at all and many accounts got banned. If it wasn’t for users’ protests, many users were still unable to even sign-up.
I believe what GitHub is doing, about renaming the master and slave terms, is really good but there are still many questions to be asked from Microsoft (as an example) about equality, equity, and justice.
- Are black (and other colors) employees treated the same way white employees are treated?
- Are black employees get punished or awarded the same as white employees?
- Does skin color have any impact on managers and their behavior?
- Do white employees respect white managers more than black managers?
- Does skin color have any impact on who gets employed, promoted, or fired?
- Do women get paid same as men in same job?
- Does sexuality have any impact on employees or managers behavior?
- How does a racist person get treated for racism?
- Are there any differences in work situations for men and women?
- Are there any differences in work situations for black people and white people?
- Are sexuality, nationality, race, skin color, etc. have an impact on the way of treating others?
- Do you think justice/equality/equity means discrimination for all?
These are the questions we should ask in order to have justice. These are the questions that should be answered to fight racism.
I don’t believe Microsoft cares for these matters as we can see the situations. I don’t believe what GitHub did is more than a show. If you do care about racism and justice, do something, RENAMING DEFAULT BRANCH IS NOT ENOUGH!