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rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Racists terms in computer parts?

Asked by rpm_pseud0name (8193points) March 29th, 2010

I never knew this, until I was swapping around a bunch of hard drives between computers. Every hard drive has a switch to change it from a master to a slave & vice versa. It’s actually printed on the manufactuerers label. Within the computer setup, the terms pop up again for you to choose which drive to be the master & which to be the slave. I don’t want to come off as sounding like some crazed person who wants to change everything to be politically correct, but seriously, wouldn’t ‘Primary’ & ‘Secondary’ be more appropriate for computer part termonology? Or is there something about computers I don’t know, that would prohibit the use of those terms?

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41 Answers

Keysha's avatar

What do ‘master and slave’ have to do with racism?

WestRiverrat's avatar

Nothing would legally prohibit changing them. It has just been used for so long that it would not be easy or cheap to change them. Also I think Master-Slave is more discriptive of the relationship than primary-secondary.

I don’t see anything racist about the terms.

FirstOfFew's avatar

First: Master and slave are not inherently racist. There were plenty of master/slave pairs that were of the same race prior to American slavery.

Second: Master/Slave more accurately describes the relationship. The master device is in control and tells the slave device when it may participate.

bobloblaw's avatar

No, there is nothing racist about the nomenclature of computer hard drives. Of course it’d be different if it was “White Master” versus “Black Slave,” but, clearly, this is not the case. Remember, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

DarkScribe's avatar

One standard definition of slave is “A device or part of one directly controlled by another.”

(You are coming across as if not crazed, at least somewhat perturbed.) The word slave indicates a status, it has absolutely nothing to do with race.

Are the songs “A slave to love” or ” A slave to the music” racist?

Sarcasm's avatar

Remember, black is master and grey is slave! So it’s not racist.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

You just hit a new level of Political Correctness ! What’s next,you’ll claim it is sexist for some electronic parts to be labeled male and female ! (The male parts usually have prongs and are inserted into the female parts)
*Maybe I would consider what your saying if the master HDD was white & the slave HDD a different darker color.

Dog's avatar

@FirstOfFew Welcome to Fluther!

dpworkin's avatar

In the new post-racial world we now live in, everyone uses SATA drives. No more masters and slaves. (Well, there are still a few white people below the Mason-Dixon line who insist on EIDE.)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The terms “Master” and “Slave” are not racist. Terms specifically designed to insult a persons ethnicity are racist. Not hiring a person because of their ethnicity is racist. Hate crimes committed against a specific ethnicity are racist.

Master and Slave simply depict when one object has total control over the functionality of another object. I use Masters and Slaves every day with my flash equipment in photography. The Master Controller is on my camera. The Slaves are on my flash units. And in all honesty, I am the Master of them all, even as the Slave units are Masters of the flash units.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly “sexist for some electronic parts to be labeled male and female”

Nice catch!

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

I am not some thick headed person who can’t believe there can be more than one definition of a word. I think I was just surprised by the termonology that was used, having never known it before. I now understand why they use it, I guess what I am bothered by is the fact that the person who came up with it, had to think, “okay, this drive is in control of this one, what should I call it? Master & slave.” I feel like if it was my job to name this, master & slave wouldn’t have been at the top of my list.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Damn right ! They should have Political corrects parts eg, alternative lifestyle parts males which can be plugged into males and females with females !!

lilikoi's avatar

@rpmpseudonym It seems pretty logical and well-suited to me. Primary and secondary do not convey quite the same meaning.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rpmpseudonym I feel like if it was my job to name this, master & slave wouldn’t have been at the top of my list.

Why not. What other simple term would you use to describe one device that completely controlled by another, one that had no independent function? While I can understand the association with slavery – human kind – to generally be associated with black races, I can’t see why it has to change meaning from a word describing a purpose to one that is a socially offensive word.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@DarkScribe How about an alternative name like “The Dick Cheney drive and the “W” drive ??!!

bobloblaw's avatar

@rpmpseudonym I wouldn’t worry about the knee-jerk reaction of some posters. I’d say it was good, on your part, to question your own visceral reaction to the naming conventions of the hard drives. I think it was even better that you sought out the perspective of others. I try to do that as much as possible. I commend you.

Keysha's avatar

Host and parasite, maybe?

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@DarkScribe Off the top of my head, dispatch & obey come to mind.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly How about an alternative name like “The Dick Cheney drive and the “W” drive ??!!

No, that wouldn’t work. Some people would instantly throw it against a wall and drives are somewhat fragile.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly I like those too. But DarkScribe is right.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rpmpseudonym Off the top of my head, dispatch & obey come to mind.

But dispatch and obey do not describe the function. Command and obey possibly – but we are pretty well back to master and slave – just semantics.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@DarkScribe but I guess that’s my point. When command & obey are affective, why did they name them master & slave. They deffinitly stand out from the rest of the terms, which is what prompted my question in the first place. Anyways, thanks for informing me on the workings of hard drives. Now excuse me, I’m going to let my hard drives free.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rpmpseudonym why did they name them master & slave.

Why not? It is simple, accurate, everyone can easily grasp the meaning etc. Often the master will control many slaves, command and obey loses precision in those cases.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@rpmpseudonym Also consider, when they were named, there was not the level of political correctness there is now. You should judge the designers by their own times, not ours.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@WestRiverrat The hard drive is an invention coming from the 1960’s. A time where race relations is a bit of a hot topic. Which is where I am trying to understand why they would choose master/slave as terms out of many other possibilities.

dpworkin's avatar

How about “Wife” for the command object and “Husband” for the submit object?

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@dpworkin “WELL” that would not be politically correct either how about alternative lifestyle people ??

dpworkin's avatar

MBA and Intern?

filmfann's avatar

Secondary Data Giver?
Significant Other Diskdrive?
Semi-Hard Drive?

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@filmfann Semi-Hard drive, is that anything like, floppy drive? :)

dpworkin's avatar

Until you rub it.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

That where E-Viagra would be useful !

Zaku's avatar

How about “overlord” and “minion”?
“Dominant” and “submissive”?
“Master” and “slave”? Oh, wait… ;-)

It is interesting that some people have “slave” collapsed with racism to such a degree.

Stop oppressing my hardware!

Someone should tell USA Today or FOX News that SATA drives are Satanic and see if they can get them to publish something.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Zaku SATA drives are Satanic

No, SATA drives are idealistic – they did away with the need for slavery.

thriftymaid's avatar

“I don’t want to come off as sounding like some crazed person who wants to change everything to be politically correct…” Well, you did.

Nullo's avatar

Anytthing can be racist if you want it to be. My advice: don’t worry ‘bout it.

UScitizen's avatar

It is extremely foolish to believe that such terms are racist. Take the chip off your shoulder and relax.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. They are not racist terms. In fact, they are a reminder that slavery is part of human history.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I can’t wait until we get into the “positive” vs. “negative” discussion.

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