Monday, December 01, 2003

Rights and Reason: 'Master' and 'Slave'

Los Angeles just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Consider this AP report:

A county official has asked computer and video equipment vendors to consider eliminating the terms "master" and "slave" from equipment because they may be considered offensive.

"Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label," according to an e-mail sent to vendors on Nov. 18. The memo asks manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to change or remove any labels on components "that could be interpreted as discriminatory or offensive in nature."

The county's 39 departments also were told to identify equipment with offensive labels.

"We got a note back from IBM saying thank you for bringing this to our attention and we'll take a look at this," said Joe Sandoval, who wrote the memo. Sandoval is division manager of purchasing and contract services for the county's Internal Services Department.

The term "master" and "slave" --when applied to electronic equipment-- describes one device controlling another.

In May, a black employee of the Probation Department filed a discrimination complaint with the county Office of Affirmative Action Compliance after noticing the words on a videotape machine.

"This individual felt that it was offensive and inappropriate ... given the experiences that this country has gone through in respect to slavery," office director Dennis A. Tafoya said.
I can’t help but marvel at the thought process of the black employee. Did this person look at the “slave” hard drive and think to himself, “All I want to do is work, yet the peripherals remind me of institutional slavery, paralyzing my ability to be productive.” And notice that the employee focuses not the slavery that exists in Africa today, but on “the experiences that this country has gone through.”

Such victimhood! I see a new lobby group here: The National Association for the Advancement of Subservient Peripherals.

Since the LA county Office of Affirmative Action Compliance is obviously home to frivolous discrimination complaints, if I were an employee, I’d file my own complaint. I’d say that the culture of black victimhood that permeates LA government and attempts to make me feel guilty for the actions of my white forbearers and tries to remind me of it in every stupid little thing is offensive and inappropriate.

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