Galvanized by the Black Lives Matter protests and movement for racial equality, many companies have resolved to show more respect to marginalized cultures.
That quest has led one logistics technology provider to look more closely at the very terminology used in the IT business. Jaggaer, a North Carolina-based spend management tool developer, launched an initiative in January to end the use of language that may be insensitive to some employees or stakeholders, such as references to historical racial injustices and prejudices.
The company has instructed its development, marketing, communications, and support teams to go through all of its code, documentation, and collateral material to identify and eliminate offensive terms, replacing them with neutral and objective alternatives. For example, the terms “blacklist” and “whitelist” have been replaced with “blocked list” and “safe list.” The term “master-slave system” has been replaced with alternatives like “controller-agent” system. Jaggaer says it is also addressing language that is insensitive based on gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics.
“We want to create an environment that is comfortable for everyone,” Jaggaer CEO Jim Bureau said in a release. “The words we use matter. Whether or not we notice it, language shapes the way we view the world. Adapting our language can be a catalyst for positive change. And let’s face it, some of the terms used in procurement and tech have their origins in systematic oppression and servitude. That is wrong and needs to change.”Jaggaer is now challenging its peers—especially those in the procurement tech space—to follow its lead and banish offensive language.