During a weekly team meeting at our company, a subject was raised that made me pause and reflect: the term "post-mortem". Used to describe post-incident analysis. Someone raised that this language might resonate differently for someone who recently lost a loved one.
Years ago, we already moved away from using terms like "master", "slave", "blacklist", and "whitelist". Once common in the tech world, these words began to feel outdated and inappropriate due to their racial connotations. Like most companies, we decided to replace these terms with "main", "secondary", "allowlist", and "disallow list."
While those changes have been very well adopted in the industry, I have yet to realise the connotation of a post-mortem. I began to explore other terms that might carry negative or painful implications: "blind spot" vs "unseen area" or "Manned" vs "Staffed".
That moment during that meeting reminded me again that our language is integral to creating an inclusive environment. The shift in our language was not a one-time event but an ongoing journey. It reminded me that we must continue to be aware of the impact of our words, not just within our industry but in all aspects of our lives.
It is not just about changing terminology; it is about listening, learning, and respecting the diverse perspectives within our team. By embracing these changes, we strengthen our community and reconfirm our commitment to empathy and inclusiveness.
Ultimately, it was a valuable lesson in compassion and understanding that transcended beyond code and technology. It's a lesson that we continue to carry with us, mindful of the power of language and our responsibility to use it wisely.