It has been a week, hasn’t it?
We’ve all been searching for things to do, things to say, ways to deal. Today, I spent a chunk of my day building a couple of simple bash scripts to remove the Master branch from my git repositories and replace them with Release branches instead. They’re not complicated or feature-complete and I offer no guarantees, but they’re here and here if you want them.
Now the first question has to be… why. I mean they don’t work on GitHub – you have to use a different technique for that. (One I haven’t fully implemented.) So they only work on my private server repositories. I’m literally the only person who will use them. Yet I felt compelled to do it.
Because it’s not enough to say “I’m not racist”. It’s not enough to say “I wish things were better”. The only way we get through this with our souls intact is to say “I am anti-racist”. To actively work on the big and the small things, the ones that are critically, obviously important and also the little tiny things that seem like they don’t matter.
Like eliminating the words “Master” and “Slave” from tech.
I remember the first time I heard about it being a problem. It was in a conversation about Master/Slave relationships in IDE hard drive assignments. (Get off my lawn and cut that hair, you punk kids.) Someone told me I needed to use Primary/Secondary instead, and I just kind of… didn’t get it.
We weren’t talking about people. These were just hard drives. And it was a reasonable description of the relationship and no one around us was even black and… oh. Oh, yeah.
Things aren’t racist based on the audience. If it’s racist, it’s racist. And of course I don’t mean anything by the term, but the fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter if I do or not. The words carry meaning, and words matter. How we use them, how we say them, and even how we completely ignore how we use them and say them.
Of course, writing these scripts and changing my work in this small way still doesn’t make a big difference in the world. But it’s still valuable and useful, and I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Think of it like a couch-to-5K training exercise. Today, eliminate the word Master from some git repositories. Tomorrow, we’ll do something a little bigger. And each day, do a little more to make things just a little big bigger.
Pretty soon, we’re moving mountains.