Why we are renaming "whitelist"
Over the past month of June, protesters around the world have spoken out against all forms of racism. We, as a team and a company behind Application Code Reviewer (ACR), discourage any forms of racism, even subtle ones. Therefore we decided to move away from the term "whitelist".
What is wrong with the term whitelist?
To put it simply, terms such as “blacklist” and “whitelist” reinforce the notion that black is bad, while white is good.
To quote Langston Hughes
"About the word black, it has been used to mean something bad for so long... I reckon it all started with a black cat meaning bad luck.... When it came to the unlucky ball on the pool table, the eight-rock, they made it the black ball."
What is the new term for whitelist in ACR?
The selection for a new term was done transparently. Everyone who uses the tool was asked to vote on a word to replace whitelist. In the first round of the vote, there were around 10 candidates as well as a free text field for anyone to suggest their alternative. At the end of the round, we summed up the votes (around 50 of them) and the terms that got the most votes (accepted, allowlist, suppressed) proceeded to a second and final round. And the winner is:
Is renaming a term really going to change anything?
While running the survey we received several comments from Anonymous voters about the proposition. Some of them noted that this rename will not reduce racism.
The ACR R&D team shares the belief that language matters when it comes to diversity and inclusion. On the other hand, we are aware that such changes will not by any means end racism. But that is no excuse not to do them.
Lastly, thanks to everyone that voted in the surveys. It is good to see so much activity in our small community. After all we are building this tool together and for all of us.