'Blacklist' and 'whitelist' terms banned by UK cyber security agency for being racist

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 2,666   +2,299
Yet, you still can't explain why white list is bad and white rice isn't.

I guess policies don't need to make sense or something. They just need to be put in place without any thought and that's it.

I already know why they did it.

they did it for the same reason the US Armed Forces just banned hatespeech and hate iconography in the form of tattoos or social media.


took them long enough BTW.


If you want to know why they did it, you should address your concerns to:

NCSC
Westminster, London SW1E 5LB, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 300 020 0964
They close at 5PM.
 
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PurpleYoda

Posts: 94   +54
First of I always thought of something that is clean versus something that is dirty, so two contrasting things, like someone said day / night or heaven and hell, never in terms of race! Second of all, this will create an avalanche where everyone will try to start follow in the footsteps, so soon someone will have a problem with blackhat seo technics, too! All of this is nothing else but a distraction from problems at hand and clearly it’s working, ppl will talk more about that than other more pressing and important matters, guaranteed! What a bunch of nonsense! Here in UK they no longer use the term Santa Clause, they teach kids about Father Christmas instead, so that kids of other religions don’t feel offended... talking about bulls*it! They just forgot there is still the Christmas part in it so I’m sure someone will realise soon and we will have Father Winter, soon just like they used to have in Communist Russia... Pathetic, and to think UK used to consider itself as center of Europe, a political power to be reckoned with. Now all they are is scared shi*less not to offend someone by accident... Pathetic!

What about being in the red when you’re in trouble or in the black when you are in the clear!?!? This is the exact opposite of the connection they are trying to suggest!
 
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brucek

Posts: 345   +396
The more I think about it the less convinced I am of the origin of these terms. If white was universally good and black was universally bad, then how come white label is generic while black label is top shelf? Why is the white casino chip usually the least valuable ($1) while the black chip among the most ($100). Why is black tie the most fashionable while a white t-shirt is the least? Why is the most elite credit card tier the black card, while there isn't even a white card at all? Why do the most advanced martial artists denote their skill with a black belt, while the novices are white belts?

I'm still open to hearing from an expert on the origin of blacklist/whitelist specifically, but I suspect it's at least as likely that this is a case of retroactively assigning current concerns to prior language, vs. it being a correct analysis of how language moved forward based on then-contemporary thought.

And I continue to think that much more relevant than all the above, is the universal human and pre-human experience of day vs. night, with black's primary influences and connotations being dark/night, not race at all.
 

Adi6293

Posts: 435   +469
I already know why they did it.

they did it for the same reason the US Armed Forces just banned hatespeech and hate iconography in the form of tattoos or social media.


took them long enough BTW.


If you want to know why they did it, you should address your concerns to:

NCSC
Westminster, London SW1E 5LB, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 300 020 0964
They close at 5PM.
I honestly don't know if you are on the wind up here or you are really that silly to actually agree with this?
 
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These are definitions based on 'books' terminology. Whitebook, Redbook, Blackbook used in global organizations, military and civilian for decades. The list's relate to standard's defined in those books. Not racist even remotely but an easily remembered set of definitions using colours for non-cryptic related sets of information. Should we start refererring to colors by their wavelengths instead ? It is how the word is used not the word itself. Prefixing or suffixing a word with phrases like 'supremacy' is where the context changes dramatically, not the word itself. I have used the phrases allow and deny in some cases and blacklist and whitelist in others. It also comes from a typographical definition used in newspaper production decades ago relating to the print production. Still, anything remotely emotive should of course be banished from use as we are all tech brained robots and no longer human beings when it comes to cyber related definitions of any kind. All definitions should relate to a 128 character numeric based GUID from now on for everything remotely emotive. That should fix it.
 
How? Did they invent the word "white" that very moment they invented white supremacy? I thought the word white is like a few thousand years old, but I might be wrong.

Don't you see? "White" in the context of white supremacy denotes a racist phenomenon. While white rice does not. Second, speaking about white supremacy does not turn you into a racist automatically. If it did, you'd be a racist already, because you merely spoke the word. Does that make sense to you? Is the concept of context that hard to grasp for you? Or do you really want to stick to primitive pattern matching and ban white rice too? Where do you draw the line?

I don’t know if you’re being intentionally obtuse but it’s not hard to determine the difference between white rice being used to describe a rice that is white, (same as brown rice) a whitelist used to list things that are okay or acceptable, and a blacklist used to list things that are deemed unacceptable, bad etc


I personally think this is unnecessary given the context BUT this is definitely an issue across a lot of contexts. a lot of you get so up in arms something so small and inconsequential (once this is established for awhile nobody will care, seriously) you’d think you were the “mentally ill pariahs” described above
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 2,666   +2,299
I don’t know if you’re being intentionally obtuse but it’s not hard to determine the difference between white rice being used to describe a rice that is white, (same as brown rice) a whitelist used to list things that are okay or acceptable, and a blacklist used to list things that are deemed unacceptable, bad etc

Thank you.

I appreciate your comment.

I completely agree with you.

Those that don't see it either don't want to or don't care.
 
This article seeks to divide and provoke.

A reasonable request and a (broadly reasonable) response from NCSC. It's easy to implement and should just crack on.

But the terms aren't racist. And calling them so, is to make people that have been using them for years bridle at the suggestion that they somehow are. The NCSC is right to make the decision, but wrong to suggest that they are 'stamping out racism'. They're not. They're just noting the issue, and being considerate.

While they're not racist (the etymology doesn't hold this up), they do indicate a positive and negative status. So they can contribute to a narrative - right or wrong. Recognise it and move on.

The problem with these changes when they're handled badly, is that in a couple of months or years time when someone inadvertently and without malice uses the term, someone somewhere will jump down their throat and insinuate that they are racist. That helps no-one. What it does is make people justify their position (understandably), and argue why it's not the case. I think a bunch of the arguments above are just that. I get it, and I'll be honest, if I wasn't post 33, I can totally imagine doing it myself. But I also know that doing that just creates cover for those people that are actually racist, who are arguing it for their own reasons.

So be kind when implementing it, and find more important things to get excited about.

Incidentally, the argument of black chips and black belts isn't entirely analogous. They're not binary or 'opposites'. There are other colours of belts and chips, and so the distinction isn't as overt. And when it comes to Black Tie, the opposite isn't a white T-shirt. White Tie is considered more formal and 'elite'. Need to find an example of things being called just white or just black where black is positive. They don't come to mind easily, though.
 

OrumusST

Posts: 9   +16
When companies expend resources to combat made up problems that is a company I want no business with. Black List and White List have nothing to do with race. You don't need lists to identify colors. Also Balck sheep have nothing to do with race either, rather the fact that black sheep are rare compared to white sheep which is why the terms means someone who is different from normal. But we all know this. And so do they. This is just another company who hired some people who's sole job is to make up problems to justify their positions. And they get hired because political correctness is a shakedown. Just hire these people so everyone can know how progressive your company is or else.....
 

Hexic

Posts: 689   +609
TechSpot Elite
1. Grasping at straws, at best

2. Using real tax money to change documentation statuses that literally reflect English colors, because.. progressive(?).

3. Guess what fuels changes to normal procedures on the topic of racism? Racism itself.

Perhaps the UK should focus on themselves exiting the EU and their significant social/economic problems of today, rather than worry about artificially created racism in... Colors.
 
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I always thought that to be blacklisted meant that your name had been taken and written (in black ink) on a list of undesirables. As in criminals or troublemakers. Same goes for having a black mark by your name in reference to a register and nominal roll and usually indicated an absence or lateness.

No idea how you can twist that into something to do with racism.
 
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brucek

Posts: 345   +396
If black and white terminology was really primarily about hate and racism, I really don't see how introducing additional colors into the spectrum would change the direction of the scale. As numerous examples have now pointed out, there's ample reason to believe many of these terms are driven by other factors.

If it were my coworker and I believed they were sincerely offended, I'd be happy to change because I care more about a happy workplace than a minor matter of terminology. But as I was precisely the type of child who would seek to use what I perceived to be adult's silliness against them, I have to wonder if this complaint was sincere or just a social hacker like I used to be trying to cause some mischief. How far will this go? What if the complaint were against a bride for wearing white, or for funeral mourners for wearing black?
 

cuerdc

Posts: 204   +55
People will take offence in anything nowadays, half of the time people preaching racism are being racist themselves people are people regardless of colour references like these just try to highlight differences between people when there is none.
Unless all the people on thier allow and deny lists are actually people of specific skin colour then we would have a problem.
I am curious what the list is for though and the tv series the blacklist has alot to answer for.
 
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Damocles

Posts: 27   +19
This is crackers. Political correctness gone mad. Have these people got nothing better to do with their time? We're in the middle of a pandemic and this is all they can come up with? I despair.
 
Some of you need to stop for a second and consider the fact that this entire article is only about "whitelist" and "blacklist". It isn't about rice, casino chips, or any other irrelevant example that you're pulling from your rear end.

Then you should ask whether this makes sense when restricted to only "whitelist" and "blacklist". When the definition of "whitelist" is something to be allowed or good, and the definition of "blacklist" is something to be banned or bad, is there a compelling reason to assign colors to the terms to begin with? If so, you should start wondering why - and if you come to the conclusion that colors are appropriate to use, which colors should be used. Once you've done that, you might want to take another minute to ask yourself why you came to those conclusions.
 
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Lounds

Posts: 408   +301
My initial reaction was to say this is ridiculous but then I'm a white male living in a very white working class town in the UK. Allow list and deny list is perfectly logical as well. If you do look up the term white and black list it origins are from ancient Greece which they would use for voting with black balls and white balls, so I assume that was taken up by the Romans as white/black list and then entered the English language from when the Romans invaded Great Britain.
 
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Zor Ven

Posts: 11   +7
A large amount of racism is built into the language itself.

White things are considered positive.

Black things are considered negative.

White and Black aren't even "colors". White is all color combined and Black is absence of light.

It's about someone addressed these racist terms.

Bravo.
In the accounting field, "in the black" is a good thing - is it still racist?