Inclusive IT Language: Replacement Terms

Language, jargon and terminology traditionally used in certain fields or disciplines may be unintentionally offensive. Here are suggested replacement terms for language and terminology often found in information technology.


Master: As noted in this guide, use “master” for an academic accreditation (i.e., mastery of a concept, master’s degree). Don’t use it when it can connote a power differential or positions of authority and subservience involving individuals.

Using colours to describe things is often rooted in racial or ethnic origins or in metaphors that connote differences among and between people. Offensive practices include labelling white as good, black as bad, red as attackers or yellow as not-inclusive third parties.

Information on this page was provided by the U of G Office of the Chief Information Officer. 

Non-Inclusive Term

  • Blackbox testing
  • Whitebox testing
  • Blackhat (hacker)
  • Whitehat (hacker)
  • Blacklist
  • Whitelist
  • Greylist
  • Master/Slave
  • Disable
  • Enable
  • Dummy value
  • Dummy variable
  • Scrum master
  • Webmaster
  • Ticket master
  • Red team
  • White paper
  • War room
  • White space
  • Native feature

Suggested Replacement

  • Closed-box testing
  • Open-box testing
  • Hacker
  • Ethical hacker
  • Block list
  • Allow list
  • Suspicious list
  • Primary/secondary
  • Deactivate
  • Activate
  • Placeholder value
  • Placeholder variable
  • Scrum coach
  • Website administrator
  • Ticket leader
  • Ethical hacking team
  • Expert paper
  • Situation room
  • Empty space
  • Built-in feature