Open Source: promoting racism since the turn of the century [g]
Heh, this is a recent post from the OpenOffice-releases mailing list. Daniel Carrera wrote: > Oscar Wright wrote: > >> To Whom It May Concern >> >> I am an African American and I have used open office >> for three years now and I have always recommended to >> friends and co-workers over the MicroSoft Office >> suite. I was using the thesaurus feature of your >> product when I noticed what I would hope is an >> oversight. I typed in criminal and got the synonym >> black. > > > Good lord! I'm so sorry about this. I just checked with my program and > indeed, when you type in "criminal" and run the thesaurus on it, one of > the options is "black". >
absolutely. we need to add this to the list of 1.1.2 blockers NOW!
> I have been heavily involved in this project for a long time and I > assure you that we do *not* discriminate on the basis of race, colour, > religion, etc. > > I can testify to this personally, as I am a "minority" myself. The > OpenOffice community is the most open and intelligent group of people I > have had the pleasure to work with. > > I will take this up with the appropriate project and try to get this > issue resolved by the next version of OOo. > > >> So I suppose in the minds of the programmers at >> open office my report could just as easily read >> "..dangerous blacks have no business on our city >> streets." > > > I think that the programmers might have been thinking of "black hats" > which is an unfortunate, but nonetheless real term in the language. > > >> I have been trying to think of one single >> instance in which the word black could be a synonym >> for criminal and I have yet to find it. > > > I concur. There isn't one. All I can imagine is that the author meant > to type "black hat" or "black market" or something of the sort. >
the author in this case did his work in the early 1900s in the US, so... we cant really be sure :(
the thesaurus is constructed from Rogets thesaurus using a simple automated transformation. Any bißdirectional associations found in it would also be present in the OOo thesaurus ß there has really been no human review of it, but it seems there should be...
> >> I do not know if this is an oversight or perhaps the opinion of one >> or more of your staff. > > > I assure you it is not an opinion of any of our members (and I know most > of our members personally and have friendships with many). > >> If it is an oversight it needs to be corrected immediately. If it is >> in fact a >> deliberate comment then what you are doing is not only amoral, but >> illegal and > > > I will see to it that it is presented to the proper authorities. > > I am not sure that the authorities would agree that this is a case of > discrimination. Nonetheless, I will try to see this thesaurus corrected. > > Best wishes,