Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Sun, 28 February 2021 04:12 UTC

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From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2021 23:12:28 -0500
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To: Keith Moore <>
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
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On Sat, Feb 27, 2021 at 10:58 PM Keith Moore <>

> On 2/27/21 10:53 PM, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
> > The reason I am bringing up the political context directly is that is
> > the only thing that makes these proposals important. We would not be
> > making expensive changes to APIs if this was merely about offense. The
> > reason that we are getting rid of terms like 'master' and 'slave' in
> > protocol specifications is not some urge to follow some abstract left
> > wing fashion. The reason we are eliminating 'master' and 'slave' is
> > because there has been a resurgence of support for the racism and last
> > month a white supremacist carried the banner of the slaver confederacy
> > through the US capitol.
> Not that I disagree entirely (and I'm as livid about the coup attempt as
> anyone), but I do think it's problematic if a global organization is
> expected to cater to conventions of US society and bend to US cultural
> baggage.

Yes and no. It really depends on the issue. The reason this has particular
valency at this particular time is peculiar to the US. The principle is

Most often its other countries that prod us to take sides... Like we have
on censorship and privacy.

But lets take an older example. Back in 500BCE, infant sacrifices were
pretty much universal among the cultures bordering the mediteranean. These
were disrupted somewhat by Alexander's conquests which didn't get as far as
Carthage because he died.

One side effect of this was that by the time Rome and Carthage came into
conflict, while both cities practiced human sacrifice it was on a vastly
greater scale in Carthage, a fact that Rome quickly seized on as a
propaganda weapon.

And once it is decided to make use of the fact that the enemy engages in
some perfidious practice, well you really have to stop doing it at home. So
by the time Hannibal's elephants are marching through the alps, Rome has
completely stopped with the human sacrifice thing. Human sacrifice is the
worst possible thing ever and the fact children were being sacrificed to
Saturn only a few generations earlier is forgotten. Oh and those gladiator
contests... well just don't call them human sacrifices.

Point is that powerful cultural taboos don't have to be recreated in every
country. Once established in one place, doing the right thing can spread