L.A. County Calls ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ Installation Labels Offensive


Contractors installing multiple security devices to a system will have to find a more politically correct way to describe their installation if officials in Los Angeles County have their way. The county’s Office of Affirmative Action Compliance is asking manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to stop using the terms “master” and “slave” on equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive.

Reuters reports the request came after an unidentified county worker spotted a videotape machine carrying devices labeled “master” and “slave” and filed a discrimination complaint. “Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label,” Joe Sandoval, division manager of purchasing and contract services, says in a memo sent to County vendors.

The office says it is undertaking an “exhaustive search” to find all master and slave labels and replace them, though no guidelines have been given for what the replacement labels would say. Sandoval told Reuters that he has received an “avalanche” of complaints from vendors and the public criticizing the request, but said it was nothing more than a request and not an ultimatum.

“I do understand that this term has been an industry standard for years and years and this is nothing more than a plea to vendors to see what they can do,” Sandoval said. “It appears that some folks have taken this a little too literally. But we are culturally sensitive and we have 90,000 employees. We have to take these things seriously.”

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