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INCITS Leads the Way in Adopting Inclusive Terminology in Standards

WASHINGTON – Today, INCITS, a leading U.S. standards organization dedicated to developing information technology standards, announced that any new specifications, standards, documentation and other collateral will be developed without offensive terminology and will instead use inclusive terminology. Some of the commonly used language underpinning industry standards could be considered racially offensive and non-inclusive, and, effective immediately, INCITS will take steps to replace such terms with more inclusive language.

INCITS will now use inclusive terminology to describe technical capabilities and relationships, and will avoid use of insensitive, archaic and non-inclusive terms like: “master” and “slave,” which have been used to describe a model where one device or process controls another as subordinate; “blacklist” to describe something (i.e. users, websites, emails, or applications) blocked or not permitted; and “whitelist” to describe counterparts that are allowed or accepted.

In addition to adopting this change internally, INCITS has urged the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), to encourage broader, global adoption of this change.

“Recognizing that language matters, the words we use to describe technology send messages that can bring people together or isolate and divide them. The technology industry, led by INCITS, should take immediate steps to replace common and potentially offensive terms in industry standards with inclusive alternatives,” said Phil Wennblom, Senior Director of Standards Policy at Intel Corporation and Chair of the INCITS working group on inclusive terminology. “INCITS’ new Principle of Inclusive Terminology sets a clear policy to use inclusive terminology wherever possible, making INCITS standards more welcoming to everyone, enabling more productive collaboration, and setting an important example for the industry.”

In the Principle, INCITS directs new specifications, standards, documentation and other collateral to be developed using inclusive terminology, and calls for existing and legacy specifications and documentation to be updated, where possible, to identify and replace non-inclusive terms with alternatives that are more descriptive and tailored to the technical capability or relationship.


INCITS – the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards – is the central U.S. forum dedicated to creating technology standards for the next generation of innovation.  INCITS members combine their expertise to create the building blocks for globally transformative technologies. From cloud computing to communications, from transportation to health care technologies, INCITS is the place where innovation begins. INCITS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is affiliated with ITI. Visit to learn more.



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