The industry’s proposals to avoid appearing racially biased or discriminatory in finance slang have been criticized.
The term ‘black market’ should not be used because it is racist, an umbrella group representing leading UK bankers has said, advocating the use instead of a more tolerant phrase, ‘illegal market.’
UK Finance, a lobby group that represents the interests of British banks and financial-services firms, has issued a list of phrases that banks and financial institutions should avoid using, arising from concerns that many terms and phrases in common usage could be deemed offensive or discriminative.
Apart from the term black market, UK Finance’s inclusivity guide, issued in 2021, suggests that the term ‘black hat,’ used in cyber security to mean an unauthorized user on a network, should be replaced with ‘unethical.’ The lobby group also insists on changing ‘sanity check’ into ‘functional test’ in order not to “infer a level of disability.”
“Two years ago, we issued a report in conjunction with Ernst & Young and Microsoft that looked at the issue of language in technology and cyber security,” a spokesman for UK Finance said, as quoted by The Telegraph.
According to David Postings, the chief executive of UK Finance, the lobby group takes linguistic issues in society “extremely seriously.”
The initiative, however, has not been welcomed universally. Nigel Mills, a Tory MP, called the guide ‘woke nonsense,’ saying: “You’d think bank bosses would have their focus on the country’s economy rather than this.”
Earlier this year, some MPs denounced London Mayor Sadiq Khan after he banned city staff from using gender-specific phrases such as ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ urging them to use ‘people’ or ‘Londoners’ instead.
Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio