August 27, 2020 – The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is continuing to work to create a more “inclusive” environment within the workplaces, whether that is at sea or at home. Following survey with over 18,000 respondents, the RCN has chosen a new English rank designation for its junior ranks that will result in more gender-neutral terms than the current titles, which are not reflective of the modern, “progressive” service of RCN today.
The RCN’s junior ranks will soon be known as Sailor Third Class (formerly Ordinary Seaman), Sailor Second Class (formerly Able Seaman), Sailor First Class (formerly Leading Seaman), and Master Sailor (formerly Master Seaman).
On June 12, 2020, the Washington Post has this to say about the term “master.”
Like countless U.S. businesses, tech companies lately have been showing their support for racial justice, filling their websites and social media feeds with uplifting Black Lives Matter messages.
Unlike other U.S. businesses, the tech industry has a “master” and “slave” problem.
That’s what many tech companies call software components — “master” and “slave” is written into the computer code — wherein one process controls another. Not “controller” and “follower,” say, or “manager” and “worker.” Should an African American software developer be required to write code wherein a master process commands slaves?
Concern about the tech industry’s use of master/slave terminology has been simmering for years. In 2003, Los Angeles County asked vendors to stop using it. Some companies made changes; others did not. So why shouldn’t the focus stay on the companies that refuse?
These changes help retain the history of these roles and aligns the English rank designation with the existing ranks in French. These new rank designations will be effective upon the issuance of a CANFORGEN in early September. At that point, the junior ranks will begin referring to shipmates using the new rank designations.
The official announcement said, “By ensuring that the RCN continues to be an accepting and inclusive organization, we can demonstrate to Canadians that we uphold the values they hold as the RCN continues to protect them, both at home and abroad.” It appears bilingualism trumps racism in the woke halls of Ottawa.
Official DND graphic