Inclusive terminology: Knowing better, doing better 

The journey towards inclusion and diversity doesn't end, but is one of continuous improvement.

Inclusion and diversity are strengths. The SAS company culture is built on a foundation of caring for one another and holding ourselves and others accountable. That includes recognition and accountability for where we can improve.

Our work of inclusivity is evolving and continuous. We must frequently re-examine the way we speak, act and communicate. There is always room to do better. We can do better with the language we use, and the terminology associated with our software and supporting materials.

Like other members of our industry, SAS is updating our software terminology to remove language that can perpetuate hurtful prejudices.

The process of updating our software and supporting materials has involved a diverse team of employees in a true attempt to learn and understand more about the unintentional pain and emotions words can cause. For example:

  • Terms such as “whitelist/blacklist” will be replaced with “allowlist/denylist.”
  • The use of “master branch” will be replaced with “main branch.”
  • Other terms such as “manhours” will be replaced with “person hours.”

These are just a few examples of the changes in terminology you will see in upcoming SAS releases. We will continue to seek ways to improve. For more than four decades we have relied on user feedback to make SAS better, and that remains true today.

To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when we know better, we can do better. Please share your thoughts about ways we can continue on our path of knowing better and doing better.

Thank you for helping us to be the company we want to be.


About Author

Gavin Day

Executive Vice President of Corporate Programs, Office of the CEO

As an Executive Vice President within the Office of the CEO, Gavin Day helps define and execute SAS' long-term goals aligned to its vision to be the most trusted analytics partner on the planet. He oversees a multifaceted organization that includes the SAS Office of Public Readiness and Corporate Planning; Corporate Programs and Strategies; Alliances and Channels; Consulting; Technology Partnerships; and field and technology enablement.


  1. Gerhard Buckler on

    Mr Day,

    I applaud you in these efforts. Knowing better, always leads to doing better. The teams at SAS are always a pleasure to work with and work beside. The SAS leadership in NC is greatly valued and appreciated.

    Gerhard Buckler

  2. Shelley Bennett on

    Way to go, guys (I mean people!) You are setting examples for other companies to follow.

  3. I worry about women in the tech sector. A friend in IT said, just tonight she faces harassment. In my statistics education it seemed, I had found a gender balanced discipline. But the IT sector seems very far from balanced.

  4. Sounds like a great start SAS! I would also encourage you to ensure your employees from entry level to executive levels reflect diversity.

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