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“Master bedroom” deemed racist, sexist by some

Builders are beginning to use alternative phrases to “master bedroom” as it has been deemed sexist and racist – has political correctness gone too far?

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A classic residential term gets the PC treatment

It has come to light that select people are offended with the common term used to describe the largest bedroom (with its own bathroom) in a house. The term “master bedroom” apparently has people thinking along the lines of sexism (favoring males) and racism (the slave master).

The phrase is now increasingly being replaced with the phrases “owner’s suite,” “owner’s bedroom,” or even “mastre bedroom”. Steve Nardella, senior vice president of operations for Winchester Homes Inc. told the Washington Business Journal, “I imagine it’s not only a more accurate description but also a more politically correct term of art.”

“The terminology has more of an upscale tone to it, particularly in some of the really large homes that truly have a large bedroom, sitting area, enormous walk-in closets, and lavish bathrooms. ‘Owner Suite’ conveys a sense of being distinguished, having ‘made it’ or ‘arrived’ rather than the everyday ‘Master Bedroom'” said Brian Block, managing broker for McLean’s RE/Max Allegiance. Hmm. Okay.

Oh wait, they’re being serious?

Is it just me, or does this seem like some lame April Fool’s joke? Come on, guys… it’s a phrase to describe a room. A bedroom. The homeowner’s main bedroom. But, I guess since we’re all throwing fits about verbiage, I may need to retract the “April Fool’s” statement above. You know, because it made someone think of April showers, when they really wanted to think about May flowers. While we’re at it, why don’t we rename our canine pets, because the word “dog” has been used in a derogatory manner?

Honestly, just like everything else, I say if someone doesn’t like the phrasing – then they shouldn’t use it. I can see it now… a nice young couple was looking at a home, and the Realtor said something along the lines of, “You have got to see the master’s suite!”

They probably just stood there flabbergasted at the Realtor’s blatantly racist term. Or the wife politely retreated to her place in the kitchen, while the man (the master) went and checked out his private room. My point exactly.

This is ridiculousness at its finest

I understand the desire to be politically correct… but this just seems rather petty to me. Then again, maybe that’s why my home (which has been on the market for two months) hasn’t sold yet – I’m probably offending potential buyers with terms such as “living room,” “closet,” and “kitchen.”

My personal consensus is whether the change from “master bedroom” to “owner’s suite” is overdue, smart marketing, just a ridiculous stunt? Most likely it isn’t going to drastically affect a buyer’s decision.

Tasha Salinas is a staff writer at The American Genius, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism from Northeastern University. She is an info geek who reads, talks, & thinks way too much. You don't want to know how long it took her to write this bio.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. David Tipton

    May 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Much of this PC stuff seems to me to be a little over the top.

  2. Mark Hanna

    May 13, 2013 at 10:26 am

    This is nothing new. Dealt with this phrase and many more, e.g., “Country Clubber”, “Established Neighborhood”, “French Doors” and many more. Our major newspaper, “The Philadelphia Inquirer,” had software that tagged terms in advertising. This was back in the late 80s, early 90s!

  3. rolandestrada

    May 14, 2013 at 12:17 am

    It will be Master Bedroom for me until my dying breath. You can take all this PC stuff and flush it.

  4. Miriam Bernstein

    May 14, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Master bedroom was a term that we were not supposed to use because of Fair Housing; I believe it was cleared by HUD a couple of years ago…personally I believe there are better phrases that can be used…

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Opinion Editorials

The case for compassion during Elon Musk’s tumultuous time

(EDITORIAL) Elon Musk has been under fire of late, and has opened up about his challenges, only to be ridiculed and turned into memes. We would like to offer an alternative perspective.

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Elon Musk is no stranger to adversity. The tech giant has ushered in world-changing phenomena including PayPal’s forerunner, literal space-age technology, and the sexiest electric cars on the market. It’s no surprise, then, that Musk has hit a few bumps along the way — and, unlike some unfortunately tortured souls of late, he’s mercifully forthcoming about the resulting mental health challenges.

In light of recent celebrities who have taken their own lives, now seems as good a time as any to remember that Elon Musk is important, and very much a necessary occupant of our world.

Entrepreneurs are often solitary creatures. While one can argue that anyone sitting atop an empire — especially one the size of Elon Musk’s — is never short of people to whom they can speak, the truth is that many such people find themselves isolated from the people they love and guarded against everyone else.

Given Musk’s self-admitted workaholic tendencies and his recent admissions of doubt, it isn’t a stretch to hypothesize that he feels very alone.

He couldn’t be more wrong.

In his time as an entrepreneur, Elon Musk has contributed tremendously to electric car technology. He made electric cars SEXY, for crying out loud — if that isn’t an accomplishment to be proud of, we don’t know what is — all the while working consistently to improve on a vehicle system so astounding that it broke the Consumer Report rating scale. Much of that work is directed toward making the Tesla more accessible for a wider consumer base rather than marketing it selectively (even making his patents public for the advancement of the entire industry).

Of course, manufacturing a borderline objectively perfect electric vehicle wasn’t enough, so Musk proceeded to add several SpaceX accomplishments to his résumé. While Musk’s dream of dying on Mars is still in the distant future, it’s his initiative that stands out: his ability to look at a challenge, resolve to conquer it, and then proceed to do so despite circumstances (and realistic expectations) running counter to that goal.

Regardless of how rich, successful, and/or famous you become, initiative of Musk’s caliber is one trait that is impossible to replicate, and there will always be a place for people like him in our world.

It would be naïve not to address Musk’s recent slip into erratic behavior and the countless controversies following him these days. Other sources are more than capable of disseminating and analyzing Musk’s behavior and any resulting issues, so I’ll just say this: societal pressures and the daily weight of one’s responsibilities are enough to eventually crush any entrepreneur. Add to that the high expectations to which Musk holds himself, and his breakdown in progress doesn’t need elaboration.

What it DOES need is an empathic response.

Internet memes aside, Elon Musk is still a human being who is as susceptible to the same pitfalls that accompany success as anyone else. We’ve already lost too many valuable, impactful members of society because no one recognized the warning signs in time; to lose Elon Musk wouldn’t just be to lose one of the most inspired, driven tech visionaries of the last century—it would be a global tragedy.

For our part, we will continue to appreciate, support, and care for Elon Musk — not because he deserves praise, but because he deserves compassion. We encourage you to do the same.

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Opinion Editorials

How to keep your diverse team from fleeing to competitors

(EDITORIAL) There’s only one way to make your diverse office an inclusive one, and it doesn’t involve any graphs.

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Diversifying your workplace is a necessity both for well-rounded results, improved product feedback, and socially acceptable appearances; unfortunately, too many businesses focus on the latter while completely neglecting the former. There’s only one way to make your diverse office an inclusive one, and it doesn’t involve any graphs.

The bottom line for inclusivity is that you must impart ownership from day one. Having a diverse workplace is useless if you don’t take advantage of the talent you have in order to flesh out and enrich your process, and failing to use your diverse employees’ unique skillsets in practice is a guaranteed way to lose those skillsets to a competitor.

Sadly, fostering a sense of belonging is far easier said than done, and hokey “solutions” like team-building exercises and PowerPoint presentations about inclusion only serve to further the gap between your original team and your diverse team members. Instead of discussing full implementation of your workforce’s talent over coffee, you should just do it.

The easiest way to ensure that your employees all feel included is by giving equal weight to their input. This isn’t to say that your employees need to be patted on the back even when they’re spouting nonsense; it just means that your role should include listening to everyone’s point of view rather than favoring a specific person or group of people — a problem that is all too easy to develop and nearly impossible to see until someone points it out.

Of course, diversification can also refer to accepting ideas which run counter to your own. Nothing will shut down office morale faster than a boss who doesn’t accept multiple channels of consideration.

Remember that your team’s diversity is valuable BECAUSE of its differences in perception, not in spite of them.

Rather than practicing diversity on paper while utilizing the same process, look at your new employees as individual opportunities to branch out.

It’s important to remember that diversity isn’t just about having different genders or races in your office. While you should strive to keep your employees’ cultural backgrounds as widespread as possible, actual diversification results when you’re able to use those employees’ unique abilities and experiences to create a truly multifaceted product.

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Opinion Editorials

The strong case for Texas being technology’s next frontier

(EDITORIAL) Everyone loves Tacos and tech in Austin, but Texas has far more to offer – here’s how the various cities will create the next mecca for the tech world.

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Despite what the movies have told you, Texas is not the place you think it is. Sure, we’ve got cowboys, brisket, and a lot of BBQ, but the Lone Star State is much, much more than clichés. Over the last few decades, Texas has been gaining steam as one of the premier places to live in the country.

While yes, people love a good chicken fried steak or are always looking for an excuse to sneak over to their favorite grocery store, HEB, Texans aren’t sitting idly by when it comes to tech – they’re grabbing the industry by the horns.

Thanks to the state’s business-friendly tax breaks, a year-round predominantly warm weather climate, and a strong state culture, the popularity of Texas makes a lot of sense: Houston, which was once considered a third tier city is about to overthrow Chicago as the third largest in the nation, while also being lauded as our most diverse city.

Let’s repeat it, for all the people in the back: Houston, Texas is more diverse than Los Angeles, or New York.

Affordable neighborhoods are popping up across Houston, which are attracting immigrants from every culture looking for their slice of the American Dream. Houston is seeing explosive growth and a cultural shift away from being a town built on strictly fossil fuels, but now, startups, tech, and umbrella industries are finding their niche in the state’s biggest urban area. Only New York is home to more public companies.

Houston’s medical sector ranks with some of the top care in the world. And with those elite doctors, come the innovative pharmaceutical and medical companies, and the tech that supports them.

When you look at the top twenty metro areas to live right now in the country, four of those cities are in Texas. While some of those reasons are affordability and the signature Texas heat, the state is seeing new residents thanks also to a healthy job market. Since 2010, Texas has added 12.6% more residents, double lapping California’s growth of 6.1%.

Texas’ workforce is bigger than 46 states in the union total population and has doubled in job growth, productivity, and new deals are being struck daily. Texas’ impact on the tech sector is indisputable: Texas has exported more technology than California, again.

Deep in the heart

Startup culture is alive and well in Austin, but while some of our startups are finally beginning to draw VC attention away from Silicon Valley, we know how to slug it out in the land of the bootstrapped beginnings. If your company can thrive in Austin, with so many talented people, and a lot of great ideas, you can make it anywhere (sorry New York, for stealing your platitude).

Austin is still a developing story. As enterprises are opening offices in the capital city, this is helping VCs along the coasts see Austin’s potential as a hub of ideas. The city is still behind the bay area for risk-taking ventures, but given the current climate of investors, there’s a sea change happening.

Giants like Apple, Atlassian, Oracle, Dell, Amazon, Samsung, Facebook, and Google are all occupying space in buildings across the Austin skyline. Enterprise companies are investing heavily into the Austin market, and there are zero signs of a slow down. If you need further proof, just look at the traffic on any of the city’s major highways during rush hour.

Dallas is making a hard play at attracting the top-tiered companies as well. When Amazon head honcho Jeff Bezos announced put out a call for bids for Amazon’s HQ2, many cities made a play for the site, but now that the final cities have been chosen, both Austin and Dallas both stand to score the shopping monolith.

Oculus, TopGolf, and startups like Veryable, Dead Soxy, and Artist Uprising are attracting some of the brightest minds to the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area.

South Texas joins the party

San Antonio is quietly building a case for a burgeoning tech scene, too. It’s not quite there yet on the enterprise or startup level, but the city is widely known for one thing – cybersecurity. Outside of Washington D.C., San Antonio is known as “Cyber Security City USA” to folks in the black hat scene.

San Antonio logged the most substantial growth of all of the Texas cities, adding over 250,000 new residents in 2017 alone. Thanks to a robust military presence, San Antonio is quietly attracting more and more security-minded firms, a feat that’s unique in comparison to what the rest of the state is offering. Military-friendly banking institution USAA is headquartered in San Antonio, as is grocery chain HEB, and Whataburger, with all three companies investing heavily into user experience and mobile applications (aka technology).

If Amazon decides on HQ2 in either Dallas or Austin, that will signal a 200,000+ person addition to the state’s population and economy. That’s a lifetime investment into either city, wherever Bezos, and his board chooses. Coupling that possibility with the already strong presence of Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, and just about every major gas corporation, it’s easy to see why these moves are a huge deal. For the latter, it’s also important to note that every sector is bolstering their websites, their social media footprint, everything that can be done on a laptop is happening – one new job at a time.

As the tech scene develops and changes from a strong west coast-driven model, Texas is benefiting from the change. Many Californians are moving to Texas, which is an article to itself, but one thing remains: the Texas economy has never been stronger, and it’s only improving. The story of tech in Texas is a continual work in progress.

We’re not going to overtake California next year, but we’re making a stand, and people are noticing. If the current economic growth is an indicator, the famous Dairy Queen saying is potent with it’s accuracy: “That’s What I Like About Texas.”

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