‘Master’ offends everyone


As I prepare myself for another day of paperwork and proofreading the validation documentation for a brand new TESOL Masters degree. Harvard are removing the title ‘House Master’ from their roster of staff, due to its racist connotations. The BBC report asks the question:

So is the word “master” – which has its roots in the Latin term “magister”, a term for a scholar or teacher, and is found throughout academia from the title of “headmaster” to earning one’s “masters degree” – offensive or inherently racist? Or is this, as one scholar dismissively put it, “PC nonsense” run amok?

In changing the title of the ‘House Master’ to ‘Faculty Dean’, Harvard obviously believe the former.
This is a different stance from that of the British Sociological Association (BSA), who have long stated that the term ‘Old Masters’ is offensive on sexist grounds.
So are the days numbered for the word ‘Master’ in academia? Perhaps, but not before my deadline of 3pm today, so the paperwork remains the same. For now.