A google search of the word “master” will generate several options in terms of definition–ranging from those attached to nouns, adjectives and verbs. While some of these definitions hearken back to parts of humanity’s more shameful moments, other connotations offer specifics in terms of achieving excellence in skill sets, gaining control of or overcoming as well as distinguishing a room among other rooms in the places we call home.
Recently, it has been announced that home hunters in the GTA will soon become aware of a change to the property listings in which they seek out their next domicile. An emailed statement made by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s president, Lisa Patel, offered the following by way of clarification;
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says it will use the word “primary” in place of “master,” when referencing the main or principal bedrooms in homes in the coming months. The word “master” is often seen as a reference to racism, sexism and slavery…the change in terminology will apply to any entries in its MLS system, on TRREB.ca and on its Webforms platform, where realtors share forms with clients.
While the rationale is, on one hand, in keeping with the current level of social sensitivity being demonstrated and leading to the removal of beloved children’s books, cartoon characters, and televisions shows, is it not fair to ask how far is too far? When is it too much? Certainly, the painful moments in history that are being referenced are uncomfortable to remember and even harder to look at as the society we have now become. However, does it not behoove us to remember? To never forget that these moments have lead to where we are today–and also, to consider the context in which these references and connotations were created? The discomforts that are engendered–might they not spur important conversations?
While we allow modern perspective to shape our present, at what point do we stop and consider what is a product of its time and what really needs to change? These are the questions I will ponder tonight as I retire to my mas–sorry– primary bedroom.
–with files from the Canadian Press