On Saturday, TMZ reported that the Houston Association of Realtors will no longer use the term "master" when describing the biggest bedroom and bathroom in a home. From now on, the association will describe these areas as "primary" bedrooms or bathrooms.
The change occurred earlier this month after it was called to the public's attention that this term could be referred back to the antebellum United States. During this time, the slaveholding, landowning head of the home—or the "master"—would have his own separate spaces in the house.
Although the change hit the table this year, the Houston Association of Realtors has reportedly been considering revising their listings for years due to the city's large Black population. But this is just a small, symbolic victory since Houston hasn't banned the term "master bedroom/bathroom" and independent realtors can still use the term when listing homes in the city.
Also, this could all be a Gary Payton-esque reach. The term "master" derives from the Latin word "magister" meaning "teacher." Over time it has taken on several meanings that are mostly associated with academia or ownership of knowledge/property. Because it's unclear when the term "master bedroom" first entered the lexicon, it's hard to say that it's directly related to slavery or has an underlying gender bias. Either way, changing the name of a bedroom does little to address the issues of systematic racism and gender equality that plague this country.
As a result, Twitter users took a moment to remind people that they're asking for tangible changes.