When Seattle one day gets around to banning all words, because language is inherently offensive to the illiterate, and everyone is reduced to communicating with grunts and emphatic gestures, an era of true tolerance and nomadic lifestyles will be upon us.
Government workers in the city of Seattle have been advised that the terms “citizen” and “brown bag” are potentially offensive and may no longer be used in official documents and discussions.
KOMO-TV reports that the city’s Office of Civil Rights instructed city workers in a recent internal memo to avoid using the words because some may find them offensive.
“Luckily, we’ve got options,” Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights wrote in the memo obtained by the station. “For ‘citizens,’ how about ‘residents?’”
For Office of Civil Rights how about 1984′s Ministry of Truth. Or the USSR’s Department for Agitation and Propaganda or China’s Chinese Central Propaganda Department.
We’ve got options.
But it’s offensive to call an agency that exists to violate civil rights, the Office for Civil Rights.
In an interview with Seattle’s KIRO Radio, Bronstein said the term “brown bag” has been used historically as a way to judge skin color.
“For a lot of particularly African-American community members, the phrase brown bag does bring up associations with the past when a brown bag was actually used, I understand, to determine if people’s skin color was light enough to allow admission to an event or to come into a party that was being held in a private home,” Bronstein said.
According to the memo, city employees should use the terms “lunch-and-learn” or “sack lunch” instead of “brown bag.”
Bronstein told KIRO Radio the word “citizen” should be avoided because many people who live in Seattle are residents, not citizens.”They are legal residents of the United States and they are residents of Seattle. They pay taxes and if we use a term like citizens in common use, then it doesn’t include a lot of folks,” Bronstein said.