Offensive words of the day: Citizen, Brown Bag

Yes, the terms ‘citizen’ and ‘brown bag’ are under consideration for being replaced in Seattle because they are potentially offensive.  In a culture where feelings are sacred and must not be violated, the natural consequence is to play ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon‘ with names and referent terms.  My guess is there’s a diversity officer somewhere in the city who believes that if he doesn’t find something offensive to ban he isn’t doing his job.

(Fox News) — 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?'”

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.”


Seattle, however, isn’t the only city with an eye on potentially disruptive words.

The New York Post reported in March 2012 that the city’s Department of Education avoids references to words like “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests because they could evoke “unpleasant emotions” among the students.

Dinosaurs, for example, conjures the topic of evolution, which could rile fundamentalists and birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Halloween, meanwhile, suggests an affiliation to Paganism.

I call BS on the claim that a lot of Black members of the community are plagues with memories of a racial connection to brown bags.  In fact, the majority of Black people aren’t as politically correct as the political left would like us to believe.

As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say the vast majority of Americans find political correctness to be a joke.  The only ones who take it seriously are those in the government who feel it’s there job to protect the feelings of the few people who are perpetually offended by nearly everything, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and white paper.

Is it just me, or has political correctness run itself out?  Why are we pandering to the hyper-sensitive?


  1. Do they even ask people whether or not they’re offended? I’m love Jesus, I find dinosaurs fascinating and I really enjoy science – what ridiculousness it is to ban it because apparently I’m offended by it? In the case of “citizen” there doesn’t appear to be any reason behind it; at least the other ones have some form of reason, no matter how ridiculous those reason are of course.

    I propose we limit the entire English language to only enough words to sufficiently communicate. We should aim to avoid invoking any emotion, because emotions are bad and evil and we need to be protected from them. After reading 1984, I was shocked to see how many ideas presented in there are actually closer to reality than I would have ever thought.

  2. With these anointed ones, they are doing so much to run everyone’s lives that it is insane. Is there really ANY words left which someone won’t find “offensive.” Stupid, stupid, stupid. I hate government officials.

  3. I’m offended.

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