Seattle Workers Told Not To Use Offensive Terms Like “Citizen” Or “Brown Bag”

brown-bag-lunch2Seattle_sealWe have previously followed government officials who are ordering the removal of basic words that they deem offensive. Thus, we saw how “hold down the fort” have been declared unacceptable by Obama Administration officials as racist. In Seattle, the language police have added terms like “citizen” and “brown bag” as racist or offensive. They are to be banned from public documents and discussions by order of the Seattle officials in the city’s Office of Civil Rights. By the way, they might want to start with the city council, which routinely holds “brown bag” lunches.


We have seen media organizations ban the use of “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrant” to describe people here illegally. Indeed, you cannot use “illegal” but rather “undocumented” in publications or statements in major media outlets. However, now even the term “citizen” is unacceptable as offensive even though it describes a legal status. It is also found in the United States Constitution. It is not clear whether the Office of Civil Rights will now substitute words in such passages as:

Article 1: “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. . . . No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”

Article 2, Section 1:“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Fourteenth Amendment: Section 1. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States . . . “

I am not sure what we will do with showings of movies like “Citizen Kane” at the public library. “Documented Worker Kane” or “Resident Kane” just doesn’t seem to capture the spirit.

Then there is “brown bag.” This term originated with . . . wait for it . . . the use of bags that are brown. That’s right, paper bags have been brown. People have taken their lunches in brown paper bags for decades. However, the office of Civil Rights found someone offended by that term because “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.”

I find this perfectly insane but Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights assures everyone that “Luckily, we’ve got options” and can use other words instead. For example, the office is telling workers that instead of using “brown bag” city employees should use the terms “lunch-and-learn” or “sack lunch.” Lunch-and-Learn? I am not even sure what that is.

300px-Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410_by_JN_Sylvestre_1890As for sack, it is not an option for me. I find it offensive. I am half Italian and I am still smarting over the sacking of Rome not once but repeatedly in 3990 BC (Gauls), 410 (Visigoths), 455 (Geiseric), 546 (Ostrogoths), 846 (Saracens), 1084 (Normans) and 1527 (Holy Roman mutineers). When ever I hear “sack” I am instinctively thrown into a panic and try to flee to a catacomb. I cannot pass a “sack a suds” without instinctively looking for Visogoths. Indeed, due to the prior sackings, I find the use of “gall” and “normal” offensive as too close to those people in 3990 BC and 1084.

What I do not understand is how in a period of economic difficulty with people without jobs and basic services, we still have people spending their time trying to outlaw “brown bag” and “citizen” from common usage. That is what I find offensive.

Source: KOMO

61 thoughts on “Seattle Workers Told Not To Use Offensive Terms Like “Citizen” Or “Brown Bag””

  1. I think part of the cause is the difficult economic times. People who are already scared or insecure are more likely to see signs of exclusion. Politicians need to be seen to do something but are frozen by economic concerns and partisan differences.

  2. The only word missing is “liberal” but, heck, I’ll play.

    Let’s add some fuel to the indignant fire with this report out of New York City:

    “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.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/out_of_the_question_YegJJGCOo33j0CQsccdZuL

  3. when the state starts outlawing words and concepts, that is a very bad thing and a direct 1st amendment violation. But then they are just following in the footsteps of the Constitutional usurper in the white house.

    In the left’s mad dash to do all things for all people they forgot that force must be involved. Or maybe they didnt?

  4. If you are offended by words, it’s because you have chosen to be. The mental state of “being offended” is always a choice.

    It is human nature, even in Seattle, to now use banned words on purpose.

  5. How do people get this way? If we are going to ban things because they were misappropriated for an offensive use once or twice then there are other things that need to be banned. The KKK burned crosses on peoples’ lawns, so let’s ban any depiction of a cross.

  6. I think you are missing their point. They didn’t say to never, ever use “citizen” in any context. They said to use a broader term, like resident, when its being used in a way that could apply to people who are not citizens (like legal immigrants, tourists, temporary workers, resident students with visas, etc.) That seems totally reasonable.

    The brown bag thing does seem silly, though.

  7. Even when I take stuff to work in a recycled plastic bag… I prefer to use the term brown baggin…. Come on this is offensive….to me….

  8. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Do not let WordPress get on to any of this Seattle apCray or we will have to resort to Pig Latin on every comment. They named that guy Citizen Kane because he was a sugar cane picker.

  9. How about we sack those nitwits? They clearly have WAY too much time on their hands. I am in favor of moderating offensive language that includes hurtful racist, sexist and ad hominem slurs, but there reaches a point where civility gives way to insanity.

    OOPS! I said “insanity.” I am sure that is offensive to somebody, somewhere.

  10. How are they to deal with the National Association For The Advancement of Colored People? It seems antiquated to me. Of course what comes round, goes around. And what is round may also be offensive to these people. “brown baggin it” is a union term. Seattle: Pirate Territory.

  11. I have hereby removed the word “Seattle” from my vocabulary because it is offensive.

  12. I’m fairly convinced that humans have entered a period of mass insanity. This is a comparatively minor example. At least it’s one we can laugh at, unlike most of the symptoms.

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