Seattle City Officials Aim To Ban ‘Potentially Offensive’ Language

(CBS Seattle) — If a group of Seattle officials gets its way, terms like “citizen” or “brown bag” won’t be used in government rhetoric anymore.

KOMO reports an internal memo at Seattle City Hall revealed members of the Office for Civil Rights want to throw out terms deemed “potentially offensive.”

For example, member Elliot Bronstein says, “for ‘citizens,’ how about ‘residents?” Bronstein also told KOMO by phone that the term “brown bag” used to be a way people judged skin color and shouldn’t be used the way it is now. City leaders typically use “brown bag” when talking about “brown bag” lunch meetings — an opportunity to bring one’s own lunch to a city event, often times a meeting seeking public input.

According to the memo, people should use the term “lunch-and-learn” or “sack lunch” in place of “brown bag.”

Washington state lawmakers recently voted to remove gender specific words in official records. For example, instead of “freshman” the term used now is “first-years.” “Journeymen” has become “journey-level” and “penmanship” is now “handwriting.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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