Patterico's Pontifications

8/2/2013

Seattle City Government Bans the Word “Citizen” as Offensive

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 am



Control the language, control the thoughts:

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?'”

How about you go to hell?

This country has gone insane.

63 Responses to “Seattle City Government Bans the Word “Citizen” as Offensive”

  1. How about you go to hell … love it.

    JD (3eff55)

  2. Read on to the bit about brown bags.

    I guess there are people gullible enough to believe ANYTHING.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  3. I’d like to make a resident’s arrest, Mr. Bronstein.

    Fabi (54c20b)

  4. The term “brown bag” refers to the common color of lunch bags, which are usually brown, and I too struggle with how it could be offensive.
    The term “citizen” and the term “resident” are not synonyms by any means. Citizens are residents but residents may not be citizens. Citizenship confers responsibilities and rights that do not come with residence automatically.
    That, and how in heck can “citizen” be offensive? After all, it was the term of address of the French Revolution.

    MT Geoff (a67ef4)

  5. Closing the Office of Civil Rights would also save the city of Seattle some moolah.

    Fabi (54c20b)

  6. “Citizen.” You use that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Lots of people, including and especially politicians and the media, use the word “citizen” as if it were synonymous with “resident.” As MT Geoff pointed out, it’s not.

    Specifically, “citizen” refers to a legal status conferred by right or legal authority upon a resident of a country. You may be a citizen of the United States and a resident of Seattle, but you’re not a citizen of Seattle.

    When politicians promise to, oh, say, improve police protection for the “citizens” of their city or state, I always wonder why they don’t include everyone.

    Diffus (48ae73)

  7. The country hasn’t gone insane.

    It’s the leftist liberals.

    With no contradicting news and with plenty of approval both from the Editorial boards of the largest networks and newspapers, leftist liberals now firmly believe they are the chosen people that this is there time to seize power and force anyone who believes contrary into poverty or jail.

    When that fails, they will then initiate (oh so regrettably) their “final solution” and begin more and fatal attacks.

    How many of us live in fear of something we might accidentally say or do depending on who might hear it?

    How many times have you decided not to say or do something because the potential liability/hassle that might occur will be too much to bear?

    This is tyranny folks and it’s not being done (yet) with jack boots and bayonets but with the taxing and punishment of governmental process over rules and regulations that NO elected representative has had a say in.

    Until we all are tired of this it will continue.

    And unless we push back, we soon will be seeing a sign saying “Arbeit Macht Frie” on the camp entrance.

    Jcw46 (6106c6)

  8. We are all metics now.

    ErisGuy (76f8a7)

  9. I guess they prefer the term ‘Subjects’ instead.

    Another Anon (f43943)

  10. Can citizens “resident” in other cities play too? How about we ban the words, your paycheck? Do I here a second?

    ropelight (a034b8)

  11. Presumably citizenship becomes residentship, which is in line with our current immigration reforms. But wait! Citizenship used to imply responsibilities as Montana Geoff points out in 5, hence classes in “citizenship”. This will get very complicated as the “homeless”, a term which presumably is also to be banned in official Seattle communications, are no doubt “residents” and they disavow any responisibility for anything whatsoever. And, although Bronstein’s explanation for the brown bag term as skin color test is a preposterous fabrication, no doubt promulgated by a racial studies program at one of our prestigious universities, one can understand the “brown bag” prohibition as this term, in addition to describing a common accountrement of the “homeless”, would discriminate against those who choose not to spend their morning hours at Starbucks. It thus suggests someone with antisocial tendencies, someone who sits alone at lunch reading the WSJ, for example. And no one in Seattle is antisocial. Socialist yes, antisocial no.

    Gone to hell indeed!

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  12. When politicians promise to, oh, say, improve police protection for the “citizens” of their city or state, I always wonder why they don’t include everyone.

    Because the others shouldn’t be entitled to the same consideration.

    Don’t like not being a citizen and being treated differently? Go home or immigrate.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  13. And unless we push back, we soon will be seeing a sign saying “Arbeit Macht Frie” on the camp entrance.

    Don’t be silly. The sign will say “It Takes a Village”.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  14. Actually, I’m surprised they didn’t ban “two-bagger”. I guess it pops up in Democrat politician correspondence too often…

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  15. Bronstein’s explanation for the use of brown bags is accurate. A brown paper bag on the front door was a color test so those with lighter skins could exclude their darker brethren.

    Before guests could be admitted they were required to put their hand on the bag and be judged acceptable for entry or not. Such historical facts aren’t pretty, but facts they remain nevertheless.

    ropelight (a034b8)

  16. Ropelight, I’ve enjoyed your comments before, so I stand corrected. Where did this occur and when? And who care now?

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  17. This whole “someone might be offended” meme is moronic.

    Yeah, they might. And I don’t care.

    mojo (8096f2)

  18. Well, we’ve come a full 180 degrees from the days in which the revolutionary French left dictated that everyone be addressed as “citizen” to the days when the American left seeks to ban the term.

    For fun, we should pose as leftists and start arguing that the term “progressive” is heteronormative and colonialist and demand that it be replaced by the word “redistributist.”

    JVW (23867e)

  19. The only time “citizen” is offensive is when those in power use it to differentiate between our rights and their’s.

    Ghost (996b5a)

  20. I’m sure “Tovarich” is acceptable!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  21. #17, bob, brown paper bag parties were once a commonplace. I encountered them in the late ’60s in the SF Bay Area, and my initial reaction was disbelief. But, it turned out to be very true, and quite serious.

    Type Paper Bag Party into your search engine and you’ll get a number of hits. Wikipedia has a pretty good account.

    ropelight (a034b8)

  22. The only time “citizen” is offensive is when those in power use it to differentiate between our rights and their’s.
    Comment by Ghost (996b5a) — 8/2/2013 @ 9:55 am

    You mean sort of like how our Dear Leader, and the Barons on the Hill, are going to exempt themselves and their Yeomen from the PPACA?

    Nice little Republic you had there, too bad you weren’t able to keep it.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  23. “This is tyranny folks and it’s not being done (yet) with jack boots and bayonets…”

    Boots and Bayonets may have to be the response…
    or, as they used to say “Off and On!”

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  24. What does it mean that you “encountered” paper bag parties, ropelight? Did you actually see this practice with your own eyes, or did someone tell you that a friend of a friend once went to one? I note that Wikipedia waffles about their reality, saying they “are said to have taken place”, and the only footnoted source attesting to their existence is two sentences in a book by Michael Eric Dyson, who does not claim to have actually seen one either, and whose gullibility or lack thereof I am unable to judge without further research.

    I’m getting a strong whiff of urban legend here, like the common claims that ‘nitty-gritty’ is racist and ‘rule of thumb’ sexist.

    More important, suppose it is true – why should anyone in Seattle change the obvious descriptive name of a common household object because someone somewhere has misused it in racist ways? Should we demand that no one ever wear cotton clothing again, because of the role of cotton-picking in American slavery? Or if they do, find a new name for the stuff? How about wearing decorative chains around your neck or wrist? How dare you remind people of the chains of slavery?!? Visit an old sailing ship preserved as a tourist attraction? Do you know what kind of ships delivered slaves to America?! Drink rum, or even mention the stuff? Haven’t you heard of the Triangle Trade? Rum was used to pay for slaves!

    Maybe white people should start demanding similar rules on their own behalf. Did someone mention serving ‘cheese and crackers’ at the company Christmas party? I DEMAND that that person be fired: ‘cracker’ is racist and offensive! Did someone at the company 4th of July party say “you might want to put on a little more sunscreen – your neck’s getting awfully red”? Fire the racist bastard for using the adjective ‘red’ with the noun ‘neck’! Did someone mention ‘honking’ his horn at a crazy driver on the way to work? That reminds me of ‘honkie’ and makes me feel all sad inside. Fire him! Or maybe just fire these three people if they’re not white themselves. Do we really want to go down that road? I sure as Hell don’t.

    It would be nice if we could call bags that are made of brown paper ‘brown bags’ or ‘brown paper bags’ and tell anyone who objects to grow the fuck up, quit whining, and either get back to work or go find another job.

    Dr. Weevil (40c627)

  25. Bet you that “teabagger” is still OK.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  26. Being a white male, I am beseiged by government actions designed with the specific intention to offend me.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  27. Askeptic,
    Exactly. Or like how the president can kill anyone he wants.

    Ghost (996b5a)

  28. Obama offends me.
    Can we ban him ?

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  29. 22. http://www.today.com/id/10995079 claims this was invented in New Orleans.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17056674 quoted at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Paper_bag_party saysthat a woman who had Howard University Law School in the mid- 1980s recalled circa 2005 that classmates (mostly native Washingtonians) called “the beautiful people” had organized an on-campus invitation-only graduation party that they named a “paper bag party,”

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  30. Type Paper Bag Party into your search engine and you’ll get a number of hits. Wikipedia has a pretty good account.

    Comment by ropelight (a034b8) — 8/2/2013 @ 10:18 am

    That is interesting and I learned something today.

    How irritating that I didn’t learn this in school. My post civil war American history professor in college did not touch anything complex like black on black ‘colorism’. She also didn’t cover the Soviet Union or WWII, focusing on labor unions and… more labor unions.

    It was 2003 or so and she spent the entire semester telling us that we were living in a near depression. I wonder if today she’s telling her students how Obama’s economy is really quite good. Probably.

    Anyway, my point is that Seattle should ask the school system to cover this lesson on brown bags. Banning the language is a childish reaction that solves nothing, informs no one, and if anything prevents understanding. There’s just going to be another ‘offensive’ term next year.

    The banning of the word citizen is obviously much more alarming; a government should exist to serve her citizens, not corrupt their ability to point out the relationship.

    Dustin (303dca)

  31. So the evidence is one person’s 20-year-old memories of something that happened to friends of hers, not herself, in Law School? That is pathetically inadequate to make ropelight’s case.

    I have a vivid memory of a fellow-sophomore in college in 1972 saying that he was voting for Nixon not as the lesser of two evils but as the best candidate nominated by either party in decades. Around ten years later I asked him about that and he denied ever saying or thinking such a thing and denied even voting for Nixon. One or the other of us had managed to completely falsify his memory of a specific conversation in which we were both personally involved in only 10 years.

    Of course, my main point – that it doesn’t matter whether such parties ever occurred – stands.

    Dr. Weevil (40c627)

  32. Bronstein’s explanation for the use of brown bags is accurate.

    So what? Why should I care?

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  33. #31, Dr Weevil thinks I’m attempting to make a case. He might benefit from following Dustin’s example at #30, and

    #32, Rob asked, So what? Why should I care?

    It’s not required. Interested individuals can learn about the complexities of racial distinctions and the unique mechanisms by which they are expressed and maintained, or one can continue to see things in terms of black and white. It comes down to a choice between understanding and ignorance.

    ropelight (a034b8)

  34. ropelight:
    I am interested in understanding, and you could easily enlighten my ignorance by answering my direct questions, which I will repeat here for your convenience: “What does it mean that you ‘encountered’ paper bag parties, ropelight? Did you actually see this practice with your own eyes, or did someone tell you that a friend of a friend once went to one?”.

    I’m perfectly willing to believe that these parties occurred, but deeply suspicious that the evidence for them is so exiguous and, as far as I have heard so far, second- or third-hand. Do you have first-hand knowledge of them?

    I am not willing to stop calling brown paper bags ‘brown paper bags’ just because they have been misused (IF they have been misused) in shameful ways by some people at some time. If I were an Irish or Irish-American Protestant who had had relatives brutally slaughtered by the Irish Republican Army, I would no doubt find the initials “I.R.A.” deeply disturbing even to hear. But I would not feel entitled to demand that people not call their Individual Retirement Accounts “I.R.A.s” just to make me feel better. That would arrogant, and stupid.

    Dr. Weevil (40c627)

  35. I could give a flying rat’s highknee.
    Paper bag parties are bullshit, made up of the same stuff as this, “campus hate crime hoax“.

    Just say no to speech nazis

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  36. #34, Dr Weevil, I’ll proceed from the bottom up. We’re in agreement on the use of both IRA and “brown paper bags,” Bronstein’s recommendations are absurd, his reasoning is completely wrongheaded, laughable even, and my comment at #11 pretty much sums up my reaction to his value as a civil servent.

    If you doubt that Bag Parties occurred, then again, I suggest you follow Dustin’s example and do your homework. The reality speaks for itself.

    As for my personal experience, yes, I saw it with my own eyes, the brown paper bag was taped to the door, and I was told it was going to be there before I arrived.

    I hope I’ve satisfied your curiosity, if not please continue to ask questions.

    ropelight (a034b8)

  37. It’s not required. Interested individuals can learn about the complexities of racial distinctions and the unique mechanisms by which they are expressed and maintained, or one can continue to see things in terms of black and white. It comes down to a choice between understanding and ignorance.

    No, it comes down to: I do my best to treat people according to how they treat me, and refuse to let some piece of historical trivia dictate my word choices or behavior.

    If you doubt that Bag Parties occurred, then again, I suggest you follow Dustin’s example and do your homework. The reality speaks for itself.

    Again, why the hell should I care? Never been to one. Never would attend one. Being held to account for their existence is punishing the innocent, and I refuse to accept that.

    I get that ugly things have happened in history. But I won’t stop saying “brown bag” because the phrase has an unpleasant slang definition than I’ll stop saying “picnic” or “niggardly” because ignoramoses decided to take offense at imaginary origins of those terms.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  38. As for my personal experience, yes, I saw it with my own eyes, the brown paper bag was taped to the door, and I was told it was going to be there before I arrived.

    And yet you went.

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  39. They wanted “comrade” but settled for “resident” instead. Must not rile the baggers.

    I would also like to thank them for introducing a new racial slur to me: brown bag. The depths of racism of this country cannot ever truly be known.

    Actually Seattle offends me. It’s a cheap Anglicanization of a Duwamish chief’s name ,spelling, Si’ahl. From now on it’s Si’ahl or nothing. And don’t forget the apostrophe, you racists!

    Patricia (be0117)

  40. Great, another Jew yelling “Surrender to the thugs, then maybe they will finish you off last”. How did that work out when the Jews tried to not offend Germans (by fighting back) in the 30’s?

    Smarty (8df9c8)

  41. Yes, Rob, I did, and I had a great time, met lots of interesting new people, and learned quite a bit.

    I was also invited to pool parties exclusively for white boys and colored girls, no bag involved, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish, and I showed up there too, gladly.

    ropelight (a034b8)

  42. Academia does acknowledge colorism among blacks, but they blame it on them learning it from whites. They also blame Hispanics’ hatred of blacks on whites. “They learned it in the USA” is the common way of putting it.

    Patricia (be0117)

  43. Does that also explain their intolerance for Chinese, and Russians, and just about everyone else too?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  44. #41, don’t accept a word of it Patricia, it’s pure poppycock, racist poppycock.

    A social stratification system based on race was well established in the Spanish Americas long before the English ever set foot in Virginia. The following is from Wikipedia.

    During the Spanish colonial period, Spaniards developed a complex caste system based on race, which was used for social control and which also determined a person’s rights in society. There were four main categories of race:

    1. Peninsular – a Spaniard born in Spain,

    2. Criollo (fem. criolla) – a person of Spanish descent born in Mesoamerica,

    3. Indio (fem. India) – a person who is a native of, or indigenous to, Mesoamerica, and

    4. Negro (fem. Negra) – a person of African slave descent

    Then, combinations were identified and rights assigned according to category. For example, a Mestizo resulted from the off-spring of a Spanish or Creole and an indigenous Indian. A Mulatto comes from Spanish and Negro mix, and a Wolf comes from the union of a Negro and an indigenous Indian.

    And, it only gets more complicated from there, and it was codified into law well before the first attempt by English settlers to establish a colony in the New World.

    ropelight (a034b8)

  45. Liberals only believe in borders in Palestine.

    DejectedHead (017bad)

  46. I have never, ever heard the term “brown bag” used in a racial context. Not to say it’s never happened, but if no one knows it’s offensive, then how can it be offensive?

    Along those lines, I suggest replacing “Seattle Civil Rights Worker,” (which could inaccurately and offensively imply that the person actually works) with the more accurate, “moron.”

    LASue (2b0ffb)

  47. Actually Seattle offends me. It’s a cheap Anglicanization of a Duwamish chief’s name ,spelling, Si’ahl. From now on it’s Si’ahl or nothing. And don’t forget the apostrophe, you racists!

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 8/2/2013 @ 2:41 pm

    Ha! (Growing up in Seattle, I was taught it was Chief Sealth. Seattle’s racism apparently knows no bounds.)

    LASue (2b0ffb)

  48. This is what happens when you are a ‘sanctuary city’.

    Tolerance!

    Icy (ef90df)

  49. I think I heard references to that in the 1960s, but I may be confused. There was a reference to it in Frank’s Place, which was set in New Orleans. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank%27s_Place ; the episode 5 summary has it in a line.

    ps. link command seems to be broken? accepts data, leaves no trace.

    htom (ffba9d)

  50. I understand Seattle-based Boeing puts “black boxes” into aircraft.

    This is a blatantly racist activity and must stop.

    malclave (1db6c5)

  51. I think they meant: товарищ (which I’m told renders as tovarishch in Roman characters and means “comrade” in Russian).

    Beldar (7626b1)

  52. Did no one here ever watch the show “Frank’s Place?”

    Regardless of the TV show, the brown paper bag test is probably well-known in the African-American community. Since I am not black, I can’t know for sure, but it has made an appearance in pop culture.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  53. Yes, I recall it was particularly prevalent in New Orleans, where it was set,

    narciso (3fec35)

  54. Malclave, BA moved to Chicago about a decade ago. No idea why they chose Chicago. They’re slowly reducing their exposure to the rule of law in the soviet of puget sound. They had to move because there were too many destructive stikes focused on headquarters while trying to maintain their business interests. It’s hard to believe that this couldn’t happen in Chicago, but so far no violence.

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  55. The discussion on brown bags has been edifying. The only concern I have with the comments above is that “racism”, such as it is defined in progressive circles, cannot be attributed to any black person of any shade no matter what he or she may do. Even when the discrimination is directed against a comrade. Because progressive racism is power-based, or something suitably murky along those lines. But then again, a black (or somewhat black) president is intent on crucifying an hispanic and has arrayed the might of the federal government against this individual. So this power thing is tending in a favorable direction black-wise. Perhaps we will soon be allowed to consider black racists as racists when they behave as racists.

    Would recent history have been different if GZ had been named Juan Gomez?

    Is Quanza as real as brown bag parties?

    The world wonders.

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  56. Seattle has has succumbed to the succubus of the leftist’s amoral, dishonest and delusional agenda/narrative. Keep sniffing those rainbow colored unicorn farts Seattle …

    Richard M Nixon (R-Deceased) (ffe80f)

  57. It’s kind of stretch, but it does involve a citizen and his relationship to the state so I’ll place it here.

    LAPD officer goes cray cray during vehicle stop. I wonder if Balko will mention it or if it’s not egregious enough?

    She did threaten to use force, however, in addition to an illegal search.

    Former Conservative (6e026c)

  58. At least we’re still at war with EastAsia . . .

    Sewer Urchin (3cbdb1)

  59. This is cultural marxism at work and it has everyone on their knees apologizing What a shame!

    Steven J Lewis (26b0ef)

  60. I look forward to going to Seattle and someone asking, “That’s a pretty dog, what kind is it?” When I answer “Redbone Coonhound” I’ll start a riot.

    Steve57 (a65996)

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