Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Governments Waste Time on Word Games

The Office of Civil Rights in Seattle, Washington recently instructed city government workers to avoid using certain words. The Office said this is important in our diverse city. Most of these words wouldn't cause a normal person to think twice about using. One example is the word "citizen," which the bureaucrats told workers should be replaced with "resident" so as not to offend non-citizens. We all know that "resident" and "citizen" don't mean the same thing at all, but nobody in the Office of Civil Rights seems to care. The term "brown bag" was also struck down and ordered to be replaced with "sack lunch." The Civil Rights police told city workers that "brown bag" could be a racist reference, even though it is really just refers to the color of the paper bag.

This sort of nonsense is not unique to Seattle. Earlier this year, Washington state lawmakers voted to change 40,000 words in state statutes to so-called gender-neutral language. The legislators banned fisherman, freshman, clergyman, and even penMANship. Needless to say, finding and replacing such words was a time-consuming and expensive project. Similar policies were adopted in Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois.

These words games are ridiculous. They are part of the efforts of the left to impose political correctness. A National Women's Law Center senior adviser said, "This is important in changing hearts and minds." But I'm not sure it's working. Even if there were as much sexism and discrimination in this country as the left claims, I don't think these word substitutions will do much to change it. These word games are also a gigantic waste of government time and tax dollars. I wonder how much Seattle's citizens -- excuse me, "residents" -- paid their bureaucrats to decide that "brown bag" lunch might hurt somebody's feelings.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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