War on Words

The continuing war on words is currently being waged in Seattle where City Hall officials are considering “brown bag” and “citizen” to be offensive and in need of being banned from official records. The idea that “brown bag” is racist can only come from a far-left mind obsessed with race and racism. This innocent term has been used for as long one can remember and it is curious that anyone would consider it racist.

This obsessiveness with words being racist is nothing new. A Portland school principal argued that the mention of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich found in a lesson plan was subtly racist because others, such as Somali or Hispanic students, may not eat such sandwiches. What, then, must we do about tofu, prime rib, arugula, or foie gras?

Banning the word “citizen” so as not to offend is just more politically correct foolishness from Seattle. How many non-citizens can there be, not institutionalized, who are so sensitive that the word “citizen” upsets them? Who said it is the government’s responsibility to protect everyone from being offended anyway?

Many of the words that have been banned from standardized testing require a major stretch to rationalize removal, such as: dinosaur, disease, hunting, or abuse. These are common words with common meanings, and sheltering someone from their use does nothing for education.

It is fear of offending rather than the actual act of doing so that is at the root of this foolishness. This fear combines with guilt and an idealistic notion that the world can be made fair for all, creating a need to be a proactive champion of a minority that may consist of only a few people.

Words are not racist, people are, and banning words in an attempt to stop racism is nonsense. It is also nonsense to think that everyone needs to be protected from being offended. There are some who are offended by almost anything that’s said and catering to their sensitivities advances the victimization that permeates today’s society. We need to stop seeing ourselves as victims.

David J. Hentosh

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