Public affairs officers at Seattle city agencies were advised in a recent memo that use of the phrases “brown bag” and “citizens” are potentially offensive, and that the words must be chosen.
“Luckily, we’ve got options,” Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights wrote in a missive entitled “On ‘brown bags, ‘citizens’ and language”.
“For ‘brown bag,’ try ‘lunch-and-learn’ or ‘sack lunch,’” wrote Bronstein. “For ‘citizens,’ how about ‘residents?’ (Our Citizens Service Bureau became the Customer Service Bureau a few years ago.) Just thought I’d bring this up. Language matters, and the city has entrusted us with the keyboards.”
We suggest Mr. Bronstein look up the history of his own last name; he'll find it to be a variation on Braunstein, or brown stone, or brick. As in, thick as a....