In a world where freedom of choice reigns, in liberal states like New York and Washington “my body my choice” includes everything except for what one chooses to put into and come out of one’s mouth.
In New York, the Department of Education is not only slowly implementing vegetarian-only school lunches, but they’re also banning certain words from standardized tests. In Seattle, Washington, the city is advising workers that certain words be avoided in official documents and discussions.
Seattle city personnel recently received an internal memo from Elliott Bronstein, chief spokesman for the Office for Civil Rights. Mr. Bronstein strongly suggested that offensive or disruptive words such as “citizen” and “brown bag” be abolished in the workplace.
Bronstein, grateful that “Luckily, we’ve got options,” requested that instead of “brown bag,” city employees substitute the words “lunch-and-learn” or “sack lunch.” As for the distasteful word “citizen,” Mr. Bronstein recommended considering the feelings of non-citizens by referring to everyone as “residents.”
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Despite good intentions, a problem does arise; let’s face it, especially in government, nobody’s perfect 100% of the time. So hopefully there’s money available in state and city budgets to utilize – and someone wise enough to suggest – that some gentle punishment in the form of shock collars be integrated into ongoing sensitivity training.
In the case of a forgetful mishap, a gentle jolt of electricity should break the habit for those foolishly referring to skin color when talking about lunch bags and pocketbooks. As for thoughtless Seattle citizens, if they should lose their heads and casually mention to coworkers that over the weekend they watched the old Orson Welles movie Citizen Kane, such offenders would be guilty of unruly speech.
In New York City things get a bit more complicated, because the list is much longer and more finely tuned. The New York City Department of Education, headed up by school chancellor Dennis Walcott, has decided to ban a whole host of disturbing words from standardized tests.
Walcott said the Department of Education is not being politically correct, they’re simply attempting to guide test developers. Walcott insisted, “So we’re not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests.”
And allowing the word “ballet” but forbidding use of the word “dance” does what, exactly, to accomplish that educational objective?
Anyway, on the list are 50 examples which include words like “dinosaur,” “birthday,” “Halloween,” and “hurricanes.” Not included on the forbidden list are words like condom, abortion, homosexual, amnesty, or food stamps.
Because of the diversity of the student body, the Big Apple will be working hard to revamp city-issued standardized tests. Flushed from future exams will be all unpleasantness associated with words that the financially less fortunate might find upsetting, like “croquet,” “laptop” and “vacation.”
A word of caution: Before New York City goes any further, someone should consider how little people feel about the word “big” in “Big Apple.” And more importantly, in consideration of environmentalists, shouldn’t New York City educators hearken back to the big alar/apple scare?
All things considered, we’re in a bit of a quandary, because anyone uttering one word, regardless of what they’re saying, could make deaf-mutes feel inferior. Then again, what about the effect on quadriplegics if words were outlawed and replaced with gestures?
Whether it’s big apples or small nuts, deaf-mutes or quadriplegics, in order to be diverse and inclusive, rather than expose students to the vast array of life’s economic, religious, and workaday experiences, the city of New York has decided it’s best to just exclude any mention at all of any type of individual life circumstances.
As for struggles like sickness, disaster, disease, poverty, and homelessness, with Obamacare and government intervention, worrying about those and similar frivolities will soon be a thing of the past and unnecessary to broach in federally-funded venues. The same holds true for any mention of success, wealth, or privilege.
Still, whether test developers are fitted with sensitivity shock collars or not, things can still get dicey because for example, “cows” can be either a benign animal or problematic subject matter for Hindus and PETA types. What about “balls” being a sticky subject for certain men? Not to mention the word “happiness,” which could be considered an offensive allusion to gays, and “sugar,” a stumbling block for diabetics.
Worst than that, if Seattle and NYC decide one day to merge lists, or the federal government decides to regulate all words, terms, and expressions, those found bringing “junk food” in a “brown bag” to school or work could find themselves expelled or banned from city jobs for life.
That’s why in the interim, while the government puts the finishing touches on a program that trains American citizens what to eat, how to think, what to believe and what to say and in what context they can say it, a shock collar pilot program could definitely facilitate a vital long-term goal.
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