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People in Seattle may no longer hear the words “citizen” or “brown bag” from their city officials. According to, Elliott Bronstein from the Office for Civil Rights deemed the terms offensive, and sent out a memo advising other government officials to avoid using them. Bronstein explained to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that “brown bag” — as in brown-bag lunch — has a sordid history, particularly among African-Americans. He says he’s learned that brown bags were supposedly used at one point to determine if someone’s skin was light enough for a certain activity, although he admits he had never heard of that connotation until now. As for “citizen’s” offensive nature, Bronstein points out that not everyone in Seattle is a “citizen.” And those who are simply “residents” may feel excluded if an official addresses only the “citizens.”

( News)