Don’t Call It a ‘Brown Bag Lunch’: Seattle Frowns on Popular Term


It’s not a brown bag lunch, it’s a “sack lunch.” The Office for Civil Rights in Seattle, Washington has suggested that government workers refrain from using the common term because it could be offensive to some people, according to Komo News. It’s also asking city workers to refer to the public as “residents,” not citizens, on the grounds that the government serves everyone in the city, not just U.S. citizens.

In terms of the seemingly innocent brown bag that has been used to pack lunches for decades, the term actually traces back to the “brown paper bag test,” which was traditionally used to judge skin color by certain African-American sororities and fraternities. Wikipedia explains that the color of the paper bag was the center marker of blackness – if your skin tone was darker than the paper bag you would not be let into the party. City leaders usually…

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