Seattle Bans City Employees From Using Word “Citizen.” “Citizen” Appears in Constitution 22 Times

August 2nd, 2013

This could get interesting. In an effort to avoid othering people who are not citizens, the city has has advised municipal employees not to use the word “citizen” in official business.

A memo which was circulated within local government in Washington state, before being leaked to local TV station KOMO News, advised state workers that they should refrain from using such phrases in official business.

According to the memo, the word ‘citizen’ is offensive to those Seattlelites who are residents in the city, but not US citizens.

The memo’s author Elliott Bronstein, who works in the city’s Office for Civil Rights, wrote: “Luckily we’ve got options. For ‘citizens’, how about ‘residents’?”.

Of course, the Washington Constitution uses the word “citizen” (by my quick count) appears twenty-two times in the Washington State Constitution. The word “resident” appears nowhere in the charter.