Editor note: Tell us what you think of our new PC (police correct) terms in the form at the bottom of this article.
Recently, reports have surfaced that Colorado State University has listed the words “America” and “American” as words to avoid. Why? The words aren’t “inclusive” enough and need to be avoided.
The University, which received nearly$8 million in federal fundsin 2018, has an “Inclusive Language Guide”. In it, the words “handicap parking”, “male” and “female” are also listed among the terms that should be avoided.
CSU’s online Inclusive Language Guide is compiled by the school’s Inclusive Communications Task Force.
The idea behind it is to list words and phrases to avoid. It also offers replacements help “communicators practice inclusive language and [help] everyone on [its] campus feel welcomed, respected, and valued.”
CSU lists both “American” and “America” because it argues that America encompasses more than just the U.S., and that by referring to the U.S. as America, we effectively “erase other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.”
We can do better, they argue, suggesting using “U.S. citizen” or “person from the U.S.” as substitutes.
We thought it might be fun to create a list of things that are annoying, offensive or “triggering” to the law enforcement community.
There are a couple of cops that are spending the weekend at our house. I asked them their thoughts. Here are a few of the thoughts they provided.
“I pay your salary.”
You certainly do. You and the other 150,000 tax paying citizens of this city. Interestingly, I wonder how many people have made that statement in a municipality that they do not reside in. How many people pay rent, but not property taxes?
Possible responses include, “Thank you,” “And I really appreciate the .40₵,” and my favorite, “I am a taxpayer here as well, so in theory, I pay my own salary and therefore, I am a self-employed, independent contractor.”
New acceptable phrase:“I pay your salary” is now “Officer, I really wish that you guys could get a commission off the tickets you write. I know you are grossly underpaid considering the sacrifice you make and the threats you face every day.”
“Don’t you have anything better to do?”
Ironically, the person being stopped probably had better things to do. One way to avoid sitting on the side of the road when you should be at lunch with a friend, or getting to your dental appointment on time, is not violating traffic laws.
Great response: “Well, my daughter has a dance recital I am missing, my son’s football team is in the playoffs. The game is later tonight. My husband/wife and I have not had a date night in over 8 months. So, yes, technically I do. But I have a heart to serve my community and keep people safe. So here we are. Please sign here. This is not an admission of guilt.”
New acceptable phrase: “Don’t you have anything better to do” has been revised to be “I know you could easily be at home with your family. I really appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to correct my actions so that I stand a better chance of making home to mine safely.”
“Aren’t there real criminals you should catching?”
Best response: “Well, according to the Texas Penal Code, I have observed you speeding, while following too closely. You ran a stop sign. You almost caused an accident with a Chevy, then you sped away. You failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrian in the cross walk. You changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and more speeding! All of these are arrestable offenses. So, you are very fortunate that I am only writing you a ticket.”
New acceptable phrase: “Aren’t there real criminals you should be catching” is correctly stated “While I feel like what I did is insignificance, I understand that you have seen people commit the same offense and it led to a fatality.”
“Do you know Phil? He is also a cop with the NYPD.”
Legitimate response: Well, there are 36,000 officers serving the people of the City of New York. I just did a quick system search. There are 205 officers name Phil, Philip or Phillip. There are an additional 463 of them with the last name Phillips. So, there is a .013% chance that I know that person. Oddly enough, I do know the guy you are talking about. He is actually an officer across the river in Newark.”
New acceptable phrase: “Do you know Phil? He is also a cop in your department” has been re-worked. It is now “My friend Phil is also a cop. You guys have that in common. The only thing I have in common with you is the geographical portion of the planet that we are currently sharing.”
“My cousin/brother/uncle’s best friend is a cop in (insert city/state here).”
I believe that this is only stated in an effort to avoid a ticket. The fact that your old high school girlfriend’s grandfather was the Chief of Police in Kent, Washington is completely irrelevant to another fact: you were clocked doing 82 in a 65 going eastbound on I-10 through Pensacola, Florida.
New acceptable phrase: “My best friend is a cop” is correctly said, “I do not have any friends in law enforcement. In fact, I don’t really have any friends.”
“I will sue you.”
I thought threatening an officer is a crime. I know it is when the perceived threats to be physical in nature. Why would it be any less of a threat when it is financial in nature? Either way, the threat is intended to influence and sway the outcome in favor of the person issuing the threat.
New acceptable phrase: “I will sue you” cannot be construed as offensive if stated as, “I need a way to scare you, and since you already knew I was sitting here, ‘Boo’ just really didn’t seem too effective.
“Did you even finish high school?”
Why is there a wide-spread perception that the two career fields that are readily available for people who got a GED and didn’t go to college are the military and law-enforcement? Why is there a belief that cops are cops because they are too stupid to do anything else?
In doing a bit of research, almost every law-enforcement agency in this country requires a specific level of college credits to be eligible for employment. To promote to higher levels of rank, most agencies require a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree. To be an officer/agent at the federal level, you often have to have a four-year degree to be eligible for hire to start at the bottom and work your way up.
For the record, I know a lot of police officer. They are all some of the most intelligent, articulate people I know. They also have a better grasp of logic and common sense than a lot of people in other professions.
New acceptable phrase: “Did you even finish high school” is now “I have a degree in gender studies, but it didn’t allow me to make decent money. My greatest accomplishments in life are all participation trophies.”
“Do you see that cop right there? If you don’t behave, I am going to have him take you to jail.”
Why??? Why would you use an officer to influence the disciplinary aspects of your child’s development? Why would you teach your children to be afraid of a police officer?
We have people who enter adulthood afraid of and not trusting cops. Is it possible that stigmas like this have anything to do with that?
And while we are at it. If you did a better job of disciplining your children, you wouldn’t have to resort to the threat of jail time for your 6-year old.
New acceptable phrase: “See that cop? If you don’t behave, I will have him take you to jail” is now “I had horrible parents who refused to discipline me, and now I have no clue how to appropriately enforce my God-given authority with my children, so I need someone else to be the bad guy.”
“Do you know who I am?”
No, and frankly I do not care. The minute you make that statement, it should be construed that you are trying to impact the outcome of this conversation (see above, I will sue you). This is nothing more than an empty threat meant to scare an officer into believing that their career could be ruined simply because they had the nerve to pull over the city council member that was weaving across the double-yellow line at 2 am while doing 60 in a 30.
New acceptable phrase: Please, please, please pay attention to me.
“I smell bacon!”
Where? Where is the smell of bacon coming from? I would like some. Who doesn’t like bacon? As Jim Gaffigan so eloquently pointed out,
“Bacon is the one food that we add to other food to make that second food better. The only thing better than bacon, is more bacon!”
New acceptable phrase: “I smell bacon” is also revised to “Bacon is awesome. I wish I had some we could share.”
We thought it’d be appropriate to educate you on the correct verbiage to show “inclusion, tolerance and acceptance”. Let us know if we missed anything.
And a special shout out to my brother Mike and sister-in-law April for their assistance in compiling this short list for consideration.
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