San Francisco has a lot of problems: Rampant drug use on the streets, homeless defecating everywhere, medieval diseases like typhoid and bubonic plague engulfing the once-great city.
But fortunately, elected officials are tackling the most important problem: Politically incorrect language.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is busy rewriting “language guidelines” for what to call certain people. For instance, a convicted felon or an offender released from jail should be called a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person. A person who commits another crime — once called a “repeat offender” — should be called a “returning resident.”
People on parole or probation should be referred to as a “person on parole” or a “person under supervision.”
In addition, a juvenile “delinquent” should become a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.” And drug addicts should become “a person with a history of substance use.”
“We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done,” Supervisor Matt Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”
According to the resolution, 1 of 5 California residents has a criminal record, and words like “prisoner,” “convict,” “inmate” or “felon” “only serve to obstruct and separate people from society and make the institutionalization of racism and supremacy appear normal,” the resolution states.“Inaccurate information, unfounded assumptions, generalizations and other negative predispositions associated with justice-involved individuals create societal stigmas, attitudinal barriers and continued negative stereotypes,” it continues.
“We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from,” Haney said.
The Chronicle points out the resolution makes no mention of victims of “justice-involved” people, and constructs a sentence to show the absurdity of the new language: “[U]sing the new terminology someone whose car has been broken into could well be: ‘A person who has come in contact with a returning resident who was involved with the justice system and who is currently under supervision with a history of substance use.’ ”