Amid the city’s interconnected and rapidlly escalating crime and homelessness crises, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has determined that one of the ways it can help inspire the city’s expanding criminal population to good behavior is to simply play some games with language.
In a non-binding resolution passed last month and which has gained the support of the district attorney, the city presents the grim statistic that now one-fifth, one out of every five, residents of the city has a criminal record. In response to this alarming criminal reality, the board has introduced its new “person first” terminology, in which old terms the city fears might encourage “negative predispositions” and “unfounded assumptions” have been swapped out for more positive and “stigma”-free language.
In the resolution, the city spells out its new terms for the old,”attitudinal barrier”-creating phrases: A “convicted felon” or “convict” or “felon” that has been released from jail should now be called a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person, or even a “returning resident,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Rather than acknowledge that someone is “on parole,” the city will now describe that person as simply “under supervision.” People who were once called “substance abusers” or “drug addicts” are now to be called people “with a history of substance use.”
And a “juvenile delinquent” is now to be referred to as either a “young person with justice system involvement” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”
The resolution insists that the old terms “only serve to obstruct and separate people from society and make the institutionalization of racism and supremacy appear normal.”
While one might note that the language fails to specify what the person is “returning” from, leaves out exactly how the person is “involved” in “justice,” employs a child-like phrase for parolees, and makes a young criminal sound like a victim of the system, the progressive city’s board of supervisors feels that the new terms will help prevent the spreading of “inaccurate information.”
“Inaccurate information, unfounded assumptions, generalizations and other negative predispositions associated with justice-involved individuals create societal stigmas, attitudinal barriers and continued negative stereotypes,” the resolution states. The old terms, said one of the members who voted for the resolution, serve as a “scarlet letter” and thus prevent peole from becoming “contributing citizens.”
The resolution has been met with widespread blowback, including from the Chronicle, which provides this mocking response:
The language resolution makes no mention of terms for victims of crime, but using 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.”
In other words, someone whose car was broken into by a recently released offender, on parole with a drug problem.
The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles had a similar reaction on his podcast Friday. In reference to the new politically correct term “justice-involved” individuals, Knowles said:
This is my favorite PC jargon of all because it is actually the opposite of the truth. Criminals are not justice-involved persons. Criminals, by definition, are injustice-involved persons. They are committing injustices, not justices. It would be like San Francisco referring to their their epidemic of drug and feces infested streets as “sanitation-involved sidewalks.” Doesn’t make a lot of sense. But this is what PC does. You know, instead of solving the problem instead of grappling with reality, these politicians in San Francisco think that they can just change the name because it’s a lot easier.
The Washington Free Beacon also underscored the problematic nature of the PC resolution in part by noting the city’s apparent trouble with prioritizing issues:
Local officials are doing everything in their power to confront the city’s challenges, for example, by targeting a “racist” mural of George Washington at a high school bearing the founding father’s name. They are intent on doing something about all the crime as well, just not in the traditional way that most cities confront crime.