Just ahead of President’s Day, 2016, the city of San Diego, California, is backtracking on an earlier warning not to use the phrase “Founding Fathers” when referring to early American leaders like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. According to a new city manual, workers are not to use the phrase, as it is considered “gender-biased” language and politically incorrect.
A section of the manual, named “Bias-Free Language,” cautions city employees not to reference Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and others as “Founding Fathers,” but instead as the “Founders.” When the edict was discovered by legal watchdog group Pacific Justice Institute, a letter was sent to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer asking him to remove the warning.
“At a time set aside to honor American icons to whom we owe our constitutional freedoms, it is offensive and indefensible that the City of San Diego is directing employees not to even mention the Founding Fathers,” Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice, said in a statement provided to Fox News.
If any employees are disciplined for saying the phrase, Dacus has committed his organization to step in and help. Dacus says the foolishness of such a prohibition is so apparent that PJI will represent any employee who is punished for the offense at no charge.
However, San Diego claims the so-called “ban” of the term was only an example of gender-biased language, not a prohibition. Gender-neutral language has been used in other manuals since the 1990s, while the current manual is a guide and nothing else.
Despite this, Faulconer did order the manual reviewed and the “Founding Fathers” example removed, along with any other similar ones.
“Suggesting that our Founding Fathers should be referred to as ‘Founders’ is political correctness run amok,” Faulconer tweeted. “We are proud of our nation’s history and there is nothing wrong with referring to the Founding Fathers.”
Matthew McReynolds, a staff attorney for Pacific Justice, says many citizens, including city employees, will certainly be surprised to know that San Diego considers many common phrases like “the common man” and “mankind” offensive. He finds it concerning that the city encourages employees to omit or alter language based on subjective interpretations.
According to McReynolds, there are at least 1,500 individual instances in which the Supreme Court and other lower courts have used the phrase “Founding Fathers.” He wrote that the contributions and sacrifices made by America’s patriarchs are irrefutable and essential to understanding our government.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, some believe we should stop honoring the Founding Fathers altogether.
San Diego recently spent $48,800 to update its logo and guidelines for communicating with the public. Included in the updates had been a correspondence guide released just a few days ago, which includes the section that has created the PC controversy.
The segment exhibits other examples of gender-biased words such as “newsman,” “postman,” “weatherman,” and “fireman,” among others. Instead of using the phrase “the common man,” city employees are suggested to use “average person” or “ordinary people.”
It is unclear who decided to use “Founding Fathers” as an example of gender-based language, as it was also used in a previous 2008 version of the manual. Nonetheless, the city’s Chief Operating Officer, Scott Chadwick, has taken responsibility for the problems associated with the handbook.
According to Katie Keach, a San Diego spokeswoman, no one will get reprimanded for using the term. “No employee has ever been disciplined for referencing our Founding Fathers, and no one ever will,” she said.
Do you think that San Diego’s “Founding Fathers” example is politically incorrect and ought to be removed from our everyday language?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]