City of Berkeley to Eliminate “Gendered” Language from City Codes

Berkeley Manhole Creative Commons

It’s not just Berkeley’s college campus which has gone off the rails – last week, the city council approved the replacement of potentially offensive words and phrases like "manhole"  from its municipal code with more “inclusive” terms.

The council was unanimous in its decision. Councilmembers and sponsors of the ordinance defended their decision when met with criticism. Councilmember Lori Droste mentioned on Twitter, “our message is that we serve people regardless of their gender.” At face value, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with such a message. Of course, it goes without saying that the government serves all citizens regardless of their personal identity. However, this new ordinance has nothing to do with what the Berkeley government actually does. It doesn’t prevent discrimination, enforce equal rights, or anything else like that; it merely changes a few words in a few city codes which (probably) only a few people read, anyway. Surely the councilmembers of any city, especially one like Berkeley which has recently dealt with violent protests, have more important things to do than write up ordinances which have no direct impact on anybody whatsoever.

Apparently, they don’t. And that’s because this seemingly useless ordinance does, in fact, have a purpose – a purpose which has nothing to do with making sure no one is offended by the language in the city codes. Most of the eliminated words are so innocuous, it’s hard to believe anyone besides Justin Trudeau could possibly find offense in them. How many people really care if someone uses the word “sportsman”? Or “craftsmen”? Who would actually prefer to read a mouthful like “Collegiate Greek system residence” instead of “fraternity” or “sorority”? Why do radical leftists feel the need to fit their agendas into everything, even the very words we use?

Because, as sponsor to the ordinance Rigel Robinson told ABC News, “There is power in language.” Words are so intrinsically tied to the thought that we hardly notice one’s effect on the other. When we hear a word spoken, or see it written, an idea of the meaning of that word instantly forms in our mind. If we call a cow a sheep enough times over enough generations, people will begin to think that cow really is a sheep – it’s how our brains work. If we gradually eliminate both “cow” and “sheep” from our vocabulary and replace them with the broader term of “bovine,” the differences between the two species will seem smaller and smaller as time goes on. Similarly, if we only say the broader term of “sibling” and refuse to say the narrower terms of “brother” and “sister,” the difference between brothers and sisters will diminish. One of the main purposes of language, besides communication, is internal categorization. The radical left, in its quest for a genderless world, cannot allow for such categorization, because it implies that there really are differences between men and women – two words which, of course, are also eliminated under the new ordinance. Although this is only one small step towards the radical left’s vision for America’s future, if repeated enough times in enough cities, it could have enormous results. If conservatives want to win over America, they can’t ignore the left’s advances on one of the most fundamental units of society – words.

Ruth Moreno is a contributor to

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