I sent the below email to some of my colleagues after an official email was sent out discussing the need to be sensitive to what we say because of historical connotations. The State department email talked about how saying "Hold down the fort" was insensitive because that term meant to hold the fort down while Americans attacked Indians--I mean Native Americans.
That email directive is going to have a lot of people hot under the collar. I don't believe his caution against shooting the breeze with old American idioms was said in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Since it is coming straight from the horse's mouth, it should be heeded by State Department officials. And I'm not horsing around about this. If you blatantly make offensive comments, you may not have a leg to stand on. Supervisors may jump down your throat. I am not pulling your leg. I've had to bite the bullet and go to bat for a colleague before. Fortunately, that panel's bark was worse than its bite.
I don't want to be the one spilling the beans, but it's 2012! Why can't we just bury the hatchet, and not always jump the gun? I've got nothing up my sleeve. I'm not tooting my own horn here. We all are spread too thin in this technologically-advanced era. I'm just trying to mind my P's and Q's and get away clean like everybody else. Nobody is painting the town red here. We are just trying to provide for our families, sit pretty, and feel like a million bucks as we engage in the pursuit of happiness.
But I guess in this modern-day world of cultural sensitivity, we all just have to give the cat our tongue. Otherwise, you may be left high and dry as you find yourself at the end of the rope. I am going to go out on a limb here, but I believe that together, we can take the bull by the horns and eradicate racially and culturally insensitive phrases. Am I wrong?