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First I struggled with the label “sex offender”. The words sit in the mouth like a heavy after-taste.
Then “registrant” became the catch-all phrase. It sounded less ominous, not quite as frightening but few outside our circle even knew what it referred to.
Now I’m informed that the latest, I guess one could call it “politically correct” term being bandied about is “registered citizen”.
I struggled with this term.
I don’t know who the originator of the term is, someone said it’s been around for a quite a while. Recently I heard that it was mentioned at the ACSOL conference with respect to “reframing our message and changing our narrative.” A stab at changing the public’s perception through verbiage I suppose.
Is it a better label than plain old “registrant”? It’s still a label, no matter how you look at it.
My struggle with the phrase “registered citizen” is two-fold.
First, do registrants care if they are labeled “registrant or registered citizen”? Those registrants that I’ve spoken to don’t want any labels at all and they’re not interested in wasting time trying to make their offense sound more “palatable” to the public. They want to see changes in laws that are unconstitutional, not spend time and energy trying to put the preverbial “lipstick on a pig” in the hopes that society will then view them through rose-colored glasses.
Secondly, does the public, those people who we’re trying to educate and enlighten, does it matter to them what those on the registry are labeled?
People that I’ve spoken to who aren’t registrants don’t feel like the change in terms from registrant to registered citizen will make any difference at all. In explaining what a registrant or registered citizen is to someone, somewhere along the line you have to use the term sex offender for clarification and after that, people tend to stop listening to terminology, they get stuck on the words “Sex Offender”.
When it comes to “labels”, someone gave me a great analogy-
Do those who oppose immigration really care whether those who have crossed our borders are referred to as undocumented citizens, illegal immigrants or undocumented aliens?
Labels don’t make a bit of difference to those on the opposing side of an issue. In fact, sometimes it seems that the more labels we throw into the mix, the more labels that the opposing side will come up with to throw back at us.
As I said, I’ve struggled with the new suggested terminology and have come to this conclusion, personally, and I’m only speaking for myself, I can’t get on board with someone else’s “new and improved” version of yet another label to be heaped upon those on the registry, no matter how “well-meaning.” I know that whoever originated the term “registered-citizen” must have felt that it would help the plight of those on the registry.
I want to get rid of all the degrading labels that add to the weight of those on the registry, not add new ones or fancy up the old ones for the public’s sake. Life’s too short, I don’t have time for that and I just don’t think the public cares one way or the other.
What do you think?