The “Brown Paper Bag Test” [Racial Bias]

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In the last 30 days, companies like Amazon, Twitter, and Apple started to ban the use of the phrase “brown bag”.  The companies are banning the use of “brown bag” even if it’s describing a “brown bag session”, a phrase often used to describe a “lunch and learn” session.

Amazon went so far as to add “brown bag” to its new internal Wiki page with other unconsciously racist terms (see Amazon’s internal wiki page by Business Insider).

So, what’s the history behind brown paper bags? And why is it offensive?

It begins with the Brown Paper Bag Test.

The Brown Paper Bag

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