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End offensive 'off' phrase

I'm getting pretty tired of hearing politicians or commentators use the phrase ''off the reservation'' when seeking to describe how someone has gone beyond appropriate bounds in thought, speech or action on some issue. To me, that is a direct statement to Indians that they know where they are supposed to stay and if they go off the reservation, that's a bad thing. It is a racist phrase.

Do we say that one ''left the plantation'' to suggest that someone went beyond the boundaries of thought, speech or action? Imagine telling Sen. Barack Obama, ''Well, you left the plantation on that one, buddy!'' to demonstrate to him and to the public how he is off-base on an argument that he has made. How unglued would he and other people become over that one?

Yet, somehow we're left with this word usage. I call for a stoppage in use of that phrase. If we don't call for it, we can't expect someone else to do it for us.

- James D. Hill

Tempe, Ariz.