© Miri WTPOTUS April 5, 2013
Recently we learned that a specific word is to be banned by the Associated Press (AP) when used in conjunction with another word: immigrant. The AP “stylebook” will be amended. No longer will AP writers be allowed to write about “illegal immigrants.” Mind you, they have already done away with the word alien, as in “illegal alien,” replacing it with the word immigrant, in an attempt to avoid offending those who have blatantly broken our laws and, in the process, stolen resources, assets, jobs, and benefits from the citizens of OUR COUNTRY. The short-hand term illegals is also out, of course.
First, “illegal aliens” became “illegal immigrants” and then “illegal immigrants” morphed into “undocumented immigrants” or “unauthorized immigrants”. Now, to further contort and distort our English language (a language that some find “offensive” in and of itself), the AP has decided that people cannot be illegal or undocumented.
Actions are illegal; people are not.
So they now contend: [emphasis added to all quotes]
Most news organizations have long used the term “illegal immigrant,” which some people find offensive. They prefer “undocumented,” arguing that “illegal” is dehumanizing and lumps border crossers with serious criminals. Some even view “illegal immigrant” as tantamount to hate speech and refuse to utter it, referring only to the “I-word.”
On Tuesday, the Associated Press revised its influential stylebook and jettisoned “illegal immigrant,” reversing a decision from six months earlier. The AP did not offer an exact replacement, instead recommending that writers fully describe a person’s immigration status.
I-word immigrant is out, too, one must assume. Border crossers isn’t exactly descriptive, because people do cross our borders legally every day. Can one use illegal border crossers, or is that offensive to “some people?”
The authors of the LA Times story (cited above) go on to remind us how difficult it is to be an illegal alien these days. Have some compassion, people!
For immigrants, especially those who have lived without papers, the issue is personal.
“When one is told that one is illegal, it really creates this identity of being a criminal,” said Carlos Amador, 28, who works with young immigrants at UCLA’s Dream Resource Center. “But the reality is, myself, my parents, those in my community who are in this situation of not having papers — all we want is to contribute back into this country, to be accepted and welcomed.”
Immigrants without papers! What used to be known as … dare I write it? Wops. Wikipedia tells us that
Wop is a pejorative racial slur used primarily, but not exclusively, to refer to people from Italy. It is also used to slur Italian-Americans, and it is similar to the word ‘Wog‘, used in Australia.
It originated between 1910 and 1915 in the United States. One theory is that it stands for “without papers” (abbreviated WOP).
When did “Italian” become a race? I digress …
Will AP writers paraphrase activist Amador’s language and call illegal aliens “people living in communities in the situation of not having papers?” That rolls right off the tongue!
Time points out, however, that undocumented isn’t precise enough, either:
The easy fix, one pushed by many immigration reform activists, is to use “undocumented immigrants.” But AP Stylebook editors, being highly concerned about the precision and accuracy of their language, rejected that adjective too. That term … is still too imprecise, [AP standards editor Tom] Kent says: after all, an “undocumented” immigrant could have all sorts of documents, like a driver’s license or a birth certificate from their home country.
AP senior managing editor Michael Oreskes explains why the AP will no longer use the adjective illegal:
It’s incorrect to describe a person as illegal, even if he or she has committed an illegal act, said Michael Oreskes, AP senior managing editor. Thus, “illegal immigration” is acceptable while “illegal immigrant” is not.
Does this mean that we will no longer see words like felon, criminal, rapist, thief, burglar in AP stories? Will felon will be replaced by “a person who has been convicted of a felony”? Will rapist will be replaced by “a person who has been convicted of rape?”
The Times story reminds us that Representative John Conyers
expressed the preference that no one … use the term “illegal immigrants” and instead [Conyers] called such people “out of status.” Yet Kent finds that phrasing even less clear. “Everybody has some status,” he says. “I mean, I’m seated at the moment. I don’t think most readers would grasp what we meant by that.” … Kent’s most elaborate suggestion was “foreigners in the United States in violation of the law.”
The LA Times informs us that
The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which supports deportation and opposes legalization, reacted to the AP’s decision by adopting a new term of its own: “illegal invader.” “Immigrant” should be reserved for people who came to this country legally, said William Gheen, the group’s president.
Illegal invader is more precise, clear, and concise than “foreigner in the United States in violation of the law.” Even more concise would be trespasser, interloper, intruder, poacher, or the time-tested moocher.
What I find particularly galling is this from the LA Times:
“It’s lazy to label people. It’s better to describe them,” Oreskes said.
As Oreskes and Kent have told us in no uncertain terms, it’s also offensive to label people. Do you know what’s offensive to some people? The label birther.
That particular offensive, pejorative label has been used by the AP in many news stories (e.g., here, and here, and here). It seems that their concern for the “feelings” of people in the United States extends only to those who are here illegally.
“We try to be fair to people’s feelings,” standards editor Tom Kent tells TIME, “but we’re not responding to one political current or another.”
Of course not! The AP would NEVER respond to a “political current.” (We totally believe that their sudden ban of the phrase illegal immigrant has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Obama’s legacy-building push for amnesty for illegal aliens.) As for the pejorative term birther, the AP would NEVER use an Alinsky-inspired epithet to discredit
United States citizens who expect presidential candidates to prove that they meet the eligibility requirements delineated by the U.S. Constitution by providing authentic, certified, three-dimensional, and accurate documentation to the public.
They would never unfairly and offensively label a group of U.S. citizens in an attempt to support the political campaign of a certain candidate who happens to be the first African-American president. But wait! Oh, yes, they would, and they have. Multiple AP stories have labeled and stigmatized UNITED STATES CITIZENS by calling them birthers.
Doesn’t the AP care about our feelings?