Thursday, April 04, 2013

Because no person is illegal

Another conservative meme falls down.

Starting now, you will never see the "lazy" words "illegal immigrant" in another AP story unless they're quoting someone important saying it. That faint sound you hear is Senate reporters from the AP, The New York Times, and beyond smacking their delete keys, rethinking their agenda setting aloud, and figuring out how we talk now, amidst a serious legislative discussion, about the millions of illegal immigrants people living in the U.S. without legal permission. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the timely style change
The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term "illegal immigrant" or the use of "illegal" to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that "illegal" should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Coe-rrectamundo. Adverbs shouldn't be nouns. Verbs increasingly become nouns, but not descriptors. This is important.

The caterwauling about Ill Eagles was nothing but a racist diatribe when it was birthed years ago by old, angry white Republicans. But they kept screeching about it until they finally got some media attention, and then it became part of the American discussion. But once "illegal" became people -- men, women, and children -- that's when the xenophobes oops, people with xenophobia lost the battle. Now they are losing the war.

The stricken phrase, as the AP's Carroll explained to Poynter, "ends up pigeonholing people or creating long descriptive titles where you use some main event in someone’s life to become the modifier before their name." She added that the use was a "lazy device."

Just as there are no longer schizophrenics or diabetics, but people with diabetes and schizophrenia. What, you didn't know that either?

Yes, we'll have to endure the whining and moaning of those who are outraged at the PC encroaching on their freedumb of speech. They'll point to George Carlin, alleged liberal icon, as evidence that political correctness has, like socialism, run amuck across this great land.

"Political correctness is America's newest form of intolerance, and it's especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people's language with strict codes and rigid rules. I'm not sure that's the way to fight discrimination. I'm not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech."

Rest in peace, George. I'm still a big fan, even though you're wrong in this case.

At least in the documented and official history, the USA will no longer stigmatize economic refugees with a word that refers to criminal behavior. Will people without citizen status commit crimes? I feel certain they will, just as US citizens do every day. And like the Republicans who violated the speed limit on their way to work this morning, or tear the tags off their pillows, or cheat on their taxes, we won't be calling them "illegals". They're just people who violated the law. Some got caught and some got convicted, and some did not. They're all still innocent until proven guilty.

No person is illegal. Not in God's eyes, and now, not by the judgment of the Associated Press.

Regular folks -- along with the differently-abled people who can do so -- are standing and applauding.

Related: The only thing Republicans have to fear about immigration reform is the GOP itself.

Only 35 percent of Republicans support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. Among conservative Republicans, only 30 percent support it. Despite, say, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio doing a tour of conservative talk radio to pitch his immigration proposal, support among Republicans has actually declined since February. But Republicans don't just have to win over the Republican base. There are many groups within the GOP that are fighting immigration reform, or are ambivalent about it.

What the poll numbers reveal about immigration reform all depends on how the questions get asked. And while it is true that some in the GOP have sobered up about their chances of winning future elections and are coming around to the light, it's also true that some never will.


Matt Bramanti said...

"Adverbs shouldn't be nouns. Verbs increasingly become nouns, but not descriptors. This is important."

"Illegal" as a noun was never in the AP Stylebook. It was an adjective modifying "immigrant," just as it modifies "punch" in the same book.

PDiddie said...

Riiiiiiiight. Which is why all we have heard from Republicans and TeaBags for years is "Ill Eagles" this and "illegals" that.

You and Greg need to get together and talk these things out to make certain they make sense before you post them.