Originally quoted by Benevolent Heretic
You seem to have the same state of mind that many of the illegal immigrants have - that somehow they should be immune from the law that we have to
I said no such thing. And I've said many times before that they are breaking the law. But in the ranking of crimes, crossing the border in order to
work is much lesser a crime than murder.
They are not immune from the law. And if they are caught, they should be deported.
But that doesn't mean that we should just call them 'illegals". Because it is pejorative. They are still people. And they should at least have
the respect as human beings. Is that so hard?
If they're not criminals, how do you define criminal? How do you define illegal?
A criminal is someone who is caught breaking the law. Otherwise, if they are breaking the law and no one sees them, then there is nothing to hold
them on in terms of criminality. And without being discovered breaking the law, does that make one a criminal?
A lot of the time, people "pronounce" criminality by "looks" and not "behavior". Now that is part of classist and cultural bias. It is also
called "racial profiling".
Illegal, as a noun
, is doing something not legal. As an adjective
, "illegal(s)" is used to describe pejoratively people who have
immigrated here and are undocumented. It not only stigmaticizes the people who are here without documentation, it also stigmatizes their children and
relatives who have been born here. "Illegal" in this sense, dehumanizes the subject so much so that they should not be considered humanely as
Thus, an "illegal" as an adjective is used in rude and inflammatory ways when describing the issue of illegal immigration.
And if "illegal" is mentioned long enough in the media with the connection of a certain type of person (i.e. South Americans, because they never
show any other type of race as an illegal immigrant in the news), then people will not simply say "Mexican" or "South American" anymore. They'll
just refer to anyone with those type of characteristics as an "illegal" whether it is true or not.
That is why cultural bias is involved. I'd be hard pressed for someone to call someone from Russia, Poland or Ireland an illegal. If they do, it
would be a first.
What's wrong with calling a spade a spade? How sensitive are people that adding an additional word (immigrant) makes the term somehow
politically correct and acceptable and nice?
Nothing is wrong with it if you mean it by its proper usage. But when people use "illegal", they often mean it in a pejorative sense.
It has nothing to do with political correctness. It does have to do with concern and respect for all human beings despite their station in life.
If you aren't concerned for all human beings, then by all means call them "illegals". But the use of the term really makes you seem disrepsectful
of another person's humanity and dignity when you do so.
Race has nothing to do with it.
If a person can't handle being called an 'illegal' - if it hurts their feelings too much, perhaps they should stop breaking the law. If they
have to come over here to support their families and work in the fields in the heat of Arizona and California, seems to me that being called an
'illegal' is the least of their problems
That's true. But there's two sides to this as well. It might be the least of their problems, but because of the stigmaticization of being called
an "illegal", it will be a name that will follow them--even after they make themselves legal in the United States.
Calling someone an "illegal" pejoratively doesn't stop when you are sworn in as a naturalized citizen. There are enough culturally biased people
out there that will not stop using the term even to mistake someone as "illegal" because it is ingrained in their mind-set to do so.
Derogatory names don't stop at the gate. They continue as long as they are in the mindset of everyday people.
It has nothing to do with sensitivity. It does have to do with having a conscience.
NO! Where do you get that? You seem to want us to think that these people are inhuman and somehow beneath us. Sorry, we don't. That's a fantasy.
That's feeding the whloe stigma that anyone who is against illegal immigration thinks they are inhuman or 'beneath us'. Well, I don't accept your
judgment and I'm telling you that you are incorrect in your assumption.
Then why are some posters on this board, when referring to illegal immigrants, call them "trash" and "vermin" in reference to the subject matter?
Then, why do others talk about the "Mexican invasion"?
Obviously, by this terminology, someone thinks that illegal immigrants are "subhuman" and "beneath them". This is not true of everyone--but some
It's not a fantasy. It's just being aware of some things that other people are not aware of when they say it. If not, the connotation of what was
said and how it was used.
You seem to have your mind made up that anyone who would use the term 'illegals' is coming from a position of moral superiority and judgment
and you are incorrect. Many people use the term just like they would use "Mexican" (because someone is from Mexico) or Canuck. For many, it's
simply a shorthand term that carries no animosity.
For some it does, but not for all.
No, I don't have my mind made up about the word "illegal" and whether it is used on terms of superiority or not. I do have my mind made up that it
and rather disrespectful. And I have said so in many threads and in many ways.
And by its intent
, it does carry animosity for a whole lot of people. They have said so in blogs, articles and even professional associations.
Political Correctness also does not have anything to do with it. But there have been groups to ask the media to stop using the term to incorrectly
describe those who have immigrated here without naturalization.
Not necessarily. Everyone is not politically correct (Thank God!) If they were racist, they'd be using other terms, trust me. I live in New Mexico.
I'm practically on the border. I hear what racist people call Mexicans. And it ain't "illegals". Although that term is used. That's one of the
I've also heard what racist people call Mexicans (and anyone else of color for that matter). "Illegals", to me, is just a socially acceptable term
to use pejoratively to describe a group of people. The media and political circles have made it acceptible because they do not realize that part of
their constituents might be sensitive to such a term--especially when it describes their relatives.
In American newspapers in the 18th and 19th century, it was acceptable to use the "n-word" to describe black people. Same type of word. Same
medium. Different times, except "illegal" is being replaced by the "n-word".
It's not hard at all. I do it. But I am not (and neither are you) the 'term police'. People are free to use the language they see fit. If their
language causes others to call them racist, so be it. It's just that many times, they are wrong, hence this thread.
I've already admitted I'm not the "word police". In the end, it's up to the person and his/her conscience about what he/she tolerates. I'm
just giving a heads up about how others might perceive the term.
That's my point. I'm not here to call anyone racist. I am expressing my problems with the usage of the word. That's all. Nothing more. I also
have contributed that people might mistake you for being racist, if you easily let the word "illegal" slip out as much as you would say anything
else less pejorative.
It's not about color either. Again, bringing race into this muddies the water. That's what this thread is about. By your statement above, you are
No I am not. This thread is also about the fear of being called racist for talking about illegal immigration. You've got to see both sides, if you
want to handle that fear.
Furthermore you think it's problematic by bringing race into it. That tells me that there is something troubling about talking about illegal
immigration when race is a part of it. That is why people are afraid of being called racist when talking about this.
No one can simply stay away from race when talking about illegal immigration--especially if they have an exact "picture" in their mind of what
"illegals" look like.
Again, that's not necessarily true. And if they were... So what? What if US citizens are angry about this? What's wrong with that? I don't buy that
the term is always out of that anger, and I don't buy that it's as strong as hatred, but what's wrong with being angry at someone?
It's not wrong to be angry. It just depends on what people do with that anger. Some take out their anger by burning a cross on someone's lawn.
Others use their anger proactively by addressing their Congresspeople.
It makes a difference how people channel their anger ultimately.
[edit on 23-7-2006 by ceci2006]