Skip to comments.SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Takes Up Crusade against Term ‘Illegal Immigrant’
Posted on 12/15/2010 8:37:11 AM PST by Zakeet
The Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ)s Diversity Committee has announced that it will be launching a year-long campaign to educate journalists about the hurtfulness of phrases like illegal immigrant, which is the term currently preferred by the influential AP Stylebook.
The label remains offensive to Latinos, and especially Mexicans, and to the fundamentals of American jurisprudence, wrote Leo E. Laurence, a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee and the editor the San Diego News Service (which appears to be this blog that was last updated in August, 2009.
Seeing as most Latinos in the U.S. are not illegal immigrants and since the term has no racial or ethnic connotation its hard to see how it would cause offense to this group. In fact, the only people who should really be put off by the term are illegal immigrants themselves (or their advocates), who dont believe unlawful residency in the U.S. should be a crime.
Laurence argues that the terms undocumented immigrant or undocumented worker should replace illegal immigrant, because the U.S. legal system presumes that one is innocent until proven guilty.
One of the most basic of our constitutional rights is that everyone (including non-citizens) is innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law, wrote Laurence, whose bio notes that he holds a law degree. Simply put, only a judge, not a journalist, can say that someone is an illegal.
Obviously you dont need to go to law school to understand that basic concept. And its certainly important to use words like suspected when writing about a specific individual whose immigration status has not yet been determined. But it has absolutely nothing to do with getting rid of the term illegal immigrant altogether.
Drunk drivers are also innocent until convicted in a court of law and yet the Miami Herald headline Miami police cracking down on drunk drivers hasnt warranted a similar critique from SPJs civil libertarian crusaders. Car theft, too, is considered a crime that must be adjudicated through the legal system. But when the AP reports that Newport News police want to reduce car thefts, does the SPJ consider this a violation of the constitutional rights of the car thief community.
There is simply no difference between those headlines and ones like, Miami police cracking down on illegal immigrants, or Newport News police want to reduce illegal immigration. These reports are referencing a general group, not accusing individual people of crimes. They certainly dont clash with the presumption of innocence before the law.
The SPJ diversity committee says undocumented immigrant is a more appropriate description. Yet living in the U.S. without any documentation of citizenship is illegal. Using the term undocumented immigrant is disingenuous, because it downplays the severity of the crime. Its like calling a car thief an unauthorized driver its misleading to the point of inaccuracy. And when a journalist makes the decision to mislead readers, in an attempt to portray a person or group in a more positive light, it cant be called anything but pure advocacy. Its a shame that an important group like SPJ is promoting such tactics.
... and we professional journalists all wish that you evil, hateful, and politically incorrect Freepers people would quit referring to Undocumented Democrats as illegals ...
We know that they are really “Undocumented Democrats”.
The “SPJ” just proved the “value” of their education....worthless!
Illegal immigrant replaced the term illegal alien, which was seen as too inflammatory to use. So now the only people who talk about illegal aliens are strong conservatives.
So now we’re not even supposed to say that these people are immigrants? How did they get to America? How PC can we get in describing someone who is here but is not a citizen, and came here in violation of the law in the first place?
Or are we supposed to be good liberals and ignore illegal immigration??????
Wetback is more appropriate...
I guess old Dan is the posterkind for the Society of Professional Jourwhoralists!
I have always been fond of illegal alien myself.
I think that this society of journalists should be careful about going on a “crusade” for anything. Muslims are offended by the term “crusade” because of the historic Crusades.
Liberal journalists, pick another term please to describe your efforts.
Eff these state-propagandist bastards who refuse to call things as they really are.
I agree. Let's go with "Wetback."
"Illegal Alien" would work also.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” —Isaiah 5:20
We are in Orwell’s 1984 in many ways, and this is one of them. Controlling the language and how people use language also changes the ideas and concepts that can be expressed. If we can’t call these people illegal at all, it changes the concept of their status, so that the presumption is that there is no legal violation involved. If they are just “undocumented”, that puts them in the same category of somebody who is undocumented because he/she lost their driver’s license.
American jurisprudence calls them exactly that - illegal.
What is offensive here is the SPJ to logic and reason.
Would “illegal parasite” be clearer?
I also like “undocumented democrat”.
How about “border crashers?”
While we're at it, let's replace "Professional Journalist," too. "Politically Correct Propagandist" would be more accurate.
Next the SPJ will call those people who, following a natural disaster, go from store to store, helping themselves to merchandise, “undocumented shoppers exercising a deferred purchase plan” instead of thieving looters.
They should go back home and get one eh!
I still like "illegal alien" ~ which was a step up from "greasers", "wetbacks", and "Mescan" ~ but these guys are definitely NOT IMMIGRANTS. To be an IMMIGRANT you have to have an IMMIGRATION VISA.
SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Takes Up Crusade against Term Reporter
Or just call them POS = PrOfeSsional “pukes”.
No, no, no, they must be referred to as "non uniformed combatants" of a hostile invading force, and dealt with appropriately. IMHO
It’s going to be very hard to control language....UNLESS they control the INTERNET! Back in about 1994 I was told by a “friend” that I should not refer to my husband as “husband” but as “partner.” It was the beginning of the end of my friendship...but, I have found that the “husband and wife” nomenclature has NOT disappeared.
I wish all these yahoos would stop the bloomin’ word games.
They need to play freakin’ Scrabble or some chit to satisfy their addiction to word play.
Illegal immigrant= Illegal immigrant in the real world, where there’s rule of law.
OK how about ALIEN!?
No, the U.S. Constitution belongs to We The People, NOT any Third World Julio who sneaks in to try to get the benefits of Citizenship, without EARNING it.
People here without visas must be sent back so they can pick up theirs.
Instead of taking up a crusade against the TERM “illegal immigrants,” they should take up a crusade AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
When I first read this, I thought it was satire (”...educate journalists about the hurtfulness of phrases like illegal immigrant...). Guess not.
It did give me an idea for a video production: “JournOLists Gone Wild!”
I’d be fine replacing the term with “foreign invader”, personally.
They are correct. There are legal immigrants, non-resident aliens, and illegal aliens. The term, “illegal immigrant” is an oxymoron, as no illegal alien should ever be allowed immigrant status.
... oh, but journalists are just “reporters.” They don’t have an agenda.... right? Uh, no? Gosh. Don’t tell me they’ve been liars this whole time! My world will collapse.
My thoughts exactly.
What they’re planning on replacing it by the term “wetback?”
Don’t know about “undocumented democrat,” since ACORN has already been working very hard in their behalf. How about “pre-registered democrat”?
How about “People who get all the free stuff”?
It contains lots of short words that Journalists can easily spell.
Illegal alien works best.
Illegal immigrant implies that they will eventually be seeking citizenship. Until that aim is expressly declared they remain aliens.
I’ll be more than happy to drop the term “illegal immigrant” from my vocabulary and use the term “illegal alien” in its place.
It used to be their job to report ~ not make up, and in this case their argument is that the AP style book is out of date and should change. Anybody could have told them that ~ took AP ages to learn to refer to "Conservative" instead of "Rightist", and "President Bush" instead of "Shrub".
But, that doesn't matter anymore. The INTERNET controls the style book these days. If you can't say "s--t" then you spell it "5h|+"; and a gazillion of us already know a dozen ways to evade every attempt to regulate our discussions of sex, sexual matters and sexual equipment, and try as they might the gay blades get referred to by all the new terms as well as the old terms and there's nothing they can do about it but cry their widdle eyes out!
That’d be an explicitly homosexual video, right?
I agree we should replace “illegal immigrant” with something more definitive.
I suggest “border jumper”, “invader”, or “criminal interloper”. Other more colorful (and pejorative) appellations might also suffice.
I am going to take up a crusade against the term “Society for Professional Journalists” since they’re neither professional nor journalists.
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