Wednesday, April 03, 2013

AP Drops "Illegal Immigrants". For Stupid Reasons


I really hate the PC word police. They frequently demand (as if they were in a position to demand) that we change our ways of referring to people, generally do so for bad reasons, and generally propose new ways of referring that pretend to be more precise than the old ways, but are, in fact, less so.

One of my favorites was their demand that we call American Indians "Native Americans," despite the fact that most American Indians preferred "American Indians"...

"Illegal alien" is absolutely fine, and in no way derogatory, but people got their panties in a wad about it. I still use it, given that there's no good reason not to. "Illegal immigrant," they demanded, was the preferable alternative. Many of us knew what was coming next--it was just a matter of time. And, indeed, "illegal immigrant" is now on the terminology Index as well. So it has been decreed by those whose sensibilities are delicate beyond measure. So the Word has been handed down to the rest of us...

I'll be ignoring the decree...but I expect most will cave to it...

Oh, there's some made-up bullshit about why we are not to use the verboten terminology anymore. One version goes: actions are illegal, people aren't.

What utter, unmitigated horseshit.

Everyone knows what such a term means. "Illegal immigrant" means "immigrant here illegally." There is nothing whatsoever wrong with the term. There is nothing even vaguely derogatory about it. Similar terms get used all the time, and there is no suggestion that "the person is illegal." I've heard: 'Illegal gun-owner,' 'illegal pot-grower', 'Illegal truck-driver." I've also heard 'illegal midwife,' 'illegal contractor,' and 'illegal electrician.' God knows how many we'd turn up if we thought about it for a bit. None of these terms is derogatory. The meaning of each one is perfectly clear. No one has ever complained that to call someone an illegal contractor is to say that they are, qua person, illegal. Such a person is a person who illegally performs electircal work. This is not complicated.

Jesus this is some stupid nonsense.

We should start taking bets one what the arbiters of PC terminology will decree to be the Permissible Terminology here...

I'm going to guess:

Differently Legal Americans.

But perhaps:  Citizens In Potentia...

It's really too bad that time is wasted on such nonsense, too bad that people knuckle under to it, and too bad that it will, inevitably, just alienate people on the right who are, sadly, somewhat more sensible than those on the left in this respect. And harder to push around. Pushing mindless, ungrounded pieties on them (not to mention the rest of us) does absolutely nothing positive. This is little more than an attempt to score points in the debate by arbitrarily changing terminology in a way that de-emphisizes the fact that the relevant people are here illegally.

Really, really, really stupid and off-putting in my book.


Anonymous Bacon Attack said...

Control the language, control how the argument is framed. Control how the argument is framed, control the argument. Alleged offensiveness is just a ruse. Another phase in PC thought control.

I prefer Leno's linguistic innovation "undocumented democrat."

1:26 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


1. I couldn't agree more about the first point.

2. As a Democrat, let me say that 'undocumented Democrat' is bloody hilarious.

1:35 PM  

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