Drop the i-word

Colorlines has just launched this really important campaign to get folks to stop calling people, and particularly immigrants, “illegal.” I wrote not too long ago about how the AP style book promotes this language.

Watch the video (transcript after the jump) and you’ll be convinced. Then go sign the pledge and do what you can to eliminate anti-immigrant sentiment.

Feministing has signed the pledge. Will you?

Transcript of video narration:

Calling people “illegals” feeds a hate machine and hurts our nation’s future. News organizations and government officials who use the i-word need to drop it now.

Cacophony of clips of media pundits and newscasters using the word “illegal” to talk about immigrants.

We get barraged by i-words every single day.

Cacophony of clips of media pundits and newscasters using the word “illegal” to talk about immigrants.

The i-word exploits economic anxiety, it creates fear about our multi-cultural America, and like we’ve seen in the past the i-word is a racial slur that breads hate against all whole groups of people. It’s getting worse. In 2010 use of the word illegal on television quadrupled from 2009. And hateful language is dangerous. More than half of reported hate crimes in 2008 were motivated by race. In the recent period of rising anti-immigrant hysteria, hate-crimes against Latinos rose by 40%.

Hateful language can be deadly. In Long Island in 2008 Marcelo Lucero and his friend Angel Loja were attacked by a group of teens shouting hate speech.  Marcelo was stabbed to death by local high school student Jeff Conroy.

Media clips about Marcelo’s death.

Words that feed hate can also be used to decieve and divide people. Right wing strategists have cast immigrants to the US as the enemy.

It’s no accident that vulnerable people are used as scapegoats. Editors, public servants and all of us should stop using the i-word and other words tainted by hate.

Calling people illegals is just plain wrong. No human being is illegal. Drop the i-word, don’t feed the hate machine.

Sign the pledge at www.droptheiword.com.

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