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Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:31 PM

‘Illegal immigrant’ no more

http://blog.ap.org/2013/04/02/illegal-immigrant-no-more/



The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally.

Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision:

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.

Why did we make the change?

The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)

<snip>



Thank you AP!

83 replies, 5660 views

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Arrow 83 replies Author Time Post
Reply ‘Illegal immigrant’ no more (Original post)
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 OP
ZOB Apr 2013 #1
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #2
ZOB Apr 2013 #17
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #43
ZOB Apr 2013 #49
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #54
ZOB Apr 2013 #55
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #64
ZOB Apr 2013 #65
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #66
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #70
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #71
alp227 Apr 2013 #78
NightWatcher Apr 2013 #3
ZOB Apr 2013 #19
Iggo Apr 2013 #51
UnrepentantLiberal Apr 2013 #52
alp227 Apr 2013 #77
RC Apr 2013 #4
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #5
RC Apr 2013 #9
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #10
RC Apr 2013 #11
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #12
RC Apr 2013 #15
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #18
RC Apr 2013 #22
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #24
RC Apr 2013 #26
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #28
LittleBlue Apr 2013 #41
RZM Apr 2013 #42
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #45
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #47
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #72
Skip Intro Apr 2013 #30
TroglodyteScholar Apr 2013 #7
Iggo Apr 2013 #67
alp227 Apr 2013 #79
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #57
datasuspect Apr 2013 #81
RC Apr 2013 #83
pampango Apr 2013 #6
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #8
StrayKat Apr 2013 #13
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #16
StrayKat Apr 2013 #20
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #23
Babel_17 Apr 2013 #25
StrayKat Apr 2013 #33
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #48
Babel_17 Apr 2013 #14
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #21
Babel_17 Apr 2013 #31
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #34
Babel_17 Apr 2013 #35
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #37
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #50
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #53
SoCalDem Apr 2013 #75
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #76
SoCalDem Apr 2013 #80
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #82
Cal Carpenter Apr 2013 #27
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #29
Cal Carpenter Apr 2013 #40
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #44
War Horse Apr 2013 #32
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #36
War Horse Apr 2013 #39
kudzu22 Apr 2013 #38
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #46
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #59
Niceguy1 Apr 2013 #56
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #58
Niceguy1 Apr 2013 #60
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #61
Niceguy1 Apr 2013 #62
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #63
Nye Bevan Apr 2013 #68
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #69
LooseWilly Apr 2013 #73
SoCalDem Apr 2013 #74

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:39 PM

1. So what's the appropriate noun to describe these people?

 

"a person who has illegally immigrated to the United States" rather than "illegal immigrant"?

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Response to ZOB (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:43 PM

2. Probably not "these people"...

It's explained in the link...

"illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented."

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:20 PM

17. Sensitive much?

 

I was obviously referencing "these people" of whom we're speaking.

Like I asked, there's no longer an acceptable simple adjective/noun descriptor? It just seems odd.

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Response to ZOB (Reply #17)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:05 PM

43. "Obviously" ... now who's being much-sensitive?

Of course, as Tropic Thunder so amusingly illustrated with "you people" () ... "these people" has a certain condescending tone.

I found it amusing you should use it in so spectacularly ironic a context. I am also rather amused that you had such a sensitive reaction. No need to become so defensive, right?

But that's neither here nor there.

Why do you expect that there should be a "simple adjective/noun descriptor" for a context that is, really, rather complex?

Surely, you're not arguing that the media should dumb down their terminology in order to save you the effort of reading a couple of extra syllables, at the risk of perpetuating & even increasing the dissemination of terms that have been loaded with a certain condescension &/or morality by those who would spin a term in order to simplify a cross section of people... generally with an apparent aim of then villifying the simplified "object" contained within the conveniently light-on-syllables "descriptor".

If you are really asking if there remains a "simple" term for those of uncertain work/residency status- I can give you a simple answer.

No.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #43)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:24 PM

49. I don't look to "Tropic Thunder" for language lessons.

 

That aside, this IS something for which a simple adjective/noun descriptor is completely sufficient.

"illegal" meaning contrary to law

"immigrant" meaning one who moves into another country


We're discussing people who have moved to this country contrary to law.

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Response to ZOB (Reply #49)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:04 PM

54. Obviously you don't look to "Tropic Thunder" for language lessons... and it shows.

And, by your definition, I am an illegal, because I speed- behavior "contrary to law".

I'm sure you're illegal too. Ever jay walk? Ever forget to report a tip to the irs? Ever fudge and/or guess about the cost/basis of a stock, or a mutual fund, on your schedule D?

I bet you have ... you know what that means, by your definition, right?

That's right, you're one of "these people".

And as for "immigrant"... unless you're Cherokee, or some other Native American Peoples (I actually prefer the term pueblo, the Spanish doesn't have the same sort of demeaning connotation as the English "tribe"... but if you watched more "Tropic Thunder", then you'd know that already.) ... well, unless you're Native American, you're an immigrant too. (Unless, of course, you're posting from Hungary or something.)

So, once again, you're one of "these people". And so am I. And so is most everyone in this thread. The only difference is in the depth of detail and context.

If I were of a suspicious turn of mind I might think that you are being so defensive of the "simple adjective/noun descriptor" simply because- as it simplifies those that you seem content to simplify, it likewise simplifies your own status... bestowing a comfortable connotation of simplified "virtue" upon yourself that you are just as afraid to give up just as surely as you are loathe to stop simplifying "these people".

Luckily for all concerned, I'm not that paranoid... so I'll just assume you prefer your terminology as monosyllabic as possible.

We're not, however, discussing people who have moved into this country contrary to law. We're discussing the question of whether or not the use of simplified language that allows for the demeaning of the situation of individuals is something we should endorse and continue with.... or whether we should acknowledge that there are a variety of situations facing a variety of individuals and endeavor to be more specific in our choice of words so as to not unwittingly foist undeserved negative connotations onto individuals or even entire swaths of people.

Oops... looks like trying to use a "simple adjective/noun descriptor" caused you to miss the real point of this discussion... which ironically illustrates exactly the danger that the change of AP style is meant to address.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #54)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:21 PM

55. If you drive without an operator's license, you ARE an "illegal driver".

 

Your diatribe on what makes one an "immigrant" aside, we operate in a society that legally defines citizenship and immigration. I'M not an immigrant because I was born in this country and U.S. law defines me as a natural citizen. My great-grandparents WERE immigrants, and they completed the necessary process to move to this country legally.

Since you seem to take great interest in the reasoning behind my position, I'll explain it to you. "Illegal immigrant" is a perfectly accurate descriptive term. The "best" arguments against its use seem to be either that we screwed over a bunch of Native Americans, word games insisting that the term defines the PERSON as illegal instead of their ACTIONS, or that the term has a stigma attached to it (maybe breaking immigration law SHOULD have a stigma attached when so many have spent a lot of time and effort to legally immigrate).

I don't consider any of these reasons valid, nor do I believe that they justify abandoning a concise descriptor for a string of apologetic words that mean the exact same thing.



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Response to ZOB (Reply #55)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:50 PM

64. If you read "speed" as "drive without an operator's license" I can see why you insist on simplicity

Perhaps I was just being too specific... and you couldn't comprehend what the words meant?

Speeding is an illegal act that one can perform whether or not one has a valid operator's license for the vehicle in questions (presuming that one is operating a vehicle for which speed/velocity is regulated by law).

Driving without an operator's license is a completely different illegal act.

I suppose that you simply swapped terms to try to support your point.

In doing so, however, you have supported mine, and the AP's. By using simplified language one is able to generalize a context and from there one is able to draw convenient conclusions that one might not otherwise have been able to draw, had the person in question been using language with any specificity.

Are speeders "illegals"?

If immigrants who break the law are "illegals" and drivers who break operator's permits laws are "illegals", then speeders, breaking laws regulating velocity, are also "illegals". Likewise, those who cross a street outside of a legally designated crosswalk are breaking the law, and are therefore "illegals".

Our society legally defines limits on the velocities at which we may drive, and points at which we may cross the street. And, maybe breaking speeding laws and street crossing laws SHOULD have a stigma attached when so many have spent a lot of time and effort to drive at the legally defined speed limit and to cross streets in the legally prescribed locations.

If those arguments make sense to you... then you are being intellectually honest in your argument. If not... well, we come full circle.



What do you mean, "these people"?

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #64)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:59 PM

65. Speeding does not make you an "illegal driver". Murder does not make you an "illegal immigrant".

 

In the first situation, you are a legal driver who has broken the law.

In the second, you are a legal immigrant who has broken the law.


The word "illegal" is used as an adjective in this phrasing. It modifies the noun. It's completely possible to have a legal right to do something and still break laws. "Illegal immigrant" speaks to the fact that the object has illegally immigrated. "Illegal driver" would define one who is actually DRIVING in contrary to law.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #64)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 09:12 PM

66. It looks like ZOB won't be back anytime soon.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=profile&uid=301872&sub=trans

Looks like he was a right-winger! I'm shocked, shocked, to find a conservative on this side of the issue.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #66)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:42 PM

70. I tried to show him the wisdom of "Tropic Thunder"... but he wouldn't listen

Heh, but I was touched by that final nugget describing how an "illegal immigrant" is a description of an "object"... as opposed to a speeder just being a person who does something illegal.

A distinction that apparently caused him no mental dissonance.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #70)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:51 PM

71. I don't think people are quite his thing.

Judging some the posts that got him booted.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #64)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 02:54 PM

78. I can't wait for the news media to start reporting on...

- illegal bankers
- illegal oil companies (like whoever was responsible for the Arkansas oil spill)
- illegal CEOs
- illegal politicians

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Response to ZOB (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:43 PM

3. Uninvited Extended Stay Guest

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Response to NightWatcher (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:20 PM

19. A little wordy, but as good a name as any, I guess.

 

Last edited Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:29 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to ZOB (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:52 PM

51. Yes.

Very Good!

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Response to ZOB (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:53 PM

52. "So what's the appropriate noun to describe these people?"

 

You mean when they're in earshot?

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Response to ZOB (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 02:52 PM

77. ICE still uses that term & "illegal alien", while DHS uses "unauthorized immigrant"

per a google search of all 3 terms in the DHS.gov and ICE.gov sites.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:43 PM

4. More gobbledegook so we will all sound like politicians campaigning, with the effect that no one can

 

be sure what was said or meant.

What is wrong with using accurately descriptive words instead of longer and longer PC based sentences to muddy and confuse the subject. If you are not here legally, you broke the law by being here and therefore you are an illegal.

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Response to RC (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:46 PM

5. Or not have to read racist news stories.

But I'm sure AP would love to hear from you: stylebook@ap.org

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:53 PM

9. What does race have to do with this? Nothing.

 

We are being told how to speak and think and some of us just absorb it as fact, without question. More shades of 1984.

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Response to RC (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:57 PM

10. History is passing you by. Too bad.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:03 PM

11. What are we supposed to call them? Criminals?

 

That doesn't quite fit somehow. Most of them aren't, except for being her illegally.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #12)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:17 PM

15. Which goes back to my original question in my first post.

 

And why the word gobbledygook popped into my head.

Why use longer and longer PC sentences where short descriptive words work better at getting the point across? Is that not the point of "Communications", to communicate, instead of befuddle by obfuscation?

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Response to RC (Reply #15)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:20 PM

18. I think AP covers that in the rest of the story at the link.

You can only post a small part of stories here because of copyright issues.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #18)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:24 PM

22. I did read it.

 

It was a bit more than muddled. They did not explain themselves very well.

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Response to RC (Reply #22)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:27 PM

24. I guess you could email them for clarification.

It seemed pretty straightforward to me.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #24)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:34 PM

26. This might be part of the problem.

 

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022604716

Not by choice, apparently, and they still haven't come up with an alternate.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022604716


Or did you miss that part, i.e., No replacement for the now no-no words? How could anyone not be confused?

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Response to RC (Reply #26)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:39 PM

28. They are writing stories with better description.

The terminology they were using before was incorrect. People cannot be "illegal"...as was mentioned down below, we don't write stories about jaywalkers and call them "illegal".

"Person from Mexico who is resident alien in Kalamazoo, MI" for example, actually describes for the reader what reality it. The other terminology does not.

I'm sorry you find it confusing.

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Response to RC (Reply #26)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:04 PM

41. Don't bother

These people are so obsessed with scrubbing language, even if it leads to inane 20 syllable phrases to describe illegal aliens or undocumented migrant workers or whatever the fuck.

God, I hope there is a blanket amnesty soon so this crap can end. Hopefully soon enough we can call them what they are: Americans.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:04 PM

42. Well you would certainly know what that feels like n/t

 

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Response to RZM (Reply #42)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:12 PM

45. You mean watching a small section of racist speech end?

I do know what that feels like. It's quite enjoyable.

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Response to RZM (Reply #42)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:15 PM

47. Well, that certainly is a well reasoned comment... and ironic coming from a "historian"

Such a disdain for the evolution of history... tsk tsk.

Is that the sort of attitude that informed your choice of screen name here on DU? I guess a certain disdain for worrying about the details of the words, or even initials, you employ is rather your m.o. Whatever is close to hand is fine, no need to worry over the details. If anyone's offended, that's their problem, not yours. Yes?

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #47)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 01:16 AM

72. Gosh, six hours later and no snappy comeback.

Bob Hope is rolling in his grave.

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Response to RC (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:48 PM

30. +100.

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Response to RC (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:47 PM

7. By your flawed reasoning...

...anyone breaking a law--a drug dealer, a jaywalker, a fraudster--should be called "an illegal."

Your defense of the term is laughable.

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Response to TroglodyteScholar (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:16 PM

67. There's always some pushback when you take away a widely used slur.

Show some patience.

They'll come around, eventually.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #67)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 02:56 PM

79. But Immigration & Customs Enforcement still uses "illegal immigrant" and "illegal alien".

But the Dept. of Homeland Security uses "unauthorized immigrants", even during the Bush admin, per this 2008 report.

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Response to RC (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:29 PM

57. By your logic, if I sped to get "here" then I am "not here legally", so I am "an illegal"

... because I broke the law in getting "here".

You're an illegal, I'm an illegal... wouldn't everyone like to have a car so they can be illegals too?...

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Response to RC (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 04:35 PM

81. gee, it sucks not being able to use hate speech

 

dang PC libruls!!!!1111

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #81)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 05:03 PM

83. Yeah, so instead of using simple descriptive words, we use long gobbledegook sentences

 

to say the exact same thing.
We are now supposed to talk like politicians using double speak? I don't think so.
No wonder this country is going to Hell in a hand basket, with so many people swallowing so much shit whole, without thinking, just because we were told by someone that this is the way it will be from now on.

Well, some of us don't like the taste of the shit.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:46 PM

6. Good! "Illegal" should not be used to describe a person whether they have broken driving laws

(like speeding) or immigration laws.

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Response to pampango (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 05:51 PM

8. Yes. The depersonalizing term is connected to the rise of hate crimes against Latinos.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:12 PM

13. Seems like a half measure

It's good to be removing the pejorative "illegal" from the press' vernacular, but the solution that AP gave is unsatisfactory. They need to coin a term. As long as "illegal alien" is quicker and easier to write or say than the alternative, it will continue to be used.

I remember a similar issue came up with county workers creating press releases and PSAs that referred to county citizens. Of course, no one is a citizen of a county and some of the programs were open to non-US citizens, etc. The alternative given was to refer to "people who live or work in the county". Despite numerous reminders, people still revert to "citizen"; it is just too convenient a term.

Additionally, the change also begs the question of how to refer to 'legal aliens'.

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:18 PM

16. It's part of a broader change to their entire Stylebook.

"Also, we had in other areas been ridding the Stylebook of labels. The new section on mental health issues argues for using credibly sourced diagnoses instead of labels. Saying someone was “diagnosed with schizophrenia” instead of schizophrenic, for example."

Labels like this won't be used in their stories anymore. It won't matter if one is faster to write, their reporters simply won't be using the old forms.

I don't think AP Stylebook affects writing for organizations outside of AP.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:23 PM

20. Well, it sort of does.

Many public relations offices adopt the AP style because some of their releases go to newspapers and outlets that prefer this style. To make it easier, some just adopt AP style as their corporate or institutional style rather than learning multiple styles and switching back and forth.

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #20)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:26 PM

23. That would be cool.

I imagine there is going to be some institutional resistance on this change. Hopefully people will shift along. I didn't find that it took longer to type, myself.

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:30 PM

25. How about ...

"legal aliens" = "resident non-citizens" or = "legal residents", maybe?

Being lawful/legal is implied in just about everything, I think.

E.G.: The police monitor a parade/demonstration but break up an illegal parade/demonstration.

Things like a sit-in have the violation of the rules as built into what defines them so I wouldn't say "an illegal sit-in".

Though I suppose if the sit-in was guaranteed to bring down the cops then maybe I would.

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:49 PM

33. I'm not sure.

Legal alien refers to everyone with permission to be in the US who is not a US citizen, e.g. -- guest workers, tourists, permanent residents, etc. So, resident doesn't hit the mark.

Non-citizen is sometimes used to refer to people who are not citizens of any nation, moreover it sounds like making someone into a non-entity.

I don't know. I don't have an answer. That's why a new term probably needs to be coined.

But, good on the AP for being aware of the problem.

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:21 PM

48. Editors in the media, from college newspapers to ... the AP, use the stylebook as Law

If the stylebook says "illegal" is not acceptable, then any writer who uses the term will have it edited out of his/her story. And he/she will be the subject of lectures and probably scathing criticism and ridicule. Until they stop.

If an editor misses an instance of it, they will be expected to print a retraction/apology (if it's a reputable organization).

The AP stylebook also gets used in a lot of PR and other sorts of writing. It is a very real measure. It may take some time to "propagate" throughout the industry, but propagate it will.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:16 PM

14. How about, "Unconfirmed"

So we could say "millions of people are anticipating a change in their unconfirmed status".

"Of the unconfirmed, those who meet the standards set in the bill from congress can expect a reasonable path to citizenship".

"Millions of unconfirmed immigrants and their supporters await the bill's passage"

I guess "non-naturalized immigrant" might be ok too. Though would there be sensitivity to having "natural" as part of the term. "We're not illegal, we're not aliens, and we're not unnatural", might be the refrain.

Like the New York Times said, "undocumented" sort of implies you just left your paperwork in your other jacket. Some terminology has to be used. We don't want to stir up negative connotations but in all honesty we can't ignore that the line to immigrate was bypassed. Possibly it was bypassed with ample justification but the regulations do exist and aren't going to be swept away in the foreseeable future.



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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:24 PM

21. They go into detail at the end on what terminology they intend to use



illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

<snip>

Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?

People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.



The shift is to describe an action, not label a person as an action or status itself, from what I understand.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #21)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:48 PM

31. "someone in a country without permission" isn't going to cut it, imo

The writer of that piece really danced around this hard to write about issue but that was the only terminology for referring to people, not their actions, he could come up with.

That is inadequate imo. "someone in a country without permission" won't be viable.

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:51 PM

34. I'm not sure what to tell you.

AP has adopted this for now. Sounds like they've had a robust discussion of how they view the issue. I'm sure there will be a period of adaptation.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #34)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:53 PM

35. No problem, and thanks for posting this thread (nt)

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #35)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:57 PM

37. My pleasure. :) nt.

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #31)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:47 PM

50. I don't think it'll be a big problem for most writers... unless they're simply limited by space.

"Chris McSmith, who has resided in Oklahoma for several months past the expiration of his visa from Ireland, won the powerball drawing Wednesday- and now he faces legal jeopardy resulting from the necessity to fill out the tax forms stemming from his sudden windfall."

Not a problem unless your editor insists your lede be 25 words or less. 44 words could be pared down to 35 by using "who is an illegal immigrant from Ireland" ... but with that sort of editor you could always just cut it to "who has overstayed his visa" ... and maybe cut some of the verbiage about necessities and such.

As for how it reads- I think it's much better and much clearer than "Chris McSmith, illegal, won...".

Now if only the AP would decide "drug dealer" is too generic, so we could all get the contextual difference between a pot dealer, a medicinal pot grower/distributor, and a crack dealer... that would be another nice step.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #50)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:01 PM

53. Nice examples.

Very clear and it reads well.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #50)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 06:56 AM

75. How about "Chris McSmith, who lives in ...... won the powerball"

Let Chris & the authorities sort out the details..

If overstaying is a misdemeanor, why are we not presented with:

"Chris McSmith, who was once was arrested for shoplifting a weed-whacker from Lowes, won the powerball drawing Wednesday-......."

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #75)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 01:21 PM

76. You present a fine point... though I wrote that lede to specifically make it a relevant point.

Immigration status affecting the tax implications of payment.

In general though, I agree.

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #76)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 04:26 PM

80. Even tax implications are no one's business but the giver & the receiver

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #80)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 04:51 PM

82. Heh, maybe we should just do away with the media entirely and all entertain each other with lively

... stories about our day at work, or the new tricks we've come up with washing the dishes... or maybe a little composition about that danged crow that keeps taunting the cat three doors down?

Or maybe some things are newsworthy and the "business" of the people.

This is a completely different discussion, but I would argue that the fictional point is newsworthy, because if you have any sort of residency issues, legally speaking, then any interaction with the apparatus of the state will put you in potential jeopardy. If Some software engineer from Sri Lanka wins the lottery but has overstayed her work visa (H1b?) and the paperwork to collect lottery money, specifically the paperwork for the 1099-MISC (or maybe 1099-G, come to think of it) which will have to be filed with the IRS, is liable to lead to a mandatory state reporting of the winner's name to the INS (or whatever their initials are now)... then I would argue that that is a potentially important story for any day laborers, visiting college faculty, heroin smugglers, or anyone else who might have paperwork that is less than in-order & who also likes to play the lottery or buy scratchers or... whatever.

You can argue that it's no one's business. I disagree. I think it serves as a warning to others, though some might well argue that it is just an indictment of one individual who was too irresponsible with his or her paperwork.

I would also point out that it could be argued that a President being investigated for bribery is really no one's business. Or a Senator. Or a state senator. Or a county commissioner. Or a city councilperson. Or that guy who owns those two Arby's out on the east side of town.

On the other hand, the police blotter in most any local paper will actually include not only the story of any crimes of interest to the local public, with a mugshot of the accused acquired from the local sheriff (or whoever it is that runs the jails in your state), but it will often also include notice of everything from assaults to someone calling the police because they suspected that there were vagrants going through and stealing their recycling.

At what point is it no one's business? Well, there are actually entire courses in journalism school devoted to that topic. The gist of the answer is this: It's no one's business when it's no one's business.

The reality is— the answer is in the details... which is exactly the sort of realization that makes the argument for using a more specific descriptor, or set of descriptors if necessary, than the overly convenient and too easily spun & loaded with vilification one that the AP has just done away with: "illegal"— no more.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:37 PM

27. A person cannot be 'illegal', an action can

We don't describe other groups of people as 'legal' when it is irrelevant to a story (remember, this is the AP stylebook). We don't say 'legal citizen Donald Trump is a jackass' or 'illegal citizen Joe Schmoe is accused of breaking and entering...'. We may say 'convicted burglar Joe Schmoe' if it applies. If he has been found guilty of a crime.

And a person is never 'illegal', perhaps their actions are. And if they haven't been convicted of a crime, how do you know? We all become judge and jury when we assign people this label.

It is degrading.

It is dehumanizing.

It also tends toward the racist, to put it mildly. I am being generous to the naive in saying that. Because the human beings that the media (and many people) are most likely to assign this word to are brown or black. Often deliberately.

That's a fact.

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Response to Cal Carpenter (Reply #27)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:44 PM

29. I agree.

It's sloppy writing, to put the most generous gloss on that. That video I posted up above "Don't use the I word" makes a good case for correlation of the rise of the use of the word "illegals" on right-wing media to the stunning rise in hate crimes against Latinos.

It's gone from just bad writing to scarcely coded racist speech.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #29)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:03 PM

40. The worst is when people simply say 'illegals'

I am amazed at how many people in that video use it as a noun. I had no idea it was so common on the cable media.

It is flat out racism.

Scarcely coded indeed.

When becomes standard lexicon and it becomes extremely dangerous. It becomes hate. It really does.

If we can't take half a step back and see how bad it is, we are fucked. Divide and conquer wins.

Given the fact that half of the media doesn't even seem to have editors these days, I don't know if this AP change is more symbolic than anything else, but it is thought-provoking and hopefully discussion and education provoking as well.

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Response to Cal Carpenter (Reply #40)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:11 PM

44. I was amazed too, I don't watch TV

Just shows on the web if it's something I know I want to watch. The vision of Beck spitting that word out like that made it totally unambiguous and racist.

I'm uneasy thinking of legions of their viewers being fomented by the vitriol on those shows. I was once in Kaiser pharmacy picking up a script for my mom when she was in emergency last year and Fox was on. They were talking about someone with a name from a Middle Eastern culture and there was this disgusting chuckle and the commentator said "Oh, there's a nice Amish name. Haha." What is that shit, corporate ham radio? I couldn't believe it.

I doubt they'll be adopting the AP Stylebook, but it's a small step for mainstream reporting anyway.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:49 PM

32. If you're in a country illegally, are you actually an 'immigrant'?

I don't see 'undocumented' going away in Europe any time soon. Here in Norway it's pretty much PC as a euphemism of sorts.

I applaud AP for trying to take away some ammo from the bigots, though.

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Response to War Horse (Reply #32)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 06:55 PM

36. I think that it depends on how long you plan on staying.

Immigration is pretty much the mainstream term we use for people coming here, with paperwork or not, if they aren't tourists.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #36)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:02 PM

39. Gotcha :)

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:00 PM

38. So they'll stop talking about illegal guns then?

A gun is not an action.

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Response to kudzu22 (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 07:15 PM

46. The first line of the story says "people"

"The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people..."

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Response to kudzu22 (Reply #38)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:36 PM

59. Crack is not an action either...

And, while they may be two great tastes that taste great together, I don't think that objects which are proscribed by law are are going to cease to be referred to as "illegal" any time soon.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:23 PM

56. No matter how many times the

acceptable term is changed people will take offense to what ever verbiage is used to describe a prone who immigrates here illegally.

Maybe we can use a simple term like law breakers or alleged immigration code violators.

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Response to Niceguy1 (Reply #56)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:29 PM

58. You'll have to take that up with AP.

Although your usage in your first sentence seems in line with AP Stylebook guidelines, although I imagine autocorrect bolixed "person".

But yes," _______, who has lived in Paperclip, AK for X years, immigrated illegally to the United States after years of political strife in his country of __________" seems perfectly acceptable as far as I can see.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #58)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:36 PM

60. and when you dont have a lot of space?

I remember back when undocumented immigrant was heralded as the PC replacement of illegal immigrant. Now that seems to be unpopular now that it has gained widespread use, as usually is the case.

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Response to Niceguy1 (Reply #60)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:41 PM

61. AP seems to be of the reasoned opinion that the pixels will not be too crowded.

Perhaps they might squish a bit. Otherwise, DUer LooseWilly shows a good example of how to shorten a lede if need be:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2605122

The evolving use of language is such an interesting topic. The article mentioned that they had debated the issue all year internally with a lot of input.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #61)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:43 PM

62. it all boils down to

political correctness by the AP.

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Response to Niceguy1 (Reply #62)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 08:45 PM

63. I'm sure they'll take that under advisement.

I, sadly, do not work for them, and have no power to convey your misgivings.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:28 PM

68. Wow. The ultimate in political correctness. Deeming a term offensive without naming a replacement.

They should at least try. How about "specially documented"?

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #68)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:41 PM

69. Hmm.

How about a term for people who can't read explanations? "Specially non-readerly?" Or could we describe as an action, "This person, who could have found an explanation in the text, failed to read that far." It seems less awkward and more descriptive.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #68)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 06:40 AM

73. It's not political correctness, in the context of the AP style guide, to "nix" a term

The AP style guide has also deemed referring to people as "communists" to be borderline slanderous and therefore "nixed", unless the person or people self-refer as communists. This is because of the understanding of the connotations and contexts that the label created.

Likewise, the AP style guide frowns upon, and borderline outright proscribes, the use of terms like "explained", "felt", etc. when referring to the expostulation of a quote... because the inherent connotations of the verbs "colors" the reading of the quotes.

In the context of that understanding encompassed by the AP style guide ... the assertion that this is somehow some sort of "political correctness" (a term which has been so bandied about and loaded with connotative BS by the resistors of any sort of recognition that simple habit of use of offensive speech does not, in fact, make offensive speech less offensive, just less apt to be recognized as offensive by those who have become habituated to using it without any regard for how it may offend some who hear it)... is actually a sign that the AP is ahead of the curve on this and is recognizing and phasing out phrases which add a bias to whatever sentences may happen to contain said phrases.

One of the major aims of the AP style guide is to avoid the use of language which would tend to undermine the "objectivity" with which they try to communicate a story, which is a point of journalistic integrity.

I'm afraid that, if you want your stories to include language which undermines "objectivity" and instead inserts connotative judgements surreptitiously into the language itself, then you will have to stick with FOX News... as I'm sure they will not be observing this latest stylistic judgement by AP.

As for "naming a replacement", I'm sure that a standard will be decided upon, once it is stumbled upon... most likely when a writer comes up with a brilliant and pithy phrasing. In the meantime, however, we should all be able to "endure" some specificity in order to avoid the negatively-connotated, borderline-pejorative, short hand that seems to have evolved and been doubly loaded thusly by commentators whose aim appears to be to villify immigrants who may or may not have skirted the technicalities of the laws.

(I'll just add a note here that it is ironic that, while workers are not free to cross borders to work, owners are free to cross borders to setup factories and hire workers wherever they want, globally.)

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Response to LooseWilly (Reply #73)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 06:50 AM

74. One option would be to just use a person's name

gender.age etc, with NO mention of their nationality. If an "event" occurs within the US borders, it's safe to assume that the participant was within the borders of the US.


If it involves an arrest, the police will sort it all out. If there's a "residency" issue, I'm sure that a court somewhere will sort it out too.

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