We’re still breathless here at the Drop the I-word campaign about the double victories of the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post dropping the legally inaccurate, dehumanizing, and racist term!
This is why the LA Times dropped the word on May 1:
> The Times adopted its current style on immigration-related language in 1995, recommending the use of “illegal immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants” in lieu of “illegal aliens.” Those phrases have become highly politicized since then, prompting the Standards and Practices Committee to consider an update. The committee has been consulting with reporters and editors from across the newsroom since last fall, as well as meeting with advocates seeking an end to the media’s use of “illegal immigrant.” After hearing strong arguments for and against the current Times style, we concluded that it was time for a new approach.
Then, the very next day, the Denver Post stated it would stop using the word unless it was a direct quote:
> Yesterday, I decided The Denver Post will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” when describing a person in the country unlawfully. If we know the actual circumstances we will describe them. The word “illegal” will not be applied to a person, only an action. >
> We have amended our style many times over the years as language evolved and usage and times changed. As we debated the merits of adopting the AP style change on immigrants, we simply didn’t have a good reason for not making the change. The AP cited its desire to stop labeling people, and we agree with that. There will be cases where illegal immigrant will appear in quotes, but other than that, we will not use the term to describe a person.
We at DTIW congratulate both media outlets for doing the right thing and dropping the i-word!
Oh! And this extra tidbit: I appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show on Sunday, April 28 to discuss the recent action petitioning the New York Times to drop the i-word… which the outlet has yet to do. The first part of the segment is up top, and here’s the second half.