Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sign Colorlines' Pledge to Drop the I-word by Alex Snider

Colorlines has a campaign going right now called Drop the I-word, that is fighting against the derogatory use of the word "illegal" in the media towards undocumented immigrants in America:
Drop the I-Word is a public education campaign powered by immigrants and diverse communities across the country that value human dignity and are working to eradicate the dehumanizing slur "illegals" from everyday use and public discourse. The i-word opens the door to racial profiling and violence and prevents truthful, respectful debate on immigration. No human being is "illegal."
Given how much more violent the rhetoric surrounding immigration (particularly immigrants of colour) has become in the past few years, with presidential candidates openly calling for electrified fences, stomach-turning racist policies being passed in Arizona and the general demonizing terms being bandied about like anchor babies, this campaign is incredibly important. When large groups of people are mythologized negatively and given derogatory names, they are not afforded the human dignity that every human being is entitled to. A racist term like "illegal" normalizes, even calls for, discrimination and violence against huge swathes of people – going beyond the undocumented workers that it's even trying to target, instead encouraging discrimination against PoC based on racial profiling. 
Pervasive systems like media and government normalize their use and make it easier to deny people basic human rights through our written and unwritten rules. Use of the i-word ignores the fact that our laws are unjustly applied. Immigrants without documents are regularly hired as cheap, exploited labor. No one else who benefits from the set up, including the employers who recruit and hire these migrants, is labeled this way. No one should ever be labeled this way. 
Sign the petition, share it, put pressure on media outlets to rethink their terminology and let's all work towards eliminating a dehumanizing slur.

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