Magazine article New Internationalist

Just Drop It!

Magazine article New Internationalist

Just Drop It!

Article excerpt

The Applied Research Centre (ARC), a US racial justice think tank, started the 'Drop the 1-Word' campaign in autumn 2010. Along with their daily news site, Colorlines. com, ARC is pushing to have the word 'illegals' purged from common use. The US media began to use the term in the 1990s as a kind of racial shorthand, especially in reference to Hispanic immigrants.

According to ARC campaign co-ordinator Monica Novoa, the word 'illegals' is both inaccurate and dangerous - used indiscriminately to describe anyone from new immigrants and Latino citizens to undocumented migrants. It's a label which masks bigotry and prejudice - and in the process may spark violence, racial profiling and hate crimes as well as influence policy. The racially discriminatory message is not explicit, but hidden or 'coded'. For example, the 2008 murder of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Luceron outside a Long Island train station was preceded by one of his assailants dissing him as an 'illegal'. …

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