CNN's Sally Kohn says using the term "illegal" to describe anyone who enters or stays in America illegally is tantamount to employing a racial slur such as the "n-word" or the "f-word" as a disparaging term for a homosexual man.
You could see this one coming a mile away. As the border crisis grows and politicians, pundits, and media personalities debate and discuss the problem of the 50,000+ unaccompanied alien children who've illegally entered our country over the past several months, leave it to liberal commentators to focus their arguments on the appropriate politically correct euphemisms used to identify the children.
Kohn writes in a column on CNN.com:
During the civil rights era, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was asked by a supporter why he was fixated on the politics of race. Wallace replied, "You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*ggers, and they stomped the floor."
In the 1980s, during the rise of the gay rights movement, North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms accused a political opponent for supporting "f*ggots, perverts, [and] sexual deviates of this nation."
Today, opponents of immigration reform attack undocumented immigrants as "illegal immigrants." Even worse, like anti-immigration extremists, some prominent elected officials use the term "illegals." Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, said, "I urge all Mainers to tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals."
Once upon a time, the n-word and f-word were utterly acceptable terminology in undermining not only the basic rights but basic humanity of black people and gay people. That those terms seem radically inappropriate and out of step with mainstream culture now is only because social movements and legal and political changes have shifted the landscape. But make no mistake about it, words matter, not only in reflecting certain dehumanizing attitudes toward historically marginalized groups but in actively perpetuating and rationalizing that dehumanization.
Not the same thing? Of course it is.
This is a common tactic employed by the left. Instead of arguing the actual merits of their cause or the actual issue of the border crisis they instead attack you for the perfectly legitimate word you use when making your point about the issue. And why not? The issues and merits don't play well for the left right now, so much easier to call their opponents "racist" or "intolerant haters" than have to try to convince Americans that everyone and anyone should be welcomed as new citizens if they illegally cross our nation's borders.
The politically correct language police are hard at work at the Department of Homeland Security as well. According to reporter Caroline May, the term "Unaccompanied Alien Children" or "UAC" is no longer to be used by department officials:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel have been directed to no longer refer to illegal immigrant children crossing the border alone as "UACs" (unaccompanied alien children).
Instead these individuals are to be referred to as "unaccompanied children" in official correspondence, according to an internal ICE email obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies and shared with Breitbart News.
"This was briefed earlier today during he (sic) command and staff meeting," an email sent to ICE personnel reads. "It has been requested that in correspondence regarding unaccompanied children, They (sic) not be referred to as UACs. The term UAC should not be used in official correspondence."
The email, with the subject line "UACs," continues, "The appropriate messaging on documents should be using the term : unaccompanied children all lower case. (Unless capitalizing would be grammatically correct)."
Meanwhile, the PC language police have already had their impact on the mainstream media. Most of the articles about the crisis on the border refer to the unaccompanied alien children as "immigrants" rather than "aliens" or, probably even more appropriately "refugees."
Aren't these children much closer to refugees than immigrants based on our traditional understanding of these words? The last two waves of refugees our country was faced with were the Vietnamese and Cambodian "Boat People" beginning in the mid-1970s and the Mariel boatlift of 1980 when thousands of Cubans fled Fidel Castro for America.
In both of those cases, the individuals fleeing the tumult in their nation of origin were referred to as "refugees." But we must now call these refugees "immigrants" because it legitimizes their illegal actions and likens their plight to the "tired, poor, huddled masses" that immigrated from Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
If even half the effort put forth to enforce the words used to describe the people breaking our immigration and border laws were focused on actually enforcing those existing laws, one has to wonder how secure our border would be.