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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Louis CK Talks in Depth About Being a Mexican Immigrant

Louis CK Talks in Depth About Being a Mexican Immigrant

Louis CK is on the cover of Rolling Stone tomorrow, and it appears he speaks more in depth about his experience growing up Mexican than he has before.

Rolling Stone’s blog has a preview of the profile piece on Louis CK:

Where does Louis C.K.’s off-kilter comic vision come from? Turns out the answer may be “Mexico.” C.K. was born in California, but moved to his father’s native Mexico at age one - he and his family didn’t move back to the U.S. until he was seven or so. “Coming here and observing America as an outsider made me an observing person,” C.K. tells senior writer Brian Hiatt in the new issue of Rolling Stone. “I grew up in Boston and didn’t get the accent, and one of the reasons is that I started in Spanish. I was a little kid, so all I had to do was completely reject my Spanish and my Mexican past, which is a whole lot easier because I’m white with red hair. I had the help of a whole nation of people just accepting that I’m white.”

“Race doesn’t mean what it used to in America anymore,” he continues. “It just doesn’t. Obama’s black, but he’s not black the way people used to define that. Is black your experience or the color of your skin? My experience is as a Mexican immigrant, more so than someone like George Lopez. He’s from California. But he’ll be treated as an immigrant. I am an outsider. My abuelita, my grandmother, didn’t speak English. My whole family on my dad’s side is in Mexico. I won’t ever be called that or treated that way, but it was my experience.”

CK’s paternal grandfather, a Hungarian, immigrated to Mexico, where he met CKs paternal grandmother, who was Mexican of Spanish and indigenous Mexican ancestry. CK told Tavis Smiley in 2009 that he still holds his Mexican citizenship.

Louis CK is really comfortable talking about race and one of the most fascinating things to watch is when he deconstructs U.S. culture with older white males who have no idea how to respond.

Take for instance his latest appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno earlier this year when he brought up slavery.

“Every year white people add 100 years to how long ago slavery was. I’ve heard educated white people say, ‘slavery was 400 years ago.’ No it very wasn’t. It was 140 years ago…that’s two 70-year-old ladies living and dying back to back. That’s how recently you could buy a guy,” CK told Leno.

And for three minutes Leno had absolutely nothing to say. During the three-minute exchange the only time Leno said something was when he tried to change the subject.

USA Today ‘Will No Longer Use the Term Illegal Immigrant’

 USA Today 'Will No Longer Use the Term Illegal Immigrant'

USA Today announced on Wednesday the newspaper “will no longer use the term illegal immigrant outside of direct quotes.” The decision by the newspaper with the largest print circulation in the U.S. comes a week after the Associated Press dropped the i-word from their Stylebook.

The full memo was obtained by Romanesko and is published in its entirety below:

From: Coon, William

Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 6:16 PM 
To: USAT ED Virginia Staff; USAT ED Field Staff
Subject: Change in USA TODAY style on illegal immigration

You probably have heard that the Associated Press recently changed its style on the term illegal immigrant. Starting tonight, USA TODAY is also changing its style. It is not exactly the same as AP’s, but the upshot is that we will no longer use the term illegal immigrant outside of direct quotes. Here’s the new style:

illegal immigration

The term illegal immigration is acceptable, but do not label people as illegal immigrants, except in direct quotes. Undocumented immigrant, undocumented worker and unauthorized immigrant are acceptable terms — depending on accuracy, clarity and context — for foreign nationals who are in the country illegally. An alternative is to use a phrase such as “people who entered the U.S. illegally” or “living in the country without legal permission.”


Avoid using the word alien to refer to immigrants, except in quoted matter or official government designations. Do not use illegal or illegals as a noun. It is considered pejorative by most immigrants. Migrant can be used instead of immigrant in a tight space.

USA Today is the widest circulated print newspaper in the United States, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, which audits U.S. newspapers’ circulations. The newspaper is also the leader in single-copy newsstand volume, selling more than 425,000 copies per day.

Rand Paul’s Remarks at Howard and the Skeptical Audience’s Tweets

Rand Paul's Remarks at Howard and the Skeptical Audience's Tweets

The GOP outreach for black voters saga continues.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered a speech at Howard University on Wednesday, with a talk that his office said was supposed to focus on “the importance of outreach to younger voters, as well as minority groups.”

The Kentucky Republican was met by some skeptical members of the audience though which made the Q&A an especially entertaining part of the talk. Check out some of the responses to Paul’s speech below.

(If you’re accessing this page through a mobile device please scroll down and set your browser to “desktop view” to see content below.)


Senate Immigration Bill Will Shut Out Same-Sex Couples

Senate Immigration Bill Will Shut Out Same-Sex Couples

The Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill, which is nearing completion, will not include provisions allowing same-sex couples to apply for green cards for non-citizen partners, according to people familiar with the Senate deliberations.

Current immigration laws do not treat gay and lesbian couples as legitimate family for purposes of green-card petitions because the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages. Advocates and many Democrats in Congress hoped that an immigration reform bill would remedy this exclusion by recognizing same-sex relationships.

But supporters of such reforms now publicly acknowledge that the initial bill from the Senate group will fall short of their demands.

“We are not expecting LGBT families to be included in the Gang of 8 [sic] bill,” Immigration Equality director Rachel Tiven told the Washington Blade yesterday. “That in our minds means that of course the bill is incomplete.”

In January, the White House urged Congress to include same-sex couples in legislation. Its proposal on immigration reform recommended “[treating] same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.”

But Republicans who champion immigration reform have been clear from the start of this round of deliberations that they wouldn’t support rights for same-sex couples. Gang of Eight member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the provision “a red flag” in a January interview on CBS.

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced stand-alone bills to provide immigration petitioning rights to gay and lesbian couples. The bills drew support from a few Republicans but appear unlikely to pass on their own. Some members of Congress, including Rep. Jared Nadler, D-N.Y., who introduced one of those bills, said this week that the provision could be inserted into reform legislation once the Senate and House bills are conferenced.

“I will fight like hell to ensure that LGBT-inclusive language remains in any House and Senate conference report,” Nadler told the Blade.

But most acknowledge that the best chance for bi-national same-sex couples rests in the Supreme Court, which is currently considering the constitutionality of DOMA. If the justices overturn it, gay and lesbian couples in states with marriage equality laws could petition for green cards like other married couples.

Immigration Reform, But Not Health Care For Immigrants?

Immigration Reform, But Not Health Care For Immigrants?

Leading conservative think tanks are entering a pitched battle over the fiscal costs, or benefits, of immigration reform. But while right-wing support for an immigration bill may help its chances of passing, many immigrant advocates worry that fiscal conservative backing comes with troubling strings attached. Most notably, they fear that because of pressure from the right, immigration reform will exclude newly legalized immigrants from Obamacare.

In 2007, leading right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation released a report that claimed the reform bill in the works that year would cost taxpayers trillions. Now, according to news reports, The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector plans to release a new version of that report and anti-immigration groups hope it will again dampen reform’s chances.

But the arguments are met by pro-reform counter attacks from other, equally high profile conservatives, including anti-tax demagogue Grover Norquist and the libertarian Cato Institute. A email this morning to Republican lawmakers from Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform reportedly warns against Rector’s analysis.

“Robert Rector’s work does not speak for the conservative movement,” the letter reads.

The Cato Institute, which has often supported more open immigration policy, released a paper last week attacking Rector’s 2007 analysis. “That 2007 report’s flawed methodology produced a grossly exaggerated cost to federal taxpayers of legalizing unauthorized immigrants,” writes Cato’s Alex Nowrasteh.

A white paper released today the American Action Forum, a conservative group, claims that immigration reform could reduce the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion over the next decade.

For many immigration reform advocates, the conservative support is a mixed bag. While they recognize a bill can only pass with bipartisan support, the conservative influence also makes it likely that deficit fears will outweigh the needs of low income immigrants.

“While we understand that cost is a significant issue with any piece of legislation, we think that if Congress is going to spend millions of dollars on a border that is already secure, that that money would be better spent fully integrating immigrants into American society by providing them with access to health coverage,” says Don Lyster, Washington director for the National Immigrant Law Center, which advocates for low-income immigrants.

All signs from Washington suggest that immigrants who gain provisional status will be excluded from the healthcare exchanges set up under Obamacare. The White House draft immigration bill leaked earlier this year would exclude new immigrants from healthcare exchanges and the Obama has also excluded Deferred Action recipients from accessing ACA exchanges.

Now, Politico reports that a bill drafted by a group of House members may exclude newly legalized immigrants from access to Obamacare for 10 years while they wait to apply for a green card. And several sources familiar with the beltway deliberations say that the Senate bill will likely do the same.

Lyster and others say immigrants would be left for a decade or more with few options but to go to the emergency room or buy expensive private insurance outside of the exchanges, a financial impossibility for most immigrants.

Sources: Beyoncé, Jay-Z’s Cuba Visit Had US Treasury Department OK

Sources: Beyoncé, Jay-Z's Cuba Visit Had US Treasury Department OK

Beyoncé and Jay Z visited Havana last week on a cultural trip that was fully licensed by the United States Treasury Department, according sources familiar with the trip.

The pop stars’ visit to Cuba made national headlines over the weekend after three Cuban-American members of Congress asked the Treasury Department to look into the licensing of the trip.

In a letter dated on Friday, U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, asked Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, for “information regarding the type of license that Beyonce and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.”

The New York Times reported on Monday that the Treasury Department is investigating the trip, but they also quoted a source who helped plan the trip that said the pop stars broke no laws:

The three-night sojourn, according to the person who helped plan it, came together without input from the Cuban government like other visits for Americans under a “people to people” license — granted by the Treasury Department for trips that focus on “educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction” between Americans and Cubans.

About 10,000 Americans go to Cuba each year with such tours, and the Treasury Department tightened the rules for trip agendas last year after Senator Marco Rubio, another Cuban-American Republican from Florida, criticized the tours for allowing tourism, which is banned by the embargo.

Reuters also reported Monday that the trip was approved by the Treasury Department.

Senator Marco Rubio is also calling for answers.

“According to recent news reports, Jay-Z and Beyonce’s Cuba trip, which the regime seized on for propaganda purposes, was fully licensed by the Treasury Department,” Rubio said in a statement on released on Monday. “If true, the Obama Administration should explain exactly how trips like these comply with U.S. law and regulations governing travel to Cuba and it should disclose how many more of these trips they have licensed.”

Fox News Uses ‘Undocumented’ Instead of its Usual ‘Illegal’

Fox News Uses 'Undocumented' Instead of its Usual 'Illegal'

Last week the Associated Press announced they no longer recommend journalists identify undocumented immigrants as “illegal immigrants” and it appears someone at Fox Nation got the memo.

Fox News generally refers to undocumented immigrants as “illegal immigrants” but not in a story published on Monday. In fact, the story is categorized in the “illegal immigrants” section but the story itself never uses the i-word.

I should note the Fox News story was actually an aggregated story from an ABC affiliate in Texas that originally identified immigrants as “undocumented.” But still, Fox News published the story without updating the headline.


Jamilah King Speaks With Free Speech TV At The National Conference For Media Reform

Jamilah King Speaks With Free Speech TV At The National Conference For Media Reform

Colorlines reporter and editor Jamilah King discusses the importance of independent journalism with Free Speech TV’s Julianna Forlano at the National Conference for Media Reform.

Seattle Police Chief Retires Amidst Scrutiny Over Officers’ Brutality

Seattle Police Chief Retires Amidst Scrutiny Over Officers' Brutality

Seattle Police Chief John Diaz is out. After three tumultuous years at the helm of an embattled police department, Diaz announced on Monday that he will retire, the Seattle Times reported. His announcement comes while his department is in the throes of a federally initiated reform process, and has come under renewed scrutiny for its slow pace of improvement.

The Department of Justice entered into a reform agreement with Seattle police last year after finding in an investigation that Seattle police officers used excessive force nearly 20 percent of the time when they used force, and engaged in racially biased policing. The Justice Department initiated its investigation after a rash of public and well-documented incidents of police brutality against men of color, including the shooting death of a Native American man and a videotaped incident of Seattle police officers stomping on a Latino man and hurling racial epithets at him.

Diaz was the first person of color to hold his position. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has named Assistant Chief Jim Pugel the department’s interim head.

Urban Radio Ads Ask African-Americans to Support Immigration

Urban Radio Ads Ask African-Americans to Support Immigration

“It’s Time” is the first urban radio ad in a series from the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) effort to organize for commonsense immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship. The 60-second ad aimed at African-Americans is airing on urban radio stations across the country.

“President Obama is right. We need to fix our broken immigration system so that we all win. It’s time to expand opportunity for all, put more people on the payrolls, and make all of our communities stronger,” says the female voice over in the ad. “It’s time to improve wages and working conditions for all Americans.”

LL Cool J and Brad Paisley’s Awful New Song ‘Accidental Racist’

LL Cool J and Brad Paisley's Awful New Song 'Accidental Racist'

Country singer Brad Paisley’s new song “Accidental Racist” is about how he’s not going to feel bad going to Starbucks wearing his Confederate flag T-shirt, even if a black barista is serving him coffee.

“I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done,” Paisley says at the top of the song but then he goes on to say “it ain’t like you and me can re-write history.” Paisley goes on to deliver an anthem about why he’s not a racist when he wears his Confederate flag t-shirt.

Then LL Cool J comes in with this winning line: “If you don’t judge my gold chains/I’ll forget the iron chains.”

Watch the video at the top of the page at your own risk. And/or read the lyrics below.

Oscar Grant Film ‘Fruitvale’ Now Has a July Release Date

Oscar Grant Film 'Fruitvale' Now Has a July Release Date

“Fruitvale,” the film based on the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, is set to hit theaters on July 26—three months before its originally scheduled release date.

The San Jose Mercury News offers more details on The Weinstein’s Co.’s decision to bump the film’s release to an earlier date:

The Weinstein Co. is no doubt hoping to replicate the success of “Beasts” — which also earned an Oscar nod for director Benh Zeitlin and actress Quvenzhane Wallis — or other past rare summertime critical darlings like “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Midnight in Paris.”

“We want to take advantage of the counterprogram slot in the summer,” said Erik Lomis, the independent studio’s head of theatrical distribution. “It’s a very powerful movie and it has a chance to catch the zeitgeist in a more effective way. And there are certainly plenty of films that have come out in the summer that have gotten end-of-year accolades.”

The Weinstein Co., purchased “Fruitvale” for $2 million at Sundance earlier this year. The film was written and directed by 26 year-old USC grad Ryan Coogler and stars Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Tristan Wilds and Melonie Diaz.

NYPD Has Changed ‘Nothing’ About Muslim Spying Program

NYPD Has Changed 'Nothing' About Muslim Spying Program

The New York Police Department has changed nothing in its controversial program to surveil Muslim communities in New York and surrounding states. That’s according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday.

Reports the Journal:

Media reports have suggested that his department unfairly monitors the Muslim community—the Associated Press ran a Pulitzer Prize-winning series on that score in 2011. Asked what he has changed about the NYPD’s surveillance methods in the wake of those stories, Mr. Kelly says: “Nothing.”

Nearly two years after the AP broke news that the NYPD sent members of it’s 1000 agent counter-terrorism team to spy on Muslim student groups, pre-schools, mosques and businesses, Muslim New Yorkers have wondered if the program has changed. Kelly says it has not.

The city is currently facing several lawsuits claiming the practices violate constitutional rights and Attorney General Eric Holder said in 2011 that the DOJ planned to look into the program, though that investigation appears to have evaporated, according to Mother Jones.

report released last month by a group of civil rights advocates revealed that the spying program sent waves of fear through Muslim communities and led some to avoid mosques and Muslim student organizations.

The city justifies the program by claiming police only follow legitimate leads, but in recent testimony, an NYPD officer formerly in charge of the spying program admitted it has not uncovered to a single bona fide terrorism plot.

“I never made a lead from the rhetoric that came from a Demographics report, and I’m here since 2006,” Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said.

Kelly has claimed that the NYPD has helped thwart at least fourteen planned terrorism attacks since 2011, but my reporting and later reporting by ProPublica revealed that the NYPD overstated these achievements. In many cases the city relies on informants to convince vulnerable young men to take part in terrorism plots that did not exist prior to the informant’s involvement. Critics call the tactic entrapment.

In the Journal interview, Kelly suggests the police continue to employ the informant tactics in terrorism investigations.

“There are other investigations of young people like this that are ongoing right now,” Kelly told the Journal, referencing a recent informant-based case.

AP Stylebook Revises Definition of ‘Islamist’

AP Stylebook Revises Definition of 'Islamist'

Last week the Associated Press made national headlines when they announced they would no longer recommend journalists using their Stylebook to identify undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as “illegal immigrants.” But there was another update to the Stylebook that advocates say will help present Muslims in the news in a more positive light.

Earlier this year the Council on American-Islamist Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, urged media outlets to drop the term Islamist because they said the term had become shorthand for “Muslims we don’t like.”

“It is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context and is often coupled with the term ‘extremist,’ giving it an even more negative slant,” CAIR argued in an op-ed published in January.

Last Thursday the AP moved to disassociate the term “Islamist” from its negative connotations with “Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.”

The Stylebook’s updated entry for “Islamist” now reads as follows:

An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists. Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.”

In a statement, CAIR said the AP’s decision to revise its Stylebook reference to the term “Islamist” was a “step” towards progress.

“We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “The key issue with the term ‘Islamist’ is not its continued use; the issue is its use almost exclusively as an ill-defined pejorative.”

Rinku Sen Discusses the Success of ‘Drop the I-Word’ on Democracy Now!

Rinku Sen Discusses the Success of 'Drop the I-Word' on Democracy Now!

Rinku Sen, president and executive director of The Applied Research Center, publisher of Colorlines.com, appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the significance of getting the Associated Press to stop using the term “illegal” in reference to immigrants.

Obama’s Budgetary Dance With the Devil

Obama's Budgetary Dance With the Devil

President Obama may be on a new collision course with those that put him in office. Today’s headline in the New York Times shows why. “Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal,” flashed the world’s busiest news site. According to the Times, Obama is set to offer up close to a trillion dollars in new cuts to domestic programs ranging in areas from health to unemployment insurance.

This latest round of reductions would fall hardest on those hit by the recession and demand very little from the few who’ve never had it better. As such, the president would continue an unfortunate pattern on economics of yielding to the power plays of Republicans against the interests of the vast majority of Americans.

But beyond this, the proposal includes two curveballs which might aggravate his base even more.

Another Gloomy Jobs Report, as D.C. Budget Battle Bumbles Along

Another Gloomy Jobs Report, as D.C. Budget Battle Bumbles Along

The March jobs report issued by the Department of Labor this morning showed that the economy added only 88,000 jobs last month. Unemployment for African Americans and Latinos remained virtually unchanged, with nearly one out of seven blacks and one out 10 Latinos out of work.

Sadly the tough news in today’s jobs report doesn’t end there. If you or the people you know continue to face difficult economic times, here’s why.

Less jobs were created in March than at any point since last summer. And the rate at which new jobs are being created would need to nearly double to keep up with new entrants into the labor market, due to population growth.

Even the report’s apparently good news turns sour upon closer inspection. Despite the sluggish employment increase, somehow the overall unemployment number fell to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. But it dropped only because nearly a half million people gave up looking for work out of frustration. Their exit from the job market makes it appear that more people found work than actually did.

Jay Smooth Discusses Roger Ebert’s Legacy with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes

 Jay Smooth Discusses Roger Ebert's Legacy with MSNBC's Chris Hayes

Ill Doctrine and Colorlines.com producer Jay Smooth was a guest on “All in with Chris Hayes” on Thursday night to discuss film critic Roger Ebert’s legacy. Ebert, died Thursday, two days after revealing cancer returned to his body.

“That was one of the things I valued about him as a hip-hop critic, the way he was just as curious and serious about so-called low art and high art and bring down arbitrarary distictions that often carry a lot race baggage, class baggage, and other sorts of baggage with them,” Jay Smooth said on “All in with Chris Hayes” on Thursday night. “He helped model a relationship of popular art and carve out a critical landscape where something like hip-hop culture could be treated with the respect and culture it deserves.”

The Chicago Sun-Times, the base of operations for Ebert’s syndicated reviews, announced Ebert passed away at the age of 70.

3 Things Kamala Harris Should Be Known For That Don’t Involve Her Looks

3 Things Kamala Harris Should Be Known For That Don't Involve Her Looks

President Obama is in a world of trouble today after making comments at a fundraiser about California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ looks. Obama called Harris the “best looking attorney general by far”, inciting widespread anger over another talented woman once again being reduced to her sex appeal. But Harris is a politician to watch — not because of her looks, but because of her political track record. Here are three issues that she’s taken especially strong stances on during her career.

  1. Support of Gay Marriage. Harris was in the news a lot last week when California’s Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriage, was argued before the Supreme Court. The case made to the Supreme Court largely because, as attorney general, Harris refused to defend the ban. “As the daughter of parents who were active in the Civil Rights Movement, I refuse to stand in the doorway of the wedding chapel block same sex couples’ ability to marry,” Harris said on the Rachel Maddow Show. Later, when Harris addressed whether straight couples would be impacted by same sex marriage, Harris went to work: “On the issue of standing we make the very obvious point that if you have nothing at stake in the outcome of this, you need to sit down.”

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  2. Opposition to the death penalty. Throughout her career, Harris has maintained her opposition to the death penalty. When she was elected to office as attorney general, Harris made an oath that she would never seek the death penalty. And so far, she’s kept that promise.

  3. Approach to criminal justice. Before she was California’s Attorney General, Harris served two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco. During her tenure, she started a program called “Back on Track”, an initiative designed for non-violent juvenile offenders. In exchange for a guilty plea, young people could enroll in a year-long program go to school and maintain a job, often an internship with a local organization. At a graduation ceremony for the program participants in 2009, Harris said: “We know the power, the beauty and the potential of our young people and we know that sometimes we all make mistakes.” But after being held accountable for those mistakes, Harris told the graduates, “We as a community need to make sure we’re doing all we can to help them reach their potential.”

L.A. Times Considering Changes in Use of ‘Illegal Immigrant’

L.A. Times Considering Changes in Use of 'Illegal Immigrant'

The Los Angeles Times announced Thursday morning they are considering changes in policy regarding their use of the term ‘illegal immigrant.’ Their statement came three days after the Associated Press announced they would no longer recommend journalists identify undocumented immigrants using the i-word.

“The common usage of the i-word has become heavily racialized and targeted at people of color,” Rinku Sen, president of the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines.com, told the L.A. Times. Sen was quoted in the L.A. Times’ story that revealed the paper was reviewing their use of the i-word.

Here’s an excerpt from the Los Angeles Times story that explains their use of the term “illegal immigrant” below: 

At the Los Angeles Times, “illegal alien” was the preferred usage from 1979 until the newspaper’s style guide changed in 1995, said Henry Fuhrmann, assistant managing editor in charge of copy desks.

Since then, writers have been directed to use “illegal immigrants” while avoiding “illegal aliens” and “illegals.”

The Times’ Standards and Practices Committee has been considering the issue since last fall and will soon make a recommendation to top editors, Fuhrmann said. Some writers have already been avoiding “illegal immigrant,” Fuhrmann said, just as “illegal alien” had fallen out of favor before the 1995 stylebook update.

“It is much easier to dehumanize and to silence somebody when you’re calling them an illegal,” said Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, in 2010. His organization launched a campaign that year calling on journalists to reevaluate their use of the tern “illegal immigrant” because it dehumanizes people, they argued. 

That same year, Colorlines.com also launched the Drop the I-Word campaign to call on journalists and publications to stop using the i-word. 

The Los Angeles Times is in a unique place because the city of angels is home to the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the United States. But not only that, the paper also received a large grant last year to improve their coverage of people of color and the issues they care about.

The paper is owned by the Tribune Company and in 2012 they received a $1-million grant from the Ford Foundation to expand their “coverage of key beats, including immigration and ethnic communities in Southern California.”

Seems like the L.A. Times should get with times, right?


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