Each week we highlight one person or group as the Drop the I-Word Friday Friend. Our Friends are special advocates who take a stand for undocumented immigrants and against the i-word.


Our Drop the I-Word Friday Friend this week is writer Gustavo Arellano, author of the famed "Ask a Mexican" column based at the OC Weekly.

This week, Arellano addressed a question from a reader who wanted to know if any terms like the n-word exist to abbreviate or diffuse anti-Mexican slurs.  He informed readers of the i-word and addressed the racism behind the term "illegals" in that it's most often equated with Mexican people. Read his great column here. 

The anti-Mexican, anti-Latino discriminatory message is not explicit, but rather coded. When we take a look at how some media and politicians use the epithet paired up with images of brown-skinned people, its very clear. We don't often hear about undocumented white immigrants being described this way. Remember the horrible Sharon Angle ads of 2010? Use of the i-word creates anti-immigrant sentiment and affects attitudes toward all people of color regardless of citizenship status.

No human being should be subjected to the dehumanization of the i-word especially because we have alternative terms that are sound (see the stylebook in our Toolkit). As a public we deserve legally accurate language and a reasoned debate. Help us spread the word!


Do you know someone who'd make a good Drop the I-Word Friday Friend? Let us know at droptheiword@colorlines.com.