Drop the I-Word, our partners, and our supporters aren't the only ones disappointed with the New York Times' choice not eliminate its use of the i-word.
UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, a coalition of the Native American Journalist Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalist Association, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, issued this statement yesterday about NYT's decision:
As the most diverse coalition of journalists from all backgrounds and nationalities, UNITY feels a special obligation to speak up for the immigrant readers and communities who aren't a part of these decisions and to remind the Times of how words have been used to malign and stereotype people as somehow less than American.
"As journalists and as members of minority groups, we understand better than most people the power of words to degrade and dehumanize those who are considered undesirable, and we urge the Times' editors to rethink their latest decision regarding the loaded word 'illegal,' " said UNITY President Tom Arviso, Jr.
While we appreciate the Times' desire to use language that is neutral and unbiased, we strongly believe that using the word "illegal" as an adjective or a noun absolutely takes sides in the immigration debate -- by describing people only in terms of their immigration status and ability to live and work in the United States.
This is especially troubling coming from one of the world's most respected and influential media companies -- and in light of the fact that many of these immigrants are ethnic and racial minorities who remain vastly underrepresented in America's newsrooms.
We urge The New York Times and other media organizations to consider the recommendations of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) to use the word "illegal" only to describe actions, not human beings. Or better yet, confine the word "illegal" to direct quotations, and drop the "I" word entirely.
MoveOn.org, another Drop The I-Word partner, started a new Twitter campaign to persuade the newspaper of record to stop using the slur. People have been tweeting this:
.@nytimes Drop the i-word completely. #droptheiword
If you're on the microblogging site, please feel free to cut and paste it as your next tweet!