I have spent the better part of my life, since I entered journalism at the age of 15, learning to choose my words wisely. I consult a dictionary, a thesaurus and at least one style guide multiple times every day. I fuss over adjectives, attack jargon and avoid the passive tense. I don’t state things as fact that I can’t substantiate. I do all of this because I know my words matter. So I also refuse to use politically loaded slurs about migrants. I don’t use the word "illegal" in any form to describe immigrants. It’s inaccurate, for one thing. Worse, it’s dehumanizing.
That’s why Colorlines.com is leading a campaign to Drop the I-Word, and I’m asking for your support. Please click here to donate $10 and help us edit this anti-immigrant slur out of news media.
Full disclosure: I’m also cheating on a contest. We’re at the end of a fundraising campaign led by staff members. There’s talk of a prize for the person who solicits the most donors and I’m losing badly to our news editor, Jamilah King. So I’m appealing to my friends in our Colorlines community to help me save some face. Of course, if you think Jamilah’s cooler than me, you can donate in her name instead. I won’t be hurt, as long as you donate.
Today’s the last day of the staff campaign, so help us out and donate $10 now.
Thanks for your continued support of Colorlines and Drop the I-Word.