64 Worst: Use of the term “illegals” vs. Illegal Immigration itself.


Here’s the second of 32 polls in the first round of the 64 Worst Things About L.A. – every day we’ll be featuring two or more polls, so keep checking back to keep up!

There was a time when bloggers were appreciated for not thinking twice about being politically correct, and just putting an issue on the table without worry about semantics. Alas, in numerous conversations here on Metblogs and elsewhere, using the term “illegal aliens” or, worse, “illegals” will spiral into calling the person using the term a racist, even though the mainstream media will frequently use the term to save space. Still, many find referring to anyone simply as “illegal” as offensive, and thus deserves more explanation each time it is uttered.

On the flip side is Illegal Immigration itself, a broad term, as it encompasses any non-resident who overstays their visa, or comes into the country without legal permission. The general dialogue, however, is concerned mainly with services and jobs intended for citizens and legal residents that are instead being taken by “undocumented individuals from foreign countries.” Some argue they fill a need taking jobs that Americans don’t want, others argue their willingness to accept low pay contributes to low wages over all. Some argue they contribute to inner city crime, while others don’t see a connection itself.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Note: This poll closes Thursday afternoon.

45 thoughts on “64 Worst: Use of the term “illegals” vs. Illegal Immigration itself.”

  1. I don’t really see them as two comparitive choices. How is one the flipside of the other? Apples and oranges anyone? And forgive me if this really seems like a loaded question. What you really seem to be asking is:

    Which is worse?:

    FOCUSING on Illegal immigration
    FOCUSING on using the term “illegal” to refer to undocumented immigrants

    If that’s really your question, is there realy a need for a poll. Why don’t you just make your point directly instead of creating a poll to make your point?

    These are two related, but clearly seperate issues.

    If one of your writers decides to use a term that people take offense to in the TITLE of his post; Guess what? He’s gonna hear about it! And you know what else? If his post(s) contain weak points that are ripe for criticism, he’s going to hear about that too (and has)!

    I think the reason that people (myself included) take issue with use of the word “illegal” to refer to a human being, is that it devalues them in a way. I have yet to hear anyone use that term to refer to a person who did not have contempt for illegal immigrants. ie: “Those illegals are taking all the jobs” or “Those illegals should learn English or go home.”

    So I, for one will opt out of this poll. Thanks for the space to rant.

  2. Call a spade a spade.

    You are doing something wrong when you walk around the main entry.

    Whether its for a concert or a country.

    Quit the sensitivity. Nice plan to divert the main issue with the race card.

  3. Illegal entry into the country needs to be better monitored and controlled. I don’t care which border or port. that is the bigger issue and my vote.

    Generally they broke some other law that brought their immigration status to light. How about simply call them a murder, felon, gang banger, welfare defrauder or whatever the crime was if its relevant to a news story?

  4. uncompressed: Thanks for commenting.

    Since I haven’t posted an introductory entry to this series, I’ll just let you know here that a lot if the items that will be paired against one another will be so apples and oranges it isn’t even funny. In the second round, one of these items here could be paired up against Pinkberry, for example.

  5. What a ridiculous and self-serving poll. If one answers “Illegal immigration” they come off as a bigot for dehumanizing someone, if they answer “illegal as a term”, they are bleeding-heart liberals opening the borders for everyone. Stupid and useless.

    Boycotting your idiotic polls…

  6. Salty how does voting for illegal immigration make one a bigot and dehumanizing? I don’t recall taking that stance. Those that cross the border illegally are doing so because conditions in their country of birth are so vile they will do anything to make a better life for themselves. I don’t deny their human coming out of desperate conditions but stemming the tide of illegal immigration is a bigger issue.

    Unfortunately we can’t accomodate all who want to come here. Our infrastructure, basics like power and water out west are marginal and aging or dwindling fast. We don’t even have the money to build schools and staff them with teachers (or even give the teachers all the tools they need for that matter). If we don’t have the money to fund the basics how can we increase them?

  7. There was a time when bloggers were appreciated for not thinking twice about being politically correct, and just putting an issue on the table without worry about semantics.

    When was that? I for one have always held everyone, bloggers included, to the exact same standard: choose your words carefully and stand behind them. Hiding behind “semantics” instead of taking the time to examine your language is intellectually lazy and shows a lack of disrespect for your reader and your community. It’s not up to us as a reader to get past your word choice and talk about the issue, it’s up to you as a writer to not employ the kind of language that hinders debate to begin with.

    even though the mainstream media will frequently use the term to save space

    Do you have a citation, because I don’t by that for a second. Unless you’re talking about Op-Ed, a headline like “L.A. Athlete May Have Been Murdered By An Illegal” would never make it through an editor at at an established outlet like the Times.

  8. I have not heard either term since Tom “I look and sound like Dracula” Tancredo dropped out of the Republican presidential primaries. I’m no mouth-breather and there are many issues more important than this, but I don’t see anything wrong with the shorthand term “illegal.” You are what you do. If someone is convicted of a felony, they are known as a “felon.” If someone has sex for money, she is a “prostitute.” And if someone comes to this country illegally and stays here, there are an “illegal immigrant,” or an “illegal” for short. Own it.

  9. Frazgo,

    My point was aimed more at the thread in Jason Burns post, whereas he unfortunately posited that those that come into the country extralegally are referred to as “illegals”, a detestable term that undermines a person’s basic human right to exist as other than a (truncated) legal/illegal status. It’s a lot easier to despise a class of people by undermining their right to exist. By this reasoning, we can safely all call ourselves “legals”, which just sounds stupid.

    Second, I am truly concerned about illegal immigration and firmly believe as you do that there is only so much an economy can support. My issue was the numb-headed poll above provides nothing for nuance of opinion and separates people into two camps: those that take offense (rightly) to using the term “illegals” in reference to the people escaping vile conditions in their countries of origin, and those that are concerned about immigration but are OK with using the term “illegal”. That was the implication. I- and I would imagine many- fit into both camps, so the poll is just lame.

    It’s just not an either/or issue. Ham-handed polls involving political opinion serve nothing when the issue is clearly more nuanced.

  10. I don’t care what you call yourself, only what you call others. I’m a Kraut, …hi! (and a child of an immigrant)

  11. “illegals”, a detestable term that undermines a person’s basic human right to exist

    Whoa there, salty. I never even implied that an illegal immigrant was not a human. I used the term illegal meaning… well.. illegal. If you come into this country illegally, without following the proper immigration process as dictated by federal law, you are illegal. There really is no gray area here. It’s the law. You are either on U.S. soil legally are illegally. Is there an in-between status that I am not aware of?

    up to you as a writer to not employ the kind of language that hinders debate to begin with.

    I could list a number of posts on this site, as well as others, that employ the questionable use of language, grammar, spelling, and content. I do not believe any of us can claim to be objective when it comes to content.

  12. Using the term illegal is worse than illegal immigration, because it’s part of the freakin problem of why illegal immigration became illegal.

    Every other ethnic group that was invited to work for the United States was given citizenship for their trouble, except Mexicans.

    “Illegal immigration” was legal for years from WW2 until the 1960s when the economy got bad and then it was “revoked.”

    The whole illegal immigration things is bs, bs, bs, bs.

    There should be open borders in North America and everyone should get paid a decent livable wage.

    Rich people are always going to use this illegal bs card, so they can pay people who weren’t born in the US and are Mexican to work for nothing. That’s what’s keeping “illegal immigration” going and that’s what’s keeping people who should be citizens from getting their rightful citizenship.

    The US has an addiction to slavery, that’s how this country was founded it seems to be unable to function without human slavery and they can’t just use other human beings as slaves, they have to also make then not human by calling them “illegals,” that way they can feel better about the whole situation.

    And as I said in other posts there is no difference to me between the term illegal and the term n*gger, because I’m pretty sure people who used the n word used pretty much the same reasons as to why it was completely ok.

    “That’s what they are, so what’s the problem?”
    “It’s just a shortened version of what they are, so what’s the problem?”

    How quickly Americans forget.

    Solution to the problem, make everyone the same. At least on freakin paper. Having people viewed as illegal is the same as when black people were viewed as 3/5 of a person, enough of man to work for you, but not enough of a man to vote and have the same rights as you. That’s BS and anyone who thinks that’s ok should really revisit the history books of American and see how similar this all seems to slavery and if they think slavery is ok then hey, there is nothing I can do about that, but if you think not, then possibly think about why this might not be ok.

    We’ve got a long way to go, BUT one of the first thing we have to do is stop demonizing people who are simply coming via invitation by the US corporations, so that US corporations can have slave labor.

    Cheap labor is just being a pc way of saying slavery, so yeah lets stop being PC and call it what it is slavery.

    Odd how pc only seems to apply when you’re making fun of women or minorities, but everyone seems to have no problem being very pc when it comes to rich men, I guess that’s the only group that’s completely human and American.

    The slave masters who are hiring people to work for nothing should have a fancy derogatory nickname. How about we make a poll for a nice derogatory nickname for those people?

    Modern day slavery is what illegal immigration is, a fancy way to work someone like a dog, to get cheap clothes, and cheap food. You can say you’re not involved in it, because the person “volunteered” and then if the people who provided everyone with cheap food, domestic help, and whatever it is that people who hire slaves need complain about rights you can threaten to send them back after the person has a life here…such bs.


  13. As Uncompressed has articulately stated, the term “illegal” has been used repeatedly in a negative context and mostly against Mexican immigrants. That’s why someone like myself, who is of Mexican heritage finds the term offensive. Why is that so hard to understand? You wouldn’t use the term “negro” would you? No, because most African-Americans find the term unacceptable. If you did decide to use it in the context of a post, you would find yourself with lots of unhappy readers.
    Using the term “illegal” may not be racist, but disregarding the viewpoints, concerns and comments of people of color is a tactic historically used by those who have oppressed us.

  14. Chimatli, I think you may have offended a great many more people by making the comparison between “negro” and “illegal.”

    I am also someone of color. Although, since I’m only half Puerto Rican, I guess I should only be able to say things half of the time.

    Once again, the term “illegal” does not refer to any single ethnic group. It is a person – be they Mexican, Canadian, Italian, Russian, British, etc. that has entered this country illegally. Plain and simple.

  15. Salty, I don’t think that the word “kraut” and illegal alien are synonymous. I also don’t think that the word is pejoratively used like redneck. Everybody wants to get all touchy feely and call them “undocumented workers” but guess what, although all undocumented workers are illegal aliens, not all illegal aliens are undocumented workers. People in the p.c. movement love romanticizing the situation by insisting on calling them that, but not every person who crosses the border (north or south) has dreams of being a busboy, maid or picking fruits and vegetables throughout California. So to break it down
    Illegal = Forbidden by law or statute
    Alien = A resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization

    The only way around this is to become a citizen which is much more difficult but it is, or at least should be, the only way.

  16. “Chimatli, I think you may have offended a great many more people by making the comparison between “negro” and “illegal.” Jason Burns

    Who would she offend? I’m personally offended by your implication that people who share my heritage (a person of African descent, and I use the term African descent to acknowledge the part of my heritage that I think has the biggest impact on my life while being in the US, because that’s what people see regardless of how I self identify) would be offended by what my sister Chimatli in the struggle would say about the oppression of people who look like her in this country.

    Any person of African descent who lives in the US and has any common sense at all would see very clearly the link between the oppression of African-American people and Latino people.

    If you haven’t noticed even though as of late all kind of inflammatory type crap has been posted none of the people of African descent on this board has taken that as an opportunity to degrade Latinos, at least no one has said “I’m black and I think blah, blah…”

    The media seems obsessed with making this happen, but it’s never ever going to happen, because people of African descent who have read just a little about the history of the US aren’t so stupid as to think that what a silly gang thinks is what a whole race of people think.

    We’ve experience that kind of thing (whether it be in the US or somewhere else) and knows it sucks, so why would we put that on another group of people?

    Now someone who is of African descent and has no common sense might think that, but I would think that person is a very misguided individual with misdirected anger. Fighting for crumbs is stupid.

    And why don’t you stop it with the I’m half Puerto Rican thing. That doesn’t make what you say more ok or less ok. It’s not about the race of a person that makes them racist it’s about the actions and black people and half Puerto Ricans can be racist not only against other people, but against people who look just like them.

    BusTard is the white, punk rock, heavy metal, hardcore kind of white guy and he’s also the least racist and most open minded person I know.


  17. Also I would like to add, this isn’t about censorship, this about freedom of speech and the backbone to say “this is f*cked up” when someone says something f***ed.

    You can say whatever you want, but so can I.

    I can say I dont like what you say, freedom of speech goes both ways.

    The internet is forever.

    Remember in the south you saw those people sitting around and having a picnic while a lynched guy swung in the tree. Those people in general looked pretty normal, right? They didn’t do anything wrong and they had the right to sit there and to do it.

    But what if one of those people in those pictures was your grandmother, your great-grandfather, sitting there and eating a picnic while a man who had just been beaten and had his testicals got cut off, because he was born the “wrong” thing was swinging in the tree?

    I would be ashamed to be that person. It was just a snap shot, who would think that picture would end up in books, in movies, in history, and like those were just snap shots this is just an online conversation.

    I want my grandchilden to know if this ever is used in some kind of historical document that I didn’t think this kind of thing was ok, I want them to know exactly the kind of person I am or rather was.


  18. I was born in LA and have lived here for 35 years. I have seen the change first hand. My classmates were the first big waves of Mexicans crossing the border to have their kids here to provide them with a better life. Good, they were overall decent families that had one thing going that they had done bad – crossed the border. Yeah it was a change for the people of Los Angeles but at that time everything was sort of balanced. Now we have just about everyone from Mexico that has that “dream” coming over. Its the tipping point. Parents are either good people with too much work and cant watch the kids the way they need to, are bad people and bad parents or they just simply live in a bad area that they cant get out of and its enticing to the kids. However it goes, its too much and the disaster is almost impossible to fix at this point.

  19. Jason,
    Using the term “illegal” is anything but “plain and simple.” If you would take the time to contemplate people’s comments here, you might understand this.
    The reason I used the “negro” analogy is because I bet there are African-Americans out there who don’t find the term offensive, just like there are people of color like yourself who don’t find “illegal” offensive. However, it is common knowledge that if one uses the term negro to identify African-Americans, there will be a large group of people that would find that unacceptable and would be less likely to take you seriously. It’s the same thing with “illegal.” Here in Los Angeles, where there is a large population of Mexican immigrants and people of Mexican descent, it is an offensive term. I think Browne was writing her original comment the same time as me, because she made a similar comment, to her “n*gger” and illegal are comparative derogatory terms. So that makes two of us who have independently came to this conclusion.
    And again, let’s be honest here, when people use or hear the term illegal they are conjuring up images of the great, brown, unwashed masses coming from the south. They are not thinking about the undocumented Irish communities in New York or the British server who overstayed their visa in Venice Beach. In any case, no matter what ethnic group you are referring to, calling someone, anyone “illegal” is offensive and inhumane. No person on any side of any border can be illegal, they may do illegal actions (and don’t those change with the times as Browne noted in her lynching example) but to say a person is illegal because their feet are on soil that has changed many hands throughout history is sad and ridiculous.

  20. “Yeah it was a change for the people of Los Angeles but at that time everything was sort of balanced.”

    Uh, what part of town did you grow up in and who may I ask,is determining “balance”?
    You sound a lot like the old Californios who complained about the Yankee hordes moving into Los Angeles and disturbing their tranquil, ranchero, Mexican way of life with commerce and busy body-ness. Worse, these Yankees didn’t even bother to learn Spanish!
    As Pio Pico once said:
    “What are we to do then? Shall we remain supine, while these daring strangers are overrunning our fertile plains, and gradually outnumbering and displacing us? Shall these incursions go on unchecked, until we shall become strangers in our own land?”
    I guess what comes around, goes around.

  21. No human is illegal, no matter how you try to justify it. But some humans are hard-headed in their insistence they are right, even when others tell them otherwise. I can’t take Jason seriously on this topic since he refuses to acknowledge that dehumanizing language doesn’t lead to serious discussions, rather it sets the tone, in this case imposing a notion that my friends, family, and neighbors can be lumped into a neat category of criminals. Fuck that.

    “How about we make a poll for a nice derogatory nickname for those people?

    I think Browne is onto something there, though that might end up in a race to the gutter. But the sentiment of getting others to understand the sting of demeaning words, that I can get behind.

  22. “Illegal Immigration” simply refers to an activity; just like Illegal Gambling or Illegal Dumping. It is an activity, for all intents and purposes, done outside the parameters of the law.

    “Illegal” for a person, that’s treading on a totally different ground altogether. It is a judgment against a person, yet another label. If you were drowning and an undocumented (the Militant equally dislikes that term because its too blatantly PC and similarly “Illegal” is too blatantly judgmental, he is no fan of either term) person saves your life, the “Illegal” would take precedence over other names or labels. It would even take precedence over the word “hero.” It also describes its weight in society. If you were a person who was engaged in illegal dumping, illegal gambling, illegal drugs or any other illegal activity aside from illegal immigration, you would still not be tagged with the label “illegal.” But for some reason if you came into this country illegally, your very being is associated with the word “illegal.”

    Something to think about.

    This society is always looking for scapegoats. Hypothetically speaking, if every single illegal immigrant were to be successfully deported and no one could come into this country illegally anymore, guess who would be the new scapegoats? Yep, that’s right…*legal* immigrants.

  23. Spencer: “Do you have a citation, because I don’t by that for a second.”

    The only one that comes to mind that I could find is from an article that is no longer online, although the headline can still be seen:

    Daily News: “Stats Detail Illegal’s Bill To Taxpayers”

    This wasn’t an editorial, it was covering a county report.

  24. The constitution of this country supported the 3/5 clause

    “Although the United States Constitution never mentioned the words “slaves” or “slavery,” it acknowledged and protected the property rights of slaveholders. Among the several compromises was the federal ratio (Article I, section 2). Better known as the three-fifths clause, this provision counted slaves on a three-fifths basis in allocating representation in Congress and also in allocating votes in the electoral college. The three-fifths clause would give the South extra political muscle in Congress and provide the margin of victory in the vote over the Missouri Compromise in the House of Representatives.

    In addition to the three-fifths clause, the Constitution protected the rights of masters to recover runaway slaves through the fugitive slave clause…”



    That was a legal document, does that make that practice ok…

    I guess just because the newspaper (even though I highly question calling the LA Times or the Daily News newspapers) says it or piece of paper says it, it throws away all common sense, 1984 anyone…

    Oddly how the more things change, the more they remain the same. People are good enough to work for big US company, but not good enough to have the same rights people born in the US under certain unnamed (but well known) conditions in the US.

    This all sounds very similar to me. Hey it sounds slavery to me, sounds like a sophisticated PC kind of slavery.

    I think the US Constitution has more weight than the LA Times, so with your thinking David as long as it’s on paper it must be true. What a great world you live in.

    At least you don’t live in Wikipedia world.


  25. Markland, you’re welcome to your interpretation but I’m still not buying it. Two of the headlines you’ve sourced are essentially quoting other people, and one of them is using the term to illustrate a right-leaning stance on immigration policy. Maybe I’m being hyperbolic by saying that it would never make it past an editor, but I still don’t see a pattern of the MMM “frequently us[ing] the term to save space,” and, as you yourself pointed out, they never seem to use it outside of articles relating directly to immigration (as Jason has). If anything, they seem to use it when they want to emphasize the politically charged nature of the word.

    Anyone know an editor at an established media outlet, or a recent AP Stylebook? I’d love to know if any of them has a policy on this topic.

  26. Chimatli and others have brought up some excellent points.

    I think that the following statement by Mr. Burns is an oversimplification and cop out.

    Once again, the term “illegal” does not refer to any single ethnic group. It is a person – be they Mexican, Canadian, Italian, Russian, British, etc. that has entered this country illegally. Plain and simple.

    Since you are talking about literal dictionary definitions, here’s one we should all become familiar with:

    CONNOTATION: the suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes.

    Everyone who’s being honest (and has lived in Los Angeles for any extended period of time) knows who is being referred to when the term “illegals” is used. Undocumented Latinos (primarily Mexicans). Come on, let’s not dance around definitions and be honest with ourselves.

    If you’re not sure whether or not you should use a particular word to refer to a group of people, I suggest asking this simple question (again):


    If the answer is no, ask yourself why you wouldn’t, then use another word. How hard is that?

  27. When white people cannot devise a coherent or plausable stance on an issue they ignorantly (or maliciously) feel so strongly about they have 3 options that they use:

    1.They make personal attacks on their opposition to distract from the issue

    2.They act overly ignorant or oversimplify the issue as to avoid discussing it’s content (what part of the term illegal do you not understand/ the term illegal is just a term and I dont understand why anyone is mad- are 2 examples, as well as the “I cant say anything because of this PC crap”), or exxagerate the position of their opposition to absurd extremes to invalidate it without having to discuss facts

    3.They make smarmy sarcastic passive aggressive jokes about the issue such as a topic about which is worse: illegal immigration or the word illegal.

    It’s what they do. Now this isnt just a white person thing, many immature and wrong folks do this in lieu of developing a rational plausable stance, it’s just the general M.O. of a lot of white people and the ethnicity has a long precedence of using these tactics. It’s the big thing now with immigration and welfare, and not one intelligent individual is falling for it.

    So keep on bitching and crying becuase people dont appreciate you passively using a term that was obviously meant in a derogatory manner (after all, there was no other point to the original post about the guy from 18th street, unless there’ something I missed, but probably not since th author never clarified himself after several requests). You fucken whiney cracker (I meant that term in the context of a crunchy snack treat so dont get mad)

  28. BTW, I want to make a “64 worst” poll request:

    the immigrants stressing our infrastructure or the wealthy white folks who depend on them whining about how bad they make their life

  29. Sorry for an unsubstantial post here, but I just can’t help myself.

    AMEN arrt.

    You nailed it far better better than this cracker did.

    mmmm. Crunchy snack treats….

  30. Spencer: “Markland, you’re welcome to your interpretation but I’m still not buying it.”

    You asked for evidence, I presented it. There are many more examples. Indeed, more “right” friendly media use it than “left” leaning media, but if thats a standard then it would that anyone who is on the “right” is likely a racist.

    I am still distressed that nobody who is complaining about use of the word “illegal” has offered an acceptable alternative to us.

    Alas, I did check the AP Stylebook, and it seems to have at least one answer you’ll be happy about:

    illegal Use illegal only to mean a violation of the law. Be especially careful in labor-management disputes, where one side often calls an action by the other side illegal. Usually it is a charge that a contract or rule, not a law, has been violated.

    illegal immigrant Used to describe those who have entered the country illegally, it is the preferred term, rather than illegal alien or undocumented worker.

  31. My parents and I did not have legal documentation when we entered the US in the 70s. I don’t care for the terms “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant”. To be honest I do not really know what other term to use that would be more appropriate and to some extent it may depend on the situation.

    My parents brought me to LA as a young child, we were escaping the war in El Salvador that was funded by the US Govt, and quite a few of the people who have entered the US w/o legal documentation were escaping wars that were also funded by the US Govt. In that sense a lot of the people entering w/o legal documentation were war refugees displaced by a war that was funded by the US Govt. The hypocrisy of the US Govt is absurd, go into another country ruin the country’s infrastructure, society and then complain that people in that country seek a new and better life in the US. The US Govt just keeps doing the same thing over and over, this time it’s Iraq.

  32. Stop with the white talk.

    I know many races that equally hate Mexicans. White people are just the classic group to make out as the “man!”.

    I dont want to leave it at that. Every race (the haters groups in each race) hates every race. Can you not think of any race that doesnt have jokes attached to it? If you can you probably havent lived there or dont know anyone there.

    As I tell my kids about race, “No one has a choice how theyre born. Judge people on whether they are nice or mean.”

    To that point, the people who are defending illegals should understand its not a mexican thing. No one straight out just hates mexicans. It is the illegal activity of jumping the borders that some people hate. That would be just the people doing the illegal activity. Its not the mexican race.

  33. This thread is amazing to follow. Did anyone catch people using the phrase “white people” lumping everyone with that definition as a hater? That bothers me as much as any other group being lumped together as an excuse for blaming and hating.

    I’m a mutt like many others in the city. I’m also one with quite a few who entered the country illegally in the family tree. Just because I’m pretty pale & white 6 months of the year means you can blame me for everything and call me a hater? That is just wrong.

    I’d hate to think ‘yourfriend’ was right when he wrote “…and the disaster is almost impossible to fix at this point.”

  34. You know if you want people to stand up for you. You have to stand up for other people too.

    I don’t just pipe up when someone says something about what I am exactly.

    Number one, I’m everybody and nobody.

    But in regards of me defending people and being anti people generalizing, white, black, Latino, Asian, mixed raced, whatever, I don’t care.

    If I read your posts and you seem to only get offended when people talk about what you are specifically, well how is anyone going to take your words on racism and prejudice with anything more than, “you’re just saying it, because it’s you.”

    So yeah I’m going to say Frazgo and Yourfriend it is very wrong and no one should stereotype anyone, even white men. Because the vast majority of white people aren’t doing jerk things, like the vast majority of everyone else aren’t jerks. I wish there was a race of nice people ,a race of mean people, a race of party people, a race of good cooks, a race of smart people, if there were…think how simple (but boring life) life would be. During my time on this planet, I’ve learned you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

    The vast majority of white people in the US didn’t own slaves, it was only very, very rich white men, but the key there is rich, not white, not man. The vast majority of white people in the US don’t have hire people who don’t have “the proper paper” work to pay them nothing, but lots of rich people do, black, Latino, white, and Asian….

    It’s wrong and the not right to generalize anyone and I’ve said things in person (not on the chicken sh*t internet) when people have generalized anyone. I got threatened with death owing to the fact that I wouldn’t agree with them that the white man was the devil (or some kind of variation of that…fun times,) I got an actual gun pulled on me…so I’m not trying to just pull crap out my butt, because we’re online here.

    I’ve explained a lot of things to a lot of people and helped them see the world in a better light, that can actually help them succeed in this world.

    I will stand up for anyone at any time if something unfair is happening to them, that’s what I like doing.

    Ok, so I give you that, no one should have made a wide sweeping generalization that all white people are mean or imply it.

    So do you think it’s wrong to call people illegal?

    Because it does mean Mexican and Latino and just a nasty mean comment to anyone south of the US border.

    You’ve got to know deep down inside that’s what it means to certain people out here, do you want to be in the same category as people who used the term n*gger in the 30s, do you? They weren’t bad people they didn’t mean anything by it, but do you really want to be that guy if you have the opportunity to not be that guy? That guy didn’t have the benefit of black people explaining to him, “Hey we don’t like that.” He didn’t have the internet, you do.

    Because really no one who throws that term out and discriminates and does whatever that term brings about bothers to ask, “Where you born here or not?” They just apply their hate to whatever brownish person they see.

    Does it hurt so much for you to not have the right to demean someone? Does that matter more over everything else?

    You just said you don’t like being stereotyped, great that’s fine I won’t and I don’t think I have in any of my posts, but I put the same challenge to you. Please don’t use that term.

    Saying illegal brings about stereotypes in regards to Latino people, it brings about hate crimes, it brings about laws, it brings about attitudes. Do you think that slavery had no impact on how free black in the US lived? The term illegal makes it hard for Latinos who were born here. Do you get that? Do you understand that? Do you get how a person who may not be as sophisticated as you might not see the difference? Do you want to be responsible for someone getting their head beat in for being the “wrong thing.”

    People of color don’t like it and that should be enough of a reason for you not to use it, at least not in this public and very powerful forum.

    If this was a blog that no one read or your personal blog then hey do what you want, but this is a big blog. This is media, this is powerful, please don’t use your power as a poster on this big huge blog that goes all over the world to denigrate another human being who is just trying to make a living.


  35. Browne, take a look, I don’t suggest we toss in illegal unless it will add something to a story. There is usually something else going on that makes residency status irrelevant or a side bar so I don’t see the need for it. Gang bangers doing gang stuff, bank robbers comitting a felony. About the only time I can even see race of parties involved being discussed is when it is an obvious hate crime or gang wars dividing on those lines. (And yes I know not all gang wars divide on those line and if not relevant no need to raise).

    What I said is I have a problem with lumping along racial lines for ANYONE. I think you even agreed. A little common ground maybe?

  36. The lesson I’ve learned is that if I want to generate discussion regarding illegal immigration, not to use the term “illegal” by itself, even in a headline, because commenters will focus entirely on the language.

    I appreciate that Browne thinks we should think twice about what we write because of our large audience (at least someone thinks so), but I think the last form of media that shouldn’t worry about being PC are blogs like this.

    I also appreciate that Bustard thinks the problem with using the term “illegal” is because he believes its as offensive as “n*gger” and thus using the word spreads or integrates racism. I entirely disagree, of course, but if a lot of people feel the same way Bustard does, especially Hispanics, I’ll curb my language.

    However, I don’t think anyone at Metblogs has tossed out the term “illegals” in any conversation that isn’t related to illegal immigration, and that hasn’t specified as such in an entry. Instead, its been used as shorthand in the context of larger conversation.

  37. If anyone noticed in my post (where white people were noted), I also said that many people of all races use this technique. Like throwing out the term “illegal” in a post that had no content other than to show folks the author was right in an individual anecdotal way, my comments about “white people” shouldve come with an explanation and an apology to those who got offended by it (still waiting for yours Jason, as well as David for defending something that obviously bothered several people). If David and the author had simply apaologized and noted that the term illegal was solely used in the context of the story, maybe the “white/cracker” post wouldnt have been necessary, but every response was either an overly ignorant “it is just a word, blah blah” behavior (#2 in my other post) or an attempt to present those who had issues with the word as some overly PC latinophobes(behavior #1 in my post).

    As I noted before, many of the racist anti illegal folks resort to both behaviors when they have no factual point, and the history of the word and those behaviors with mucho precedence have left a large segment of intelligent people with issues about the word “illegal” being thrown around maliciously and the type of behaviro in general that was coming from the posts’ author and several others. If you had the analytic skills to be offended by white people being lumped into one ignorant stereotype (which was a totally reasonable response as the “white” comment was very ignorant and sole purpose was to show how offensive this kind of ignorant behavior is, whether it is white or brown people) then you have the insight to see how the term illegal being thrown around without a valid explanation or apology is also offenseive to many people, especially given the history and context of the term. Let’s be honest here, the term “illegal” was used by a person calling for extreme and overlysimplistic/oppressive actions of a demographic he knows little about and is not a part of (and is actually he is a part of an ethnicity that has a long history of malicious hostility towards “others’, even if Jason himself has no klan sheets he exists in the dichotomy created b this history and should act accordingly), and then wanted to gloat through an individual situation that he was right. Usually, the majority of folks with enough energy to pursue the whole “illegals are bad” mantra or stance are either ignorant or hiding some ethnocentrism (because most of the ills illegals bring can be explained or proven wrong) and it eventually comes out, my apologies for thinking Jason and Jason fall into that category that has a 95% precedence of being dead on.

    Maybe I shouldve clarified myself, just like Jason shouldve off the bat once people got mad. But I thought it was appropriate to “fight fire with fire” in an attempt to get the author (and David Markland) to put their feet in someone else’s shoes, which seems impossible for many American folks (of every race, those enraptured by the americana narcissistic it- only-matters-if-it-affects-me cultural juggernaut). But just for note (and I do this alot since I debate these topics frequently as I am one of the few Latinos with a big vocabulary, see another sterotype!) I myself have some white somewhere in there (grandpa was 3/4 yaqui and 1/4 english), am married to a half white woman (meaning I have 2 children who are 1/4 white and much lighter than papa), elected several white people onto the board of my nonprofit, have several white best friends, work with some of the coolest white people in the world (or coolest people in general), have spent a lot of time researching white poverty as well as that of my own ethnicity/blacks/asians, and spend at least HALF the time I work with angry black and brown kids in the ghetto explaining to them that it is wrong to stereotype or be racist towards white people and that there is no “the man” as well as that not all or even most white people behave in the negative ways they may have seen or experienced white culture, and am planning a family vacation to Missourah so that my kids and I may see the white side of their family (as here in LA they usually only get the Asian and Latino stuff. So no, I honestly do not feel ALL or even most white folks behave in a certain way, my ignorant “white people” comment was more to prove a point.

    When I was younger, I grew up in the projects and East LA where there was very little exposure to white people, and as a teen I embodied the ignorance of white folks that I had supposedly not enaged much with beyond negative situations (police, social workers, PO’s, hostile teachers, jail guards). As I got older and shed the whole “gangster” loser lifestyle I became enmeshed in as a reaction to my environment upbringing and lack of personal resilience,I also shed my partially self induced ignorant notions of “the man” and white people in general. Growing in up in post white flight ELA and the SGV I knew tons of cool white folks and began to focus on that to erase these negative stereotypes that began fermenting in my head. And you know what? It opened up a whole new world, tons of friendships, and killed a nasty rotten part of me that had to go. I wish a lot of folks (especially westsiders if you know what I mean) would try the same with my community, although there are a lot of stereotype monkeys, us Mexicans are not solely alcohlic gang members who throw baby daipers out of windows. Focusing on those jerkoffs (and every race has them, the more wealth an ethnicity collectively has, the less obvious it is) is like me focusing on the one cop who kicked my ass and called me brown trash when I was 14, rather than the dozens of LAPD officers that acted as Santa Claus at my mom’s Xmas parties or played football with me (my mom works at the piper tech city bldg. with a lot of LAPD) or were just genrally good people.

    how about a hot dog wrapped in a tortilla ?

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