From a piece on the New York Time’s refusal to completely drop the I-word (“illegal immigrant”) from its reporting:
“Advocates on one side of this political debate have called on news organizations to use only the terms they prefer,” Mr. Corbett [from the NYT] said. “But we have to make those decisions for journalistic reasons alone, based on what we think best informs our readers on this important topic.” He added: “It’s not our job to take sides.”
Continuing to use words developed by some people to categorize other people–especially once those other people start protesting–is taking sides. There is no neutral when it comes to choosing terms of social identity.
Continuing to support the status quo is taking sides. Framing a claim that a word is degrading as an ‘expression of preference’ is taking sides. Acting as if only people on one side of a debate have a stake in word choice is taking sides. Feigning ignorance is taking sides. Putting your head in the sand is taking sides. Trying to find a way to not take sides is taking sides. Trying to not get involved is taking sides. We are always taking sides.
We do not have the luxury of neutrality, and even if we do, we do not deserve it.
People from the Drop the I-word Campaign say,
If you want to urge the Times to get with the times and stop using the i-word–and you have a Twitter account–please cut, paste, and send out this tweet:
@nytimes drop the i-word completely. #droptheiword