What is in a word? Some would say, “The power of thought.” Others might say, “Limits on the power of thought.” The wholesale adoption of one “politically correct” term by the news media, politicians and advocates of unlimited immigration to the United States has tricked many citizens’ and paved the way for major changes in our country’s future.
“Illegal Aliens – Replaced by Undocumented Immigrants. The phrase ‘Illegal Aliens’ implies that these people are a bunch of law-breaking creatures from outer space, while ‘Undocumented Immigrants’ suggests that they are good old-fashioned immigrants that simply have not gone through the hassle of being ‘documented’ yet.” www.newspeakdictionary.com.
The genius behind this language switch is that the word “immigrant” means a US Citizen who came from another country, obeyed the law, and completed the legal process of adopting America. From the time they arrived here until the time they received citizenship, they were “registered aliens.” By using the word “illegal” combined with “immigrant,” unregistered aliens are associated and equated with law-abiding citizens. No wonder immigrants are angry; they are being lumped together with unregistered aliens, living here illegally.
But how and when did rigorous, ethical, journalists and other “guardians” of our language abandon their posts and join forces with the promoters of wholesale disregard for our legal system?
ABC gives some background on the media’s usage: http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/linguists-york-times-illegal-neutral-accurate/story?id=17366512
According to the article, Jonathan Rosa, an assistant professor of linguistic anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, disagrees with the immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas, who launched a campaign to monitor the use of the term by major news outlets.
“There is nowhere in the legal field that the phrasing ‘illegal immigrant’ has been the norm. However, that same phrasing has been part of certain political strategies,” Jonathan said.
The article continues: “A group of 24 scholars, led by Rosa, put out a statement last week arguing that “illegal immigrant” should not be the preferred phrasing because it’s imprecise and frames the debate in narrow terms. “It is baffling to think that [The New York Times] would suggest ‘illegal immigrant’ is accurate and neutral,” Rosa said in an interview with ABC/Univision. “The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act defines immigrants as people who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, so “legal immigrant” is a redundant concept and ‘illegal immigrant’ is oxymoronic,” he noted.”
Americans should take note that they are being subjected to this style of “newspeak” tactic on many fronts every day.
Texas psychiatrist John Tennison, M.D wrote an article in 2004 following 9/11 and passage of the Patriot Act, “Newspeak: Manipulation of Language, Thought, and Behavior by Those in Power.” http://texaspsychiatry.com/Newspeak.htm
Dr. Tennison cites examples of language manipulation and “repurposing” in George Orwell’s 1984, Fahrenheit 451; he warns Americans about the intentional subversion of the words we use to manage our perceptions.
“As a result of 9/11, the site (www.newspeakdictionary.com) takes a look as such expressions as “Cowardly Act,” “Attack on Freedom,” “Terrorist Attack,” “Shock and Awe,” “Enemy Combatant,” and “Iraqi Terrorists.”
“Thus, regardless of the field of inquiry – world politics, psychiatry, etc. – careful and precise use of language, and vigilance for its abuse, will help us all live more closely to the truth and be less easily manipulable by powers that might be well-intentioned, but misguided, or that might not have our best interests in mind.”
Where do “political correctness,” “euphemistic avoidance,” and “semantic manipulation,” touch your thinking and your life?