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No, ‘Illegal’ Is Not Like the N-Word

Suppressing language does not change objective reality.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

July 7, 2014 - 12:00 am

The Blaze brings our attention to recent commentary by CNN columnist Sally Kohn on the topic of illegal immigration. She claims that describing immigrants that way, as “illegal,” is like using the n-word to describe black people. Kohn writes:

During the civil rights era, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was asked by a supporter why he was fixated on the politics of race. Wallace replied, ‘You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*ggers, and they stomped the floor.’

Today, opponents of immigration reform attack undocumented immigrants as ‘illegal immigrants.’ Even worse, like anti-immigration extremists, some prominent elected officials use the term ‘illegals.’ Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, said, ‘I urge all Mainers to tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals.’

Not the same thing? Of course it is.

No, it isn’t. Kohn’s equivalence is beyond despicable.

The n-word serves no descriptive purpose. It does not speak to a factual truth about its object. The n-word is plainly and only derogatory.

The word “illegal” is an adjective with objective meaning that describes a factual reality. We call illegal immigrants “illegal” because they are here illegally. It’s pretty simple.

Of course, Kohn knows that. An eighth grader knows that. Surely, someone writing for CNN understands that words have meaning and that communicating concepts accurately proves essential to any policy debate. We may therefore conclude with confidence that Kohn’s campaign to remove “illegal” from our policy vernacular is a naked attempt to deny the illegality of certain immigration by erasing any linguistic reference to it.

The answer is no, Sally. We’re not changing our language to suit your agenda. We’re not going to stop categorizing people objectively as illegal immigrants. We’re not going to dilute the gravity of truly derogatory terms by conflating them with one that is not.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic. 10:27 minutes long; 10.09 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the boards of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, Minnesota Majority and the Minority Liberty Alliance. He maintains a blog and daily podcast entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of conservative Minnesotan commentary, and regularly appears on the Twin Cities News Talk Weekend Roundtable on KTCN AM 1130. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.
Top Rated Comments   
Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unofficial pharmacist".

But of course they say "illegal immigrant" is like the N-word. The progressive-to-English dictionary clearly says:

RAAAAACIST (adj.)
1. I disagree with you about that.
2. Shut up!
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blacks were brought here against their will to force them into involuntary servitude.

Border crashers are brought here against our will to force us into involuntary servitude.


Border crashers are not "undocumented", most of their documents are phony, stolen or acquired by fraud.


Black slaves were forbidden from learning, border crashers insist not only on their DREAMERS being educated...but, press one for Spanish and give me my entitlements now.

It is rather more than galling to have a sniveling white leftist demean blacks by equating them with border crashers. In their zeal to shout racism at every opportunity, the Woodstock Jihadists cheapen the charge to worthlessness.

The irony is that the now clearly intentional flooding of the borders will most assuredly hurt one racial group more than all the others. It will hurt blacks far and away more than whites, Asians or the growing influence of Hispanics.

And, by pretending to "care", that is how Woodstock Jihadists camouflage their uncanny ability to add insult to injury.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our society has long mocked such expressions because the people who use them know damn well they're lying. PC is a monstrous form of politeness put to a political end. It fools no one when it's done on purpose, such as calling prostitution "survival sex" or people objecting to the term "Third World" who'd never actually live in the Third World.

The main danger is in when groups appropriate existing words, often, in their minds, sincerely, but falsely. Examples of that are when neo-Nazis refer to their work as "social justice" or when intersectionality refers to itself as "feminism." Intersectionality is "feminism" as much as neo-Nazis are working towards "social justice."

When I was a kid we referred to people like Kohn as "rednecks," meaning they could be pretty high functioning when it came to designing an engine but unable to make the simplest comparisons and value judgments on their own. They were the equivalent of color blind or tone deaf. They only knew the difference between a red traffic light and green if someone told them or by reasoning top from bottom; they could not create original outside-the-box thoughts. Relatively harmless marijuana was considered far more dangerous than the actually dangerous white lightning those morons so proudly and cluelessly sang about.

So the danger today is you have a bunch of self-described "progressives" who truly think they fight for "social justice" but who support out and out racists merely because those racists have the good fortune to not be white because the only racists these rednecks acknowledge wear hoods or swastikas. They are unable to extend hate or supremacy to any other form and so hate literally becomes "social justice."

It's a mad world, and one we've seen before. In the '60s we bombed hell out of Vietnamese who'd never harmed any American in the name of "peace." You see, we were Americans and so if we did it it was by default "right." Too bad this is a fight we're going to have to fight all over again.

"Progressives" and "liberals" are anything but progressive or liberal but have a sheen of credibility that works even as our progressive liberal President literally destroys our economy, law, and social cohesiveness.

As in the late '50s early '60s, this nation is undergoing a tremendous failure of perception and intellect. 10 whites in a room is an informal racialist KKK needing diversity, a purposeful black poetry symposium is "diversity" and not at all racialist.

Too many men on a best-sellers list is an ideological "patriarchy" or even a sign of "misogyny." A purposeful ideological all-womens anthology is "diversity," just a gals night out and nothing to do with identity-supremacy.

In keeping with my theme, I believe the so-called conformist Ozzie and Harriet racist misogynists of our intellectual and artistic community of the late '50s were actually some pretty sharp and principled people. By contrast, what passes for intellectual thought today is observably racist, man-hating, heterophobic and disgustingly conformist. When I can predict what a person I don't even know thinks of a given issue, that is a robot.

We need to go back to a world of surprises, where we first observe, then make judgments, not the other way around.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
This is like the people who want us to give up fighting against the murder of the unborn. They way, "we can argue about the moral issue, but..." - but in fact, their argument only makes sense if you accept their premises.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of the article, but the author is wrong to defend the oxymoron "illegal immigrant". Border crashers are not "immigrants", they are illegal aliens. Under the law, "immigrant" has only one meaning: a person who is in the U.S. legally.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Immigration, like love, used to require both sides to want it.

Apparently, however, someone forcing himself into the country against its will is merely committing a technicality, it merely makes him an "undocumented immigrant", not an illegal alien. Nobody is illegal, right?

So, by analogy, as long as HE wants to make love to her, even if she doesn't want to, he is merely an "undocumented lover". There is no such thing as a rapist. Nobody is without love, right?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unofficial pharmacist".

But of course they say "illegal immigrant" is like the N-word. The progressive-to-English dictionary clearly says:

RAAAAACIST (adj.)
1. I disagree with you about that.
2. Shut up!
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
simple solution, all the libs that want them here and every one in favor of illegal immigration to this country must take 2 people into their homes, pay for them, and do so without any government assistance.

Should be no problem, I mean what would be the cost to these do gooders to have 2 more mouths to feed, house, clothe, insure, educate,
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reminds me of the pro-death people telling us we should take the kids in. I keep on offering, but I don't know if any have taken me up on it.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blacks were brought here against their will to force them into involuntary servitude.

Border crashers are brought here against our will to force us into involuntary servitude.


Border crashers are not "undocumented", most of their documents are phony, stolen or acquired by fraud.


Black slaves were forbidden from learning, border crashers insist not only on their DREAMERS being educated...but, press one for Spanish and give me my entitlements now.

It is rather more than galling to have a sniveling white leftist demean blacks by equating them with border crashers. In their zeal to shout racism at every opportunity, the Woodstock Jihadists cheapen the charge to worthlessness.

The irony is that the now clearly intentional flooding of the borders will most assuredly hurt one racial group more than all the others. It will hurt blacks far and away more than whites, Asians or the growing influence of Hispanics.

And, by pretending to "care", that is how Woodstock Jihadists camouflage their uncanny ability to add insult to injury.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our society has long mocked such expressions because the people who use them know damn well they're lying. PC is a monstrous form of politeness put to a political end. It fools no one when it's done on purpose, such as calling prostitution "survival sex" or people objecting to the term "Third World" who'd never actually live in the Third World.

The main danger is in when groups appropriate existing words, often, in their minds, sincerely, but falsely. Examples of that are when neo-Nazis refer to their work as "social justice" or when intersectionality refers to itself as "feminism." Intersectionality is "feminism" as much as neo-Nazis are working towards "social justice."

When I was a kid we referred to people like Kohn as "rednecks," meaning they could be pretty high functioning when it came to designing an engine but unable to make the simplest comparisons and value judgments on their own. They were the equivalent of color blind or tone deaf. They only knew the difference between a red traffic light and green if someone told them or by reasoning top from bottom; they could not create original outside-the-box thoughts. Relatively harmless marijuana was considered far more dangerous than the actually dangerous white lightning those morons so proudly and cluelessly sang about.

So the danger today is you have a bunch of self-described "progressives" who truly think they fight for "social justice" but who support out and out racists merely because those racists have the good fortune to not be white because the only racists these rednecks acknowledge wear hoods or swastikas. They are unable to extend hate or supremacy to any other form and so hate literally becomes "social justice."

It's a mad world, and one we've seen before. In the '60s we bombed hell out of Vietnamese who'd never harmed any American in the name of "peace." You see, we were Americans and so if we did it it was by default "right." Too bad this is a fight we're going to have to fight all over again.

"Progressives" and "liberals" are anything but progressive or liberal but have a sheen of credibility that works even as our progressive liberal President literally destroys our economy, law, and social cohesiveness.

As in the late '50s early '60s, this nation is undergoing a tremendous failure of perception and intellect. 10 whites in a room is an informal racialist KKK needing diversity, a purposeful black poetry symposium is "diversity" and not at all racialist.

Too many men on a best-sellers list is an ideological "patriarchy" or even a sign of "misogyny." A purposeful ideological all-womens anthology is "diversity," just a gals night out and nothing to do with identity-supremacy.

In keeping with my theme, I believe the so-called conformist Ozzie and Harriet racist misogynists of our intellectual and artistic community of the late '50s were actually some pretty sharp and principled people. By contrast, what passes for intellectual thought today is observably racist, man-hating, heterophobic and disgustingly conformist. When I can predict what a person I don't even know thinks of a given issue, that is a robot.

We need to go back to a world of surprises, where we first observe, then make judgments, not the other way around.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
If prostitutes are merely "sex workers", Johns are just "sex clients" and pimps merely "sex bosses". I fail to see why, in that case, are progressives so outraged about how men who use, or employ, prostitutes are so evil.

It's one of those lies progressives love. Prostitution is either a free choice and a job like any others -- when they feel like it -- or else it's an awful crime by the men who rule over the helpless women -- when they feel like it.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
You have to love how the Left's preferred term is "undocumented migrants", as if they simply misplaced their immigration documents or, perhaps, the federal bureaucracy simply forgot to hand it to them on their way through the legal border crossing points.

The Left is absolutely boundless in their ability to "spin" reality: choose inaccurate wording to imply something that isn't true but that alters people's perception of what is happening. That's how a political mass murder like Maj. Hassan's attack at Fort Hood becomes a "workplace incident" and a flood of invaders streaming across the border becomes a stream of "undocumented workers".
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Sally was raped would she call the "Rapist" a "Sexual Partner"? Would she call the act of "Rape" a "Sexual Experience"? For some reason I rather doubt it!
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Surely, someone writing for CNN understands that words have meaning and that communicating concepts accurately proves essential to any policy debate."

Whoa now! Lets not get carried away here. As ever Forests Mama is right. "Stupid is, as Stupid does." And Ms.Kohn just proves the rule. AGAIN.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
The PC don't understanding the meaning of words. They only understand good and bad identities, e.g,, gay, white, women. Meaning, and right and wrong itself, follows and dogs those identities in an act of anti-profiling profiling.

Our progressives couldn't be more Orwellian if they tried. They are truly a lost generation.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you are certain that your neighbor or local business in employing illegal workers let that neighbor know your contempt for his/her practice or that business know that you will no longer be a customer and will be sending a complaint to the Better Business Bureau in your state. You must be certain though. Many legal Americans speak languages other than English and may appear other than mainstream. How to be certain? Asking the neighbor or business owner. If they lie, they will eventually be found out.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a lot of document fraud associated with illegal immigration. If a business owner follows the law and keeps good records of the phony documents, that business owner is generally safe from prosecution even though he or she is pretty sure the documents are fake. As an ex-girlfriend office manager of a cleaning company once said, "Jose, please sign your newly purchased Social Security card". The business was pretty sure their workers were illegal aliens, but the law only required them to copy documents and fill out forms, not do a credit reporting agency background check.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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