Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Framing our Perspective with Words that Fit

One my favorite columnists, Victor Davis Hanson, has penned another worthy article. This time he addresses the idea that the terms we use to define things--in this case illegal immigrants--tells us much about how we really think on the subject. He says ...

"In the fierce debate over illegal immigration, the particular terms used by those who argue our porous borders are not a serious problem can tell us a lot. ... 'Undocumented worker,' for example, is the politically correct synonym for 'illegal alien.' It implies that those who have crossed the border without the proper documentation have neither broken the law nor are of any different status than American citizens. But it is an inaccurate term. Not all those who come here illegally are working. And most never had, or even applied for, immigration documents.In other words, there really are millions here illegally. They are not aliens from another planet, but aliens in the literal sense — simply not lawful residents of this country."

I like what rocker Ted Nugent said. "Calling illegal aliens undocumented workers is like calling a bank robbery an undocumented withdrawl."

Back to Hanson ...

"'Guest workers,' as well, is an inexact, euphemistic term. After all, invited company is rarely asked to wash their hosts' dishes. 'Imported laborer' or 'contracted worker' would be more accurate. Far better than "guest worker," such terms convey the commercial nature of the arrangement. Even more precise would be 'imported low-wage laborer,' to take into account the critical issue of wages. Even the old, crude label bracero — 'the arms' — better reflected the reality of low-paid, brutal labor than does 'guest worker.'"

You can read Hanson's entire article, here: http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson041706.html


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