Regarding your Jan. 6 headline, “Illegal shooter faces charges,” it’s time for Tribune editors to get with the times.
Words matter. As Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once wrote, “No human being is illegal.”
Five years ago, the Associated Press and dozens of major news groups dropped the use of “illegal” immigrants from its stylebook, noting the word illegal should be used to describe actions, not people. “Negro.” “Oriental.” “Cripple.” “Retarded.” These terms also degraded and dehumanized, and we’ve thankfully moved beyond them. The word “illegal” is pejorative and derogatory. “Undocumented” or “unauthorized” do the job nicely.
By continuing to refer to a person as “illegal,” The Tribune editors echo the divisive rhetoric of nationalists, racists, xenophobes and irresponsible news sources like the Santa Barbara News-Press, which in 2015 famously published a headline “Illegals line up for driver’s licenses.” Clearly, Tribune, you can do better.
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Geoffrey Land, San Luis Obispo