FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2013
Pasadena, CA – Today, the Associated Press (AP) announced important changes in the AP Stylebook that include a direction to stop using the word “illegal” to describe a person or using the term “illegal immigrant.” This is a notable departure from earlier versions of the Stylebook and a change of an earlier policy that was reaffirmed as recently as last fall.
AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained:
“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”
The following statement can be attributed to Alex Nogales, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition:
“We applaud AP for its decision to stop using the word “illegal” to describe human beings. For far too long, this term has been accepted as a politically correct way for some to spew hatred, xenophobia, and fear throughout our communities. At a certain point, it lost any descriptive qualities and became nothing more than a slur used to dehumanize and degrade a very important part of our country. I’m pleased to see the word “illegal” following the path of other slurs such as “wetback” as words that are not acceptable to use in our discourse. We hope that outlets that continue to use this word will follow the lead of the AP and do away with it in short order.”
NHMC is a core member of the “Drop the i-Word” campaign led by Applied Research Center. As part of this campaign, Alex Nogales has met with editors at the AP, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times to ask them to stop using “illegal” to refer to immigrants.
In 2012, NHMC commissioned a national poll that confirmed that media is hugely influential in shaping opinions about Latinos and others. The poll found that in discussing those in this country without documentation, the term “illegal alien” elicited much more negative feelings than the term “undocumented immigrants.”
The National Hispanic Media Coalition is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization established in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is to educate and influence media corporations on the importance of including U.S. Latinos at all levels of employment. It augments the pool of Latino talent with it s professional development programs. It challenges media that carelessly exploit negative Latino stereotypes. It scrutinizes and opines on media and telecommunications policy issues. Learn more at http://www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on Facebook and on twitter @NHMC.