Friday Night at 8: There’s A New Voice to be Heard

I’m trying to figure out how to write about why I started blogging over at the Great Orange Satan on immigration.

There’s so much information I have packed into my poor brain over the past several months, that I don’t know where to begin.

Guess perhaps I should start at the beginning!

Ok, will do.

kyledeb’s The Correct Term is Migrant on August 22.  

It is impossible to have a real conversation about immigration in the U.S. if people can’t even agree on the terminology that they are debating with. Conservatives automatically become hostile when they read or hear the word “undocumented immigrant”, and progressives often call people that use the term “illegal alien” racists. Both terms are incorrect.

When describing the 12 million people that have illegally immigrated into the U.S. the best term to use is the word “migrant”. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if people opposed this, this shouldn’t be a controversial claim. The rest of the world uses the term migrant to describe people that immigrate into the country illegally. The BBC uses the word migrant. So does Prensa Libre, Guatemala’s main newspaper. The list goes on and on.

Immigration is actually a U.S.-centric term. An immigrant is someone who migrates into your country, an emigrant describes someone who migrates out of your country, but the accurate term to describe this population from a global perspective is migrant. It flies in the face of the U.S. citizen ego, but most migrants come to the U.S. with the intention of returning, and many do. Migration describes their movements better than immigration does.

The typical comment:

see url You can respectfully disagree

with the actual definitions of words all you want.

But using your special definitions of words instead of the generally agreed upon definitions will achieve only one thing – guaranteeing that you will not effectively communicate with anyone who does not already agree with you.

My very first comment was a response to Mariachi Mama’s comment:

go site sorry too late to tip or rec nt

To which I added one of my most insightful comments: ditto. nt.

‘Course, I didn’t know then that kyledeb had his own site, which is now called Citizen Orange and has a great new look thanks to Nezua over at The Unapologetic Mexican.

Frankly, I didn’t even know kyledeb was male!  I thought the screen name meant “her” name was “Deb!”

Later, I learned differently.

I thought Kyle had a hell of a lot of nerve telling Kossacks what to say and how to say it.  I thought he would probably be killed in the comments and that would be that.

Well that didn’t happen, even though to this day there are fierce battles.  I’ve been in the thick of many of them, being the cantankerous self-appointed Nightprowlkitty: SuperKitty of Justice!, lol.

What happened to me is that I got educated.  As a certain SmartyPants (a/k/a Pandora for real!) would say, I got “taken to school.”  And I have missed very few classes since.

If someone could grab the picture at the upper lefthand of the screen at Migra Matters of the very cool graphic “Illegal Is Not A Noun,” I would appreciate it, being tech challenged at posting pictures.

I’ve written before about the diversosphere, but what I have forgotten to mention is that these folks are lasix before transfusions cutting edge when it comes to taking you to school.  What you’d have to pay thousands of dollars for in academia (and probably still end up clueless), is offered here for free, and in a much hipper style than academia can provide.  Because it’s not just education one gets at these sites, but activism, understanding, breaking through the mind-control so many of us have suffered from for so many years, and top of the minute news on these issues as well.

The other day a poster I have been battling at length with finally used the word “undocumented migrant” instead of his/her preferred “illegals.”

Is that the most important thing, the words we use?  Ah, to me, every detail comprises THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, because they are all pieces of value in a difficult and puzzling battle.  The words we use are the most important thing, because we all care about people and don’t want to call them names that will make them feel they are not equal to us.  The issues are the most important thing because we can’t change the laws and push our Dem Representatives to do the right thing if we don’t know what we want them to do.

The people putting out this information in this way are the most important thing because without them there is no chance to win any battles at all.  Heh.

And the people who are suffering are the most important thing, the children separated from their parents, folks feeling terror in the night, folks exactly like you and me, who are being treated as though their humanity has a lesser value.

I felt pulled in two directions when I started understanding this issue.  My first allegiance, I felt, was to write about New Orleans, and I would feel guilty at not writing more about NOLA when I was busy making comments in immigration diaries.  As yet I have not written a diary on this subject, I still need more education.  But I felt conflicted.

Then I realized both of those issues were about the same thing.  Yeah, social justice.

Duke is the one to read on the issues, the legislation, the ways to frame this conversation that seem so obvious and easy to understand that I forget for a brief merciful moment that what he’s writing hasn’t ALWAYS been part of the Democratic rhetoric.  Oh wait, it isn’t part of the Democratic rhetoric at all.  Ack.

Kyle and Nezua are two of the freshest and exciting voices in the blogosphere on this issue, with both fabulous style and great substance and a lot of heart.  And Kyle posts at Daily Kos, as well as Duke.  This is an amazing ability, I think, given the stubborness of Kossacks that “WE KNOW ALL THERE IS TO BE KNOWN!  YOU ARE A BOUNDER AND A POLTROON, DARING TO DEFY OUR CONVENTIONAL WISDOM!” – or something like that.  And to be honest, there are a hell of a lot of folks who post at Daily Kos that I wouldn’t lightly argue with, as they know their stuff inside out.  So there is a real challenge there, not just an empty-headed one.

So that was the beginning of how I got into blogging (comments only) on the issue of immigration and the Democratic Party’s really lame and limp rhetoric on it.  Rahm Emmanuel!  Yes, you, Rahm!  Your days are numbered, Mr. Emmanuel, and Americans will once again inject some common sense into that part of the Beltway that needs it most!


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    • documel on December 8, 2007 at 2:34 am

    As you well know, this is a racism issue.  O’Reilly isn’t complaining about the cute Irish girls that sneak into the country and work as nannies for the rich and the super rich.  No, they want to keep others out of here.

    When you brought up NOLA, you used the term civil rights to combine the issues.  More accurate would be  “victims of viscious prejudice.”  Americans were always nativists–except when it came to native Americans.  A couple of years ago the code word was bilingualism.  Now it’s illegal immigrants. McCarthy used unAmerican.

    Language is very important.  I worked in the GHETTOS of Bed/Stuy and the South Bronx.  They’re not “inner cities”–they are ghettos–most residents are forced by economic and educational restraints to live there.  Guess what?  These areas have a lot of color, very little white is evident–except for the civil servants and the shopkeepers.  That’s true throughout the country–it’s not the inner city, it’s the “colored section” dressed up with a new name.  Disgusting.

  1. because it is probably the one facet of life in America that bothers me most right now. Let me clarify that remark, I am most disturbed at the irrational, irresponsible, intolerant aspects of the vicious, xenophobic diatribe from the population, I am sad to say, not only this time     to be blamed solely on the Republicans, toward undocumented workers in the United States. It is an ignorant debate, based on nativist fear from the ones who came before, that others will take what they feel they are solely entitled to. Meaning life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don’t feel that is credo designed only for America.

    However, it is late on a Friday and I have a life outside the blogs and shall return to hear what others feel in the morning.

    However, please NPK keep up your passion for this key element in our decision making process for the kind of America we     want.

  2. of people like Kyle, Nezua and Duke are on these issues, I think your voice is critical as well. The journey of someone who has gone from ignorance (and I use that word in its most basic meaning) to some level of understanding can be an important one to hear about for those still locked in ignorance.

    I don’t know if you’ve gotten to know “Manny” over at Latino Politico, but there is no more beautiful spirit than his on the whole blogosphere.  

  3. I’ve copied it into my photobucket so that if people wish, they can use on the Big Orange.

  4. migrants.  Did you know I can rant for days on word choice and communication?  My very first dkos diary, and the next one, were on this very subject.

    Here goes the very, very, very distilled version of my rant on word choice:  

    “All we got between us is language.  You don’t care how you use it, you don’t care about anything.  You say well, THAT’S what I think that word means, and nobody knows what you’re talking about when you use it, you’re kinda mentally masturbating.”

    Well, when you distill you have to get something across with just a couple of words so they have to be very strong and to the point, and easy to visualize . . . never mind.

    I am going to those sites.  I grew up on the border (New Mexico/Texas/Mexico) and so many of my friends in California are migrants from, well, everywhere.  I’ll do your subject proud.  Thanks, nightprowlkitty.

  5. …is the tendency to evoke genuine and universal voices in the survivors :}  I’ve really enjoyed kyle’s diaries though I am only reading an essay or three a day right now, so much is missed.    

    Ome essay I’d love to read…how migration can be expected to evolve as the next 3 billion pile on and more ecosystems and human economies collapse.  

    • kj on December 9, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Whether “US centric” or not, immigrant is the word used to describe my ancestors who came to America. (Yes, they stayed here.)

    And if the use of “migrant” is to be preferred, because of the claim that 65% of migrants return to their home country, I can see why use of the dictionary correct term is highlighted.

    What I can’t see is why calling a person an “undocumented worker” is like hitting an automatic “racist!” “hatemonger!” button.

    That is the reason I stay out of these discussions. I’m source site not afraid of getting my feelings or ego hurt, I just don’t see why wanting people to go through the process of legalization before reaping the benefits of US citizenship is wrong.

    Companies that hire undocumented workers in this country can outbid companies who don’t, because they don’t have to pay taxes, etc. Who benefits? Who gets hurt? Why is it racist to want the documented workers to get the jobs instead of the undocumented workers? And I’m not talking about picking lettuce.

    I see this issue as less about race and more about Capitalism Run Amok.  

    • kj on December 9, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    SuperKitty of Justice!!!  @;-)

    Feel free, I have a hard head. Sometimes it “takes a frying pan.”  

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