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Mr. George Orwell, Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone

A few months after defending the continued use of “illegal immigrant,” the Associated Press has surrendered to activist lobbying and dropped the term from its style book. Instead, it suggests “living in or entering a country illegally” or “without legal permission.” They still bar the use of “undocumented,” but give them time.

The rationale for the change is that they are “ridding the Stylebook of labels,” proscribing the use of, for example, “schizophrenic” and suggesting in its stead “diagnosed with schizophrenia.” So, I guess that means they’ll bar “thief” in favor of “person engaged in thievery”.

As David Frum notes, AP refers to “illegal campaign donors” (here, for instance) — will they stop that too?

In fact, why not ban nominalized adjectives altogether? If using “illegals” as a noun is barred (AP hasn’t allowed that for a while), shouldn’t they also prohibit “the rich,” “the poor,” “the disabled,” “the blind,” “the good,” “the bad,” “the ugly”? After all, no person is “poor,” they are just experiencing a lack of money.

This whole exercise is doubleplusungood.


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