Associated Press editors -- that is, people who produce the Associated Press Stylebook -- say that reporters -- that is, people who write news stories -- should no longer describe illegal immigrants as such. Rather, they should be described as people who immigrate illegally. I think I got that right. Here's the release:
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...
Is this the best way to describe someone in a country without permission? We believe that it is for now. We also believe more evolution is likely down the road.
The Stylebook team points out that we don't refer to schizophrenics but, rather, people who have schizophrenia. And we do this since no one understands that a schizophrenic is someone with schizophrenia. Or something like that. It's all very efficient.
So, dear readers -- I'm sorry, I mean people who are reading this -- what do you think of this change?
My two favorite comments thus far:
@PastorSharp: So the AP stops using "illegal immigrant" and our immigration issues are all solved! We now have a workable and mutually beneficial system.
@TonyWoodlief: Since the AP says we should describe what someone does rather than what he is, does that mean we can stop using the word "journalist?"