Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Refugee Is Politically Incorrect Description

The AP is reporting that some think that using the word "refugee" to describe people displaced by hurricane Katrina is inappropriate:


Per Jesse Jackson not only is it inappropriate but also racist:

"It is racist to call American citizens refugees," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, visiting the Houston Astrodome on Monday. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed similar sentiments.

Some news organizations have already banned the use of the word "refugee", including WaPo, Miami Herald, and the Boston Globe. CNN says that the word "evacuee" is a better choice. To their credit the AP & NYT say they will continue to use the word "refugee" when they deem it appropriate.

My thoughts are like those of William Safire of the NYT:

Columnist William Safire, who writes the weekly "On Language" column for The New York Times Magazine, said he did not see how the term "refugee" had any racial implications. "A refugee can be a person of any race at all," he said. "A refugee is a person who seeks refuge." He first suggested using the term "hurricane refugees." After thinking it over, though, he said he would probably simply use "flood victims," to avoid any political connotations that the word "refugee" may have taken on in the current debate.

I don't see how anyone could spin the politically correct card on the word refugee, but they have. I think it's pretty sad that people waste energy and debate on such a non-issue when other credible and critical conversation is needed................