Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, at 7 p.m.
Ballet Folklórico de México
A treasure in their native land for more than 50 years, this internationally famed ensemble blends music, choreography and colorful costumes in spectacular stage shows that bring alive Mexico’s brilliant array of cultural traditions. Take a journey through the ages as dancers trace the evolution of Mexico’s rich history and capture the essence of this country’s breathtaking beauty.
Raul Regalado to speakFrom the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
PLEASE JOIN US FOR OUR:
CEO of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority
from 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
At Chappy's Restaurant
1721 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37203
To R.S.V.P. please click here
R.S.V.P. Before February 1st.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Coalition of Immokalle Workers co-founder Lucas Benitez will be on "Speak Truth to Power" panel tonight at Vanderbilt
Recipient of 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award
Part of MLK lecture series
Kerry Kennedy to moderateLucas Benitez, co-founder and co-director of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, will be a panelist at Speak Truth to Power, part of The Martin Luther King Jr. 2010 Commemorative Lecture Series at Vanderbilt University. The event will be moderated by Kerry Kennedy, American human rights activist and author of Speak Truth to Power, at Benton Chapel at 7:00 p.m.
According to the press release, "Benitez helped secure the first wage increase for tomato pickers in 20 years, exposed and stopped two slavery rings and launched a Labor Action Rights program that collected nearly $100,000 in back wages" and that he "organized a successful boycott of the fast-food chain Taco Bell that was called off in 2005 when the company agreed to address the wages and working conditions of farm workers in the Florida tomato industry."
For more on Benitez, see his remarks upon accepting the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. It was the first time in the award's then-20-year history that it was presented to a U.S.-based organization.
See also this interview by the American Bar Association in 2000, this interview by Free the Slaves in 2005, this 2007 New York Times article, this transcript of his testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in 2008, and the web site of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
Here is the press release for tonight's event:
Kerry Kennedy, human rights activist, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and author of Speak Truth to Power will moderate a panel discussion on activism and justice Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at Vanderbilt University.
The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Benton Chapel.
Kennedy’s book, Speak Truth to Power, seeks to promote a more just and peaceful world by galvanizing public support for international human rights through cultural, educational and Web-based programs. A non-profit organization of the same name was started to engage the general public in an ongoing series of issue-related programs and events, bringing human rights activists and their work to wider audiences.
The book has also inspired a play by Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman, a photographic exhibition by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eddie Adams, a PBS documentary film, and an education packet. The Speak Truth to Power organization is a division of the nonprofit Robert F. Kennedy Memorial.
The panelists at the Vanderbilt event include:
- Lucas Benitez, the co-founder and co-director of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. By educating and organizing fellow migrant farm workers, he has helped secure the first wage increase for tomato pickers in 20 years, exposed and stopped two slavery rings and launched a Labor Action Rights program that collected nearly $100,000 in back wages. He organized a successful boycott of the fast-food chain Taco Bell that was called off in 2005 when the company agreed to address the wages and working conditions of farm workers in the Florida tomato industry.
- Stephen Bradberry, the head organizer of Louisiana ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for ReformNow. ACORN has been active in communities of color for more than 30 years. Bradberry has served in low and moderate-income neighborhoods in Louisiana for more than a decade. His chapter of the national community group, ACORN, has more than 10,000 member families and works specifically in the area of living wages, environmental justice and voting rights.
- Marina Pisklakova, an internationally recognized leading women’s rights activist in Russia. As founder of the National Center for the Prevention of Violence “ANNA” she works on creating an effective system of response to domestic violence by educating governmental officials and the public about the issue of domestic violence in Russia and other countries. For the past 12 years she has been involved in training for newly established crisis centers for women, for law enforcement and other governmental officials on the topics of domestic violence, human trafficking and women’s human rights.
For more information about Speak Truth to Power, visit www.speaktruth.org.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Baptist Hospital, the Community Foundation, and the Nashville Area Red Cross recently hosted a Spanish-language CPR class at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. The participants in this class learned to save lives by recognizing and responding to victims of heart attacks, stroke, and choking (both conscious and unconscious). According to the Red Cross, being able to perform CPR early on is crucial in preventing brain damage and will greatly increase a victim’s odds for survival.
The entire content for this event was in Spanish - the video, learning materials, and the live education from instructors. Each participant earned a CPR certification card at the conclusion of the class.
Photos of the event are here.
The Tennessean reported here that this was the Red Cross' first public CPR class to be held in Spanish in Middle Tennessee:
The growth of the Hispanic community, including English and Spanish speakers, shows the need to offer the class, said Matt Moody, manager of health and safety services for the chapter.
"We have not had, and still don't have, a strong enough working relationship with the Latino community," Moody said. "This will be a doorway for folks into the Red Cross, and we have the opportunity to broaden our base of volunteers."
Red Cross volunteers have given the class in Spanish, but only when businesses asked for it. Moody estimates there about a dozen CPR classes for Spanish speakers at businesses each year in the chapter area.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Looking for a job that values your second language? Here are a few - and don't miss that Regional Manager position...
Photo by Geoff Stearns. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
"Premier go-to person" at Vanderbilt's Center for Latin American Studies
Advisor and teacher at Primera Iglesia Bautista
Daughter of the Guatemalan ambassador to Washington, D.C.Norma Antillon will celebrate her 75th birthday among friends and colleagues this Friday at 5pm in the Buttrick Atrium at Vanderbilt University. Antillon is Program Manager for Vanderbilt's Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS).
I first met Norma at the Primera Iglesia Bautista, the Southern Baptist congregation that my wife and I joined in 2003, a few months after it moved to its own building off of Murfreesboro Road after being part of the First Baptist Church downtown for a number of years.
Norma is kind, strong, enthusiastic, and outgoing. Her leadership at La Primera has made her a pillar of the church, where she still attends and serves.
Norma is also a pillar of her Vanderbilt community. Mardy Fones of Vanderbilt's Arts and Science magazine profiled Norma in the Spring 2008 issue (photo credit: John Russell), noting Norma's importance to CLAS, then known as CLAIS:
“Norma Antillon is the glue that holds us together,” says Ted Fischer, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS). “She is our public face, the person who shepherds students through the program. She knows where our alums are and what they’re doing, and through her, gives them a tight connection to the center. When alums call, they always ask about Norma.”The interview also explored Norma's broader story:
Her official title is administrative assistant, but it should be premier go-to person for the center.
My father was the Guatemalan ambassador to Washington, D.C., so I went to the American School in Guatemala.Read the full interview with Norma here.
Every day when I walk from the parking lot, I rejoice in the beauty of the [Vanderbilt] campus. And I talk to the campus groundskeepers. They’re very nice people.
I’m always busy with my church. It’s very international—we have members from 12 Latin American countries. I’m a consejero (part counselor/part teacher). I help people who want to be baptized. I also teach a Sunday school class for older members and visit new members.
Everyone keeps asking me when I’m going to retire. I keep asking God the same question. In the end, I think it’ll be technology that gets me out of here. Even my grandsons do things on the computer I don’t understand. At Christmas, my son gave me a combination telephone/answering machine. It had 60 pages of instructions. I told him to take it back. When I’m home, I just want a phone I can use by picking it up and saying “Hello?”
Norma's bio on the CLAS Faculty and Staff web page reveals her love of the Center, of Vanderbilt, and her family:
Originally from Guatemala, she worked at the Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá (INCAP) for five years; she married Oscar Pineda who worked at INCAP and together came to Vanderbilt where he pursued a Ph.D. in biochemistry. During this time Norma worked at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Medical School. Went back to Guatemala, and 22 years later she decided to return to Nashville. She applied for a job at Vanderbilt and was hired to work for International Programs, mainly for the Center for Latin American Studies. In that position, she has been able to apply her native Spanish language and her knowledge of Latin American culture. Norma loves working with students, staff and faculty. She enjoys the university environment, its challenges, and the opportunity to participate of many interesting projects, visiting speakers, etc. Norma has been fortunate to work for several directors; they are outstanding scholars but also wonderful human beings that care for people. Norma is very thankful for her three grown children and ten grandchildren who keep her in young spirit.Photo by John Russell for Arts and Science
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Instituto Allegro hosts open house Friday, launches Spanish-language praise and worship classes Saturday at Christ Church
Nicely dovetailing Sunday's article in the Tennessean about the growth of Nashville's Hispanic churches, the Allegro Institute (Instituto Allegro) (Blog / Twitter) will host an open house this Friday showcasing its slate of Spanish-language praise and worship music and multimedia classes, which begin this Saturday in its new location at Christ Church on Old Hickory Blvd.:
Wayne Hilton, international director of Músico a Músico, announced that Allegro Institute, founded in July of 2008 in Nashville by the teaching non-profit, Músico a Músico, also based in Nashville, will relocate to Christ Church, 15354 Old Hickory Blvd., effective January 16.Read the Tennessean article about the growth of Nashville's Hispanic churches here.
An open house will be held this Friday evening, January 15th at 7:00 p.m., where visitors can hear the MaM Band featuring many of the Instituto Allegro instructors, take tours of the new building, have personal conversations with all school instructors, and hear testimonials from students.
During this evening, five visitors will receive a certificate for one month of free weekly lessons.
For nearly two years, the Instituto Allegro music school has given classes all day each Saturday to lots of area Hispanic musicians. “Grateful for the [previous] location of the school but very excited about this new location as this move is being precipitated by growth,” Hilton says. The institute teaches all types of music including theory, voice and instruments like drums and percussion, keyboard, guitar and more with all classes conducted in Spanish.
“Our goal”, Hilton comments, “is to train a large number of church worship musicians & singers to not only serve in their own churches, but to prepare them for potential musical careers without limits. Most of our students are already involved in their churches throughout middle Tennessee and beyond. But, we’re not limited to teaching just a certain type of music. Music is universal and can transcend social, political and religious prejudice. So, we invite others to study on our campus with our main student body of Christian musicians. This is a three year program that we are very serious about.”
Starting Saturday January 16, Allegro Institute will be presenting group & individual lessons at their new location. This is a good move for Allegro because the next phase of our projected curriculum expansion is to create classes for all types of worshiping arts like dance, drama, mime, theater and other visual arts. Hilton sums up, “This new location allows us to be even more creative in our classes and ultimately promote our goal of a creative Christian Community of musicians and artists equipped for service in response to an explosion of growth in the world-wide church”.
For further information contact Allegro director, Rachel Vasquez at 804.7177 regarding student classes or teaching possibilities.
Monday, January 11, 2010
From the people who run the Miss Latina US Pageant:
Organizacion Miss America Latina is pleased to announce that SAINTS OF HAVANA will be featured artists at the 2010 Miss Latina US Pageant on May 29th in Barcelo Punta Cana. [University of Chattanooga senior Lilibeth Leon will represent the Volunteer State as the reigning Miss Tennessee Latina -Ed.]From the band's bio on Facebook:
Saints of Havana is a unique pop country band comprised of Cuban brothers Rey and Cesar Montecristo and American singer Aaron Shea. The merging of these three super talents and cultures has created a new and rich blend of modern country music, full of rhythms and flavors innovative to the genre. While maintaining the rich lyrical content, which is a trademark of any good country song, they have managed to add touches of pop, rock and latin music while remaining true to country’s roots. This blend along with their incredible live energy makes this Nashville-based trio something magical, exhilirating and new. The band is currently in production of their 2010 debut release.
Saints of Havana is a modern pop country band comprised of Cuban brothers, Rey and Cesar Montecristo and American singer Aaron Shea. They met in legendary "Music City" in 2008, and have united their cultures and backgrounds to create a rich style and new blend of country music. They now prepare to infuse their brand and rhythmic sound into this richest of musical genres. Their well balanced mixture of Country, Afro Cuban, Rock, and Pop creates the new sound country music fans have been craving around the world.
Singer Aaron Shea, a veteran of Nashville known for his charismatic stage presence and sultry tenor voice, was born in Michigan where he studied writing, piano, and acting. Aaron starred in the hit rock musical "Summer of "66" for 2 years while making numerous appearances on the Crook and Chase Show. He has shared the stage with many known artists and secured acting roles in the WB's Dawson's Creek and a number of commercials and music videos. Aaron toured South America and the States with his solo projects but now extends his horizons, with excitement, as a founding member and lead singer of Saints of Havana.
Brothers Rey and Cesar Montecristo emigrated from Havana, Cuba, and resided most of their lives in Miami, FL. They are both accomplished singers and instrumentalists, with Cesar concentrating his expertise in the fields of guitar, piano, and programming and Rey in vocals and bass guitar. The brothers have toured extensively in support of their numerous bands and were the only unsigned act to ever tour all the "Hard Rock Cafes" nationwide with their band "Heir". After inking a deal with Sony Latin in their teens, they have now turned their attention to making waves in the American market. As founding members of Saints of Havana, they have set out on their most ambitious project yet.
The band’s name was born of history. In 1519, the town of San Cristobal De La Habana was founded. With the Passing of the years the town grew into the city known today as Habana to the Spanish speakers and as Havana in Dutch, English, and French. In 1592 King Phillip of Spain designated Havana the "Key to the New World" and set out to build fortresses to defend its harbors from pirate attacks and to bless outgoing ships against hurricanes. Three massive forts were built in Havana Harbor, then the most important port in the "New World". The forts were known as Saint Salvador de la Punta Castle, which guarded the west entrance to the bay, Saint Moro Three Kings Castle, which guarded the east entrance, and San Lazaro Castle, which guarded the middle approach. These three forts were each adorned by a huge statue of each saint worked in wood and precious metals, which offered an impressive and majestic view to all who visited the beautiful island and to all who sought its sanctuary. Inspired by this story, of that fabled Harbor City, the Saints of Havana stand, as the three forts have for centuries, ready to make history and to welcome travelers into their world.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Dear New York Times:
Please look at the frequency of your paper's use of the word "illegal" as an adjective to describe individuals in the comparative contexts of (a) immigration law and (b) other laws.
You may find to your chagrin that immigrants are nearly the only group of people you describe as "illegal," and immigration law is the only law the Times reports on this way.
The January 3, 2010 article "Whither the Dream" uses the term "illegal student" in the context of immigration law.
The January 8, 2010 blog post "Italy Puts Swiss Tax Haven Under Siege," however, described a separate category of lawbreaking - tax evasion - without once using the noun or adjective "illegal" to describe the lawbreakers themselves. The author's descriptions of the people who had violated the law were "the rich," "tax evaders," "Italians," and "Italian clients."
The disparity between the January 3 article on immigration law and the January 8 blog post on tax law is not attributable to the difference between your paper's articles and its blog posts. The difference is representative of a broader trend at the Times.
A Google search for the word "illegal" on your pages reveals numbers of people described in headlines as "illegal" if the law at issue is immigration, but the same treatment of anyone else in regard to any other law is rare. And when the Times switches to other words besides "illegal," to describe a person it's seldom in regard to immigration. A search for the word "lawbreaker" on your pages shows approximately 750 occurrences, but only 55 also include the word "immigrant." How often do the words "illegal" and "immigrant" appear in the same story together? 13,600. How many appearances of the words "illegal immigrant"? 4,740.
If the standard for reporting on people who break the law is to predominantly use neutral terms like "the rich," "Italians," and "lawbreakers," then it's questionable to switch to a vocabulary modifying your descriptions of people with a legal adjective - "illegal" - just because the law is immigration.
So please start referring to students as "students" and leave it at that.
For the sake of variety, you may still decide it is appropriate to occasionally throw in a legal description of a person, as was done once with the term "tax evaders" in the tax-related blog post. May I suggest that for immigration law, the adjectives "visaless" and/or "unvisaed" are more specific than "illegal" or even "undocumented" or "unauthorized," because it's the lack of a visa (or immigration-specific authorization) that more specifically describes people without immigration status. If you search for usage of the term "unvisaed" here in the U.S., you won't find it much, but it's a commonly used term in Australia. "Visaless" is an even more common term. Both are reasonable alternatives. If you find these unacceptable, maybe no adjective is useful, and you may find it helpful to focus on describing behavior instead of characterizing people.
At least be consistent between your descriptions of people who are on the wrong side of immigration laws and people who are on the wrong side of tax laws.
Make your voice heard here.
Photo by Thomas Hawk. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Sign-ups and tickets available for Ballet Folklórico de México, Diversity in Dialogue, and free five-week Financial Peace course
Dave Ramsey presents Andrés Gutiérrez: Financial Peace Live in Spanish - Free 5-week series starting January 18Dave Ramsey presenta a Andrés Gutiérrez, "Paz Financiera" En Vivo, Cada Lunes por 5 semanas, Desde el 18 de Enero hasta el 15 de Febrero, De 6:30 a 8:30pm, El seminario es completamente gratis. ¡En este nuevo año aprenda a cómo tener éxito con su dinero! Para más información llame al 1.800.781.8897 o por correo electronico a Jorge.firstname.lastname@example.org Financial Peace Plaza 1749 Mallory Ln. Brentwood, TN 37027
Diversity in Dialogue: January 26 registration deadline“DIVERSITY IN DIALOGUE” DISCUSSION GROUP WINTER SERIES SET The Diversity in Dialogue winter series dates have been set for February and March, Scarritt-Bennett Center announced today. The deadline to register is Jan. 26. A six-week series developed by Scarritt-Bennett Center, Diversity in Dialogue (DID) Circles provide a forum for members of the community to share their feelings, opinions and thoughts on race relations, diversity and immigration in a non-defensive, non-critical environment. DID Circles are led by trained facilitators and each “circle” can accommodate 8 to 12 individuals from diverse backgrounds. The goal is to help participants understand their own and other’s views on racism, diversity and immigration to create long-term change. There will be two Diversity in Dialogue Circles for the winter 2010 series: Dialogues on Racism, and Dialogues on Immigration. WHEN: Dialogues on Racism Mondays: Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22; March 1, 8 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dialogues on Immigration, in collaboration with Tennessee Foreign Language Institute and Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Tuesday, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; March 2, 9 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. WHERE: Scarritt-Bennett Center 1008 19th Ave. South Nashville, TN 37212 WHO: DID Circles are open to individuals in the community at large. Participants must commit to all six sessions, as they are progressive in nature and build upon one another. Registration Information – Deadline is Jan. 26. There is a $25 fee for all six sessions. If needed, financial assistance is available. The deadline to register is Jan. 26. Pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Diana Holland, Dialogue Circle Coordinator, at email@example.com, or visit www.scarrittbennett.org. About Diversity in Dialogue Circles and Scarritt-Bennett Center Diversity in Dialogue is a program of the Scarritt-Bennett Center, an organization with a strong commitment to the eradication of racism and the promotion of cultural awareness. In Middle Tennessee, the program focuses primarily on race relations, diversity, and immigration, but can be used to address a variety of issues such as police and community relations, schools, unemployment, youth and neighborhoods. To date, more than 2,000 people in Nashville have participated in DID, including groups associated with private businesses, government agencies and universities. Learn more at http://www.scarrittbennett.org/programs/divdialogue.aspx
Ballet Folklórico de México February 3Ballet Folklórico de México Special Event Laura Turner Concert Hall Wednesday, February 3, at 7 p.m. Ballet Folklórico de México A treasure in their native land for more than 50 years, this internationally famed ensemble blends music, choreography and colorful costumes in spectacular stage shows that bring alive Mexico’s brilliant array of cultural traditions. Take a journey through the ages as dancers trace the evolution of Mexico’s rich history and capture the essence of this country’s breathtaking beauty.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
America to Oscar, others: we figured out a way to reward your good work and get you integrated, but we still haven't passed it
Scene reports on the status of the DREAM ActThe Nashville Scene recently reported on "Oscar," a Nashville high school student with the kind of immigration problem that can get him deported, and the DREAM Act, the kind of legislation that can fully integrate him into American society.
I recently met Oscar at a conference, and his leadership in one of the sessions impressed me. I found out afterwards about his immigration problem. It crushed me. The same thing had happened to me over and over again when my family and I attended the Primera Iglesia Bautista on Murfreesboro Road, when people I knew for months would come up to me about their own immigration problems once word got to them that I was a lawyer.
The sad reality was (and is) that there are few immigration problems that can be fixed. It's a dead end, for the most part.
Dedicated youth like Oscar who have no individual culpability for the fact that they don't have a visa deserve at least one chance to earn legal status. Many already demonstrate personal responsibility in the circumstances they can control, like their studies, and as in Oscar's case, in extracurricular activities as well, where leadership skills flourish. The DREAM Act would verify that these students have kept their noses clean and done everything that's been expected of them through the end of high school, and grant them legal status. It would no longer be a dead end.
Instead of wasting the beneficial America-child relationship that has been developing throughout their young lives, we should be realizing that these young immigrants are already assets - already "us" - and make sure our laws see them that way.
The DREAM Act is a wonderful start. The Scene story has more details about the law and about students like Oscar. Aunt B. also has an August post entitled "Kids Who Need the Dream Act," among others.
Getting the DREAM Act passedU.S. Rep. Jim Cooper told the Scene that a lot more work is needed to make the DREAM Act a reality:
"Right now the DREAM Act is a dream," he tells the Scene flatly. "And to turn that into reality is going to take a whole lot more work than anybody has put in so far."Well, at least one form of work to make the DREAM Act a reality is to contact our represented officials. Contact your U.S. representative at writerep.house.gov, and contact your U.S. senators at alexander.senate.gov and corker.senate.gov. (Remind Alexander and Corker that Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Republican Senator Richard Lugar have been sponsors.)
Cooper adds that even if the DREAM Act passed in Congress, the Tennessee legislature would have to green-light portions of the legislation, mainly the question of whether to allow in-state tuition to undocumented students.
In the House, Representative Steve Cohen is already a sponsor.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Concerned parents prompt eventAn announcement from Rubén E. De Peña, Family & School Liaison of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools:
As you probably know, gang activity among our Latino youth is a prevalent and concerning issue at various schools in our district. According to Mr. Tony Majors (Glencliff High School Principal), parents would particularly like to hear how their sons and daughters are becoming involved in gangs and what they go through to be initiated. Many Latino parents have expressed a desire to learn more about the warning signs of gang activity and how they can help.
Because of this, a planning committee comprised of both local Latino leaders and Glencliff HS & the district has been meeting for several weeks to share different ideas to organize a gang-awareness event for our Latino families. We have selected this coming Saturday, January 9th, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., for this conference. It will take place in the auditorium of Glencliff High School, 160 Antioch Pike, Nashville, 37211.
While no parent will be turned away, the emphasis will be for Latino parents of middle and high school children in the Glencliff, Antioch, Cane Ridge, Overton, and McGavock clusters. This event is FREE of charge.
The guest speakers for this conference will include:
In addition to a great conference, various sponsors will provide FREE food, indoor entertainment for kids over 3 years old (a “Kids Zone”, in lieu of “childcare,” as stated on the flyer), and drawings (a laptop computer is included among the prizes, thanks to a community contributor!!!).
- Tony Majors, GHS Executive Principal
- Representatives from the MNPD El Protector and the Gang Unit.
- Pastor Tommy Vallejos, H.O.P.E. (Keynote speaker)
We are looking forward to having a candid conversation with parents and community leaders on this issue, hoping that it can eventually be gradually curbed or eradicated altogether. We hope you can join us and/or help us spread the word for this event.
Rubén E. De Peña
Family & School Liaison
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Office 333-5070 Ext. 307
Monday, January 4, 2010
Tennessean cover story describes thousands on the wrong side of the law, but none are called "illegal"
Journalists, politicians, and anyone interested in politics, take note.
On Sunday, Chas Sisk's top-of-the-fold Tennessean cover story on business tax amnesty demonstrated how to describe unlawful behavior without using the noun or adjective "illegal" to describe the lawbreaker.
The word choices to describe the people who had violated the law were simple: "businesses," "companies," "people," "businesspeople," and "owners."
Only two terms in the article turned the lawless behavior into a noun or adjective that described the offender: "scofflaws" and "noncompliant businesses." These terms were used half as frequently as the generic terms such as "businesses" and "people." The term "illegal" doesn't appear once.
If the standard for Americans who break the law is to predominantly use terms like "businesses" and "people," then it's slanted to commonly describe foreigners who break the law as "illegal" or "undocumented," and picking one word over the other can't make the descriptions any more accurate or any less unequal.
As I said last month, how we handle our words when we describe foreigners is a moral issue. If we tend to avoid certain words (like "illegal") when we describe an American who breaks the law, we mustn't favor that vocabulary when it's a foreigner who breaks the law. Being even-handed in our criticism of Americans and foreigners is about being morally, not politically, correct.
For a run-down of the Tennessean article's exact word choice, see here.
See also: Elizabeth Wright is pro-amnesty and Even tax collectors want to make compliance easy.