The ‘I-Word’ Is Un-American

Sally Kohn, CNN, July 4, 2014

During the civil rights era, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was asked by a supporter why he was fixated on the politics of race. Wallace replied, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*ggers, and they stomped the floor.”


Today, opponents of immigration reform attack undocumented immigrants as “illegal immigrants.” Even worse, like anti-immigration extremists, some prominent elected officials use the term “illegals.” Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, said, “I urge all Mainers to tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals.”

Not the same thing? Of course it is.

Once upon a time, the n-word and f-word were utterly acceptable terminology in undermining not only the basic rights but basic humanity of black people and gay people. That those terms seem radically inappropriate and out of step with mainstream culture now is only because social movements and legal and political changes have shifted the landscape. But make no mistake about it, words matter, not only in reflecting certain dehumanizing attitudes toward historically marginalized groups but in actively perpetuating and rationalizing that dehumanization.


Is it not possible to oppose immigrant rights without resorting to attacking immigrants as human beings? The intensity of the anti-immigrant rhetoric is stunning. Even if you don’t support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, can’t you find some compassion for them as human beings who live on the same planet?

After all, whether you think our immigration laws are properly functioning or not, the forces of economic hardship and violence that push people to leave their home countries and the promise of a better future in America that pulls people here are the same forces that pushed and pulled on many of our ancestors.


The organization Race Forward has a campaign to get media organizations to “Drop The I-Word” in their reporting about immigration. So far, the campaign has succeeded in getting the Associated Press, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and many other outlets to stop using the word. But the pressure continues on The New York Times, The Washington Post and radio and television outlets. And the campaign around media usage is just one step toward influencing and ultimately ending the use of the word “illegal” by everyone in America.


As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”


Today, most people find the n-word and the f-word incredibly offensive. Let’s hope that most if not all people will feel the same way about the words “illegals” and “illegal immigrants” in the not too distant future.

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  • MekongDelta69

    For those who may not know, Sally Kohn from CNN is a far-Leftist… Oops… I mean, far-L-word.

    (I hope you didn’t get your panties in a bunch there Sally.)

    • Long Live Dixie

      She’s both types of ‘L-word’ –

      Kohn met her partner, Sarah Hansen, at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2003. Hansen works as an activist and consultant. Hansen was the Executive Director of the Environmental Grantmakers Association from 1998 to 2005. They have a 3 year-old daughter, Willa Hansen-Kohn and live in Brooklyn, New York.


      • Filth like her should never be allowed within 200 feet of a child. My lesbian dean adopted two girls (illegal at the time and still illegal in Texas), whom she then molested according to her “partner.” These vile lesbians love to associate sexual pleasure with a female’s touch in little girls. Of course, some adopt boys in order to turn them into trannies.

        • Alexandra1973

          I understand lesbians have their own version of NAMBLA called Butterfly Kisses or something like that.

          • Kenner

            More like Preying Mantids.

          • bilderbuster

            That sounds extremely creepy.

          • To a lot of lesbians, that sort of thing is only bad when men do it, because, well… men are bad, or something like that. Except when we’re opening stuck jars or fixing vehicles or moving something heavy. We’re probably still bad then, but useful. I was exposed to a lot of the lesbian-left culture as an undergrad in Santa Cruz, so I am familiar with it. One of them told me that noodles are naturally colored green, but white males bleach them to remove all the nutrients. You can’t make this stuff up.

          • r j p

            The key to opening jars is to hit them on the base with the base of your palm – it pops the vacuum by throwing the weight of the contents against the lid.

            Homosexuality is a psychiatric disorder.

          • I have no trick like that, but even my mother says my hands look like those of a serial-killer. I just twist, and the lid comes off.

          • bilderbuster

            I know because I heard the noodles nonsense when I was a pre-teen, but even wet behind the ears little bilderbuster wasn’t gullible enough to fall for that one.I forget who tried to sell me that one but it was likely a 1970’s version of Slimy Sally Kohn.

      • Michael Whalen

        Dixie: You have just used two of my favorite liberal buzzwords. “Partner”- that’s gay-speak for last nights bed buddy. “Activist”- an unemployed, unemployable window breaker.

        • I don’t hate gays. My mother’s neighbor died of cancer, and the gay son came back to help his mother. That’s a good fellow. It’s unfortunate that he’s gay, but I can’t hate a man who helps his mother.

    • propagandaoftruth

      The day I let Sally Kohn tell me how to speak…


    • Oil Can Harry

      In Sally Kohn’s homeland of Israel they use an even cooler “I” word : Infiltrators.

      And yet Strap-On Sally and the rest of the leftwing media aren’t accusing the Israelis of racism. Gee, I wonder why…

      • Kenner

        ‘Strap-On-Sally’!! –Paging Wilson Pickett!

        • propagandaoftruth

          Peggy Sue…wukka wukka…

  • Long Live Dixie

    From Wikipedia:

    Sally Rebecca Kohn was born on March 27, 1977 in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Donald Kohn, an engineer, and Melinda Kohn, a computer programmer.[4] Kohn’s mother introduced her to volunteering and community organizing at age 12, when they began volunteering together at a local domestic violence shelter. Kohn was raised Jewish.


    • TruthBeTold

      I didn’t have to look her up. I know her type and I know what she’s trying to do.

    • Sick of it

      Thanks. You saved me a few minutes.

  • Puggg

    If you quit saying something is illegal, and browbeat people into not saying it, and not thinking it, then presto, you have your amnesty without having to vote on one bill.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    I object to the term “illegal” because I don’t care what their immigration status is. I don’t consider any Hispanics to be American, legalized or not.

    • Pro_Whitey

      That used to be the law. The Naturalization Act of 1790 provided that only free white persons could become naturalized citizens of the U.S. That rule was not fully repealed (not that it should have been) until 1954.

      • PvtCharlieSlate

        In the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution are the words “… for us and our posterity …”. That means the direct descendants of “We the people” at the time that the Constitution was adopted.

        What amendment nullifies this?

        • UncleSham

          The 14th

          • bilderbuster

            The South was occupied territory and had no legitimate government when that was passed.

          • UncleSham

            Yep, but the state enforces it anyway. Just one of the more than a thousand reasons I consider our federal government to be nothing more than a criminal enterprise.

          • The Confederacy was defeated, so surely the legal governments there passed to the individual states.

          • bilderbuster

            Surely you jest?
            During “Reconstruction” only White carpetbaggers, scalawags and recently freed Negroes could vote or hold office in the former Confederacy.
            As women didn’t have the right to vote and all White males who had served the Confederacy (literally every able bodied White male at that time) weren’t allowed to vote, no honest person could claim that those state legislatures in any way possibly represented the interests of the people living there.

    • Long Live Dixie

      I agree that it makes no difference whether they are legal or not. The legal ones are legal only because of the immigration law of 1965. I’m tired of hearing people say: “I’m not anti-immigration. I’m anti-illegal immigration.” The end result is the same.

      • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

        The legal ones are legal only because of the immigration law of 1965.
        Or worse, the 1986 amnesty.

        • ElComadreja

          Everyone tends to overlook that (among many other things) when heaping praise on Reagan.

          • bilderbuster

            Don’t forget Stalin’s “General of the West” Eisenhower who integrated the schools against the will of the American people Soviet style at the point of a bayonet.

    • ElComadreja

      They don’t consider themselves Americans. Blacks are the same with very few exceptions.

      • bilderbuster

        What a coincidence because I don’t consider them Americans either.

    • Ringo Lennon

      Only white people are American in my eyes.

  • Kenner

    Sally is the ‘L’ word.

    • Michael Whalen

      When you say ‘L’ word, I’m guessing that you do not mean ‘Liberal’.

      • Kenner

        Leftist Lesbian Levite, or simply, ‘yada, yada, yada’.

  • Truthseeker

    I’m offended by the term “illegal immigrant” too. It implies that these people are immigrating, when really they’re just squatting.

    I propose a new I-word: Invaders. It’s the one I use.

    • Pro_Whitey

      The Israelis use a word that translates to “infiltrators” in English. I like that, too.

      • PvtCharlieSlate

        Lately it’s more like “inundaters”.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Calling a nonwhite an “immigrant” is deeply offensive to any racially conscious white American. The word invader should be used to describe all third world foreigners who invaded the US after passage of the 1965 immigration and naturalization act. The historic American electorate was never asked whether they wanted to be culturally enriched with diversity. Their presence here is an insult to the American nation.

      • ElComadreja

        They have destroyed my city. I hate them with a passion.

    • bilderbuster

      Something I saw posted the other day:
      Someone who sneaks into our country is no more an immigrant than someone who breaks into our home is a member of the family.

  • ZB01

    Well, if we use inductive reasoning and draw that analogy to its logical conclusions, since among many ghetto Blacks the “n” word is used all of the time, then Illegals must use that word amongst themselves; and there’s probably a basis for why they would do so, right?

  • Ringo Lennon

    Read comment section in original article. There’s hope.

  • TruthBeTold

    Sally Kohn seems to telling us how to think and what words to use.

    I think I’ll just ignore the opinions of Sally Kohn.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    This is Orwellian Newspeak in action. The members of the global oligarchy want to scrub the English language clean of words it regards as derogatory toward third world immigrants. By limiting the field of discourse, it unobtrusively places restrictions on freedom of expression without having to enact legislation. This reduces “nativist” opposition to the elitist policy of genocidal massive third world immigration and allows the global oligarchy to remake the world in its own image, as a single global culture of consumers and producers whose sole worth is evaluated in economic terms.

    • Pro_Whitey

      Let’s make “nativist” the new n-word!

    • Grantland

      It’s worse than that. Awakened Whitey stands in the way, and these creatures are murderers.

  • Boo Ray

    If our government and the Democrats don’t like the word illegal maybe they like the word invader better.

  • Marc Zuckurburg

    Say it, sister! No human being is illegal.

    That reminds me, I better call tomorrow to have my house’s security system and perimeter defenses beefed up. One of my security guards told me some joker trying to burglar my house was almost able to jump over the fences last night.

  • Pro_Whitey

    So, Mr. Taylor, now that the left has proven itself insatiable in demanding things be unmentionable, can we go back to using ni66er and f-gg-t?

    • ElComadreja

      I never stopped.

  • I got whacked by the university 15 years ago for using the word illegal in class while discussing the economics of immigration. The university in San Antonio is mostly Mexican and that hurt someone’s feelings, so they wanted to fire me, which they eventually did, but for different reasons, allegedly.
    Soon, people who tweet or blog “illegal” will be fired routinely just like those who use the word jigger in their tweets. In fact, even discussing reasons for opposing immigration will lead to mass firings of whites, unless we stop this nonsense right now.

  • David Ashton

    “Un-documented” is really “Un-American”.

  • Black Plague

    Sure hope libby Sally doesn’t accidentally get caught in the middle of a black flash mob.

    • Alexandra1973

      She’d probably be like that woman in Haiti and blame it on the white patriarchy.

    • ElComadreja

      She’d find a way to blame white men with her last dying words.

  • Luca

    If “illegals” is offensive would “sneaky, trespassing, third-world invaders” be okay? It seems appropriate. I’m just asking because I can’t keep up with all the new liberal buzzwords and ever changing definitions.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      No! Only “undocumented refugee children” is acceptable. —Liberals

      On a more serious note, I do forsee “undocumented immigrant” and “undocumented worker” being dropped by the left in the future for two reasons:

      1. “Refugee” is a much more powerful word, and I believe there will be a push to call all illegals “refugees” pretty soon. It conjures up images of starving Africans, rather than conjuring images of obese Hispanics, so it causes more white guilt.

      2. “Undocumented (insert anything here)” has the same root problem (to liberals) as “illegal (insert anything)” in that it differentiates between legally and illegally resident people in the U.S. They don’t want any possible differentiation in the public’s mind. They want us to consider anyone physically present in the U.S. to be an American.

    • awb

      “”USMC We were instructed to not use M***er F****r. Someone behind said “Can we use Maw dikker”?? END of instruction!

    • You’re not supposed to be able to keep up. That’s entirely their point.

  • Bossman

    Humans commit illegal acts but no human is illegal. The word itself is an adjective that is now used as a noun by many.

    • M.

      Okay, so they are people who commit illegal entering in a foreign soil. Regardless of how you put it, they should be deported anyway.

      • ElComadreja

        Human is the key word. A lot of these don’t really fit the description.

  • Alexandra1973

    How long before Communist News Network shuts down comments?

    I, of course, had to throw in my bit.

    • Dave West

      I got kicked off Salon, that’s why I came here and I had only commented for one day, I made completely fact based arguments with links and everything. This was too much for the whiny, childlike, marxists!

      People left comments pleading for the moderators to block my comments. I looked three days later and sure enough my comments were taken down.

      Of course the ones who wanted me to leave did a great job of debunking my arguments and did not call me any names at all, no wait, just kidding!

      • Alexandra1973

        You invaded their comfort zone.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      It won’t be long. They already don’t allow comments on all articles. It isn’t a big step from there to just not allowing them period.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Illegal vermin Illegal vermin Illegal criminals Illegal criminals Illegal takers Illegal takers….There, I said it!

    WTF is Sally Kohn going to do about it…..not a damned thing!!

    • Sick of it

      Her tribe will push until such speech becomes illegal.

  • If “illegal” is un-American does this mean my gun rights are restored?

    I didn’t think so, either.

  • Michael Whalen

    Ms. Kohn looks a little like Rachel Maddow.

    • Kenner

      They could be brothers.

  • Nonhumans

    We call them what they are, and whatever stigma it carries is well-deserved. I wish that there was a word that was worse for them. They leech our resources and disregard, wholly, the sovereignty of our nation, sadly with the blessings of our treasonous government.
    This libtarded word-police officer needs to match the term with the action and status. It’s very fitting. I’ll recognize them as human, but only because it forces them to accept the title and take the responsibility for breaking our laws.
    Didn’t the word-police fail at trying to outlaw the term illegal late last year?

    • PvtCharlieSlate

      A word that is worse … how about … “feral parasites”?
      Or to be nasty about it … “parasititos”?
      Or really nasty … “frijoleros parasititos”?
      (I learned my Spanish from graffiti in the NYC subways)

      • I call them “Greaseritos”. One of the advantages of having gone insane is that I get to invent my own words.

        • PvtCharlieSlate

          That reminds me of the scene in “All Quiet on the Western Front” where Paul and Albert have been wounded and are in a hospital together. The soldier in the next bed tells them that he has been knocked in the head and the doctors say he isn’t responsible for his actions. He can get away with anything and stay in the hospital as long as it suits him.

          • When I was wounded, I refused to go and stayed with my unit and kept fighting. I didn’t want to let my friends down. When we later got out of the encirclement, they helped me, so they didn’t let me down, either.

            The saddest part of AQotWF is when Paul carries the sergeant on his back to the hospital and was only then told the guy was dead.

            I was once asked, in miserable shape, whether I could get up. I was afraid they would leave me, so I got up and took point. I hoped I would make it, but I didn’t think my chances were very good.

  • antiquesunlight

    This is just plain stupid.

    But this is how liberals work. They recruit people by appealing to self-righteousness, shame the opposition into silence, and make it taboo to use language that accurately describes reality. You can’t disagree with a liberal without being evil right off the bat.

  • Caucasoid88

    Kohn. That’s a nice name.

    • nordmann

      Her name is missing an E between the H and the N.

  • IstvanIN

    The N and F words are clearly pejoratives and are no way comparable to illegal alien. Wetback or WOP would be more comparable to N and F. Illegal alien is simply a description what of these people are: non-natives (aliens) with no legal right (illegal) to be in the US, unlike a citizen, legal permanent alien or visa holder.

  • Kick out the illeggers.

  • IKUredux

    Holy Cow! Hey Sues, Jose and Maria! OK, I am now done swearing in Spainish. If words matter, like nagger and faggot, and contribute to “dehumanizing attitudes”, why the hell than do Blacks still call themselves naggers and gays refer to themselves as faggots? And, you know what?Hey ! They are only words! Hey Sally Kohn, if you were an actual American, you would have learned the following on the playground: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Geeze, I don’t want to come across all Viking and shiite, but, seriously, feel free to hashtag me to death. Meanwhile, I’ll use a gun.

  • Brady

    N—– is a vulgar word, to be sure, but I don’t see how you can deny that it’s as American as apple pie and a baseball.

    • We could always call them “Drooling Bongonian Rape-Apes”, after which they would be begging for the N-word. Ethnic slurs do not bother me, since as I am mainly Celtic, I have been called almost everything else in the book.

      • Grantland

        How about the dirty, evil Jew. Feces-eaters.

        • I have known only a few Jews in my life. One of my friends growing up was Ben Moment, and he only ever wanted to be an army helicopter pilot, which he eventually became. In college, Alex Rosenberg was hilarious, and when the dining hall served bagels with cream cheese on weekends, he always brought smoked salmon – lox. He also always shared. I always brought a newspaper, and gave it to him. I dated a Jewish gal named Sylvia for a while. A bit taller than I normally like, but with a sweet disposition. My old gun show partner, Richard was a retired Jewish CIA agent. He was scrupulously honest, and completely trusted me as well.

          They’re not all Bernie Madoff.

          Exactly 100% of the people who have betrayed me in life were Catholics. I don’t hate them all, though.

          On a recent Sunday, my wife and I were doing garden work – yes, work on a Sunday – and obviously were not dressed up for church. The Mormon neighbor said “What are you, some sort of atheist?” I don’t hate Mormons, either. Another college friend was Greg Woodhouse, and he was a Mormon. He was shunned in his faith because he liked drinking coffee and dancing with ladies, which Mormons aren’t supposed to do. He was such a nice guy that it seemed sad to me.

          My only religious hate is for Islam, because they desire the conquest and destruction of the developed West.

          • Grantland

            You’re not very good at pattern-recognition, are you, Scott?

    • Ringo Lennon

      It’s only a word, just like black or Negro.

  • scutum

    Sally Kohn, lesbian, communist, tribal member.

  • Grantland

    Oy Sally, ve break your evil spell. Chazzaahh!!

  • Ringo Lennon

    Great country until 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. No good reason we should have allowed any non white into the country. Should repeal 1965 act.

  • LHathaway

    Fine words, but in my experience these same sensitive ones will use the word ‘redneck’, a racial slur, in order to prove to everyone else how enlightened they are.