New York Times Badly Misses the Mark on the "I-word"

On April 23, a number of major national organizations in support of the Applied Research Center’s Drop the I-Word public education campaign together delivered a petition with more than 70,000 signatures to The New York Times calling on the newspaper to stop describing people as "illegal.”

Unfortunately, shortly after the petition delivery, the newspaper announced it would not ban use of the word to describe people but would instead ask reporters to consider alternatives.The New York Times badly missed the mark with its decision and failed to show leadership, which is what we expect from the nation's newspaper of record.

GLAAD joins core supporters of the Drop the I-Word campaign, including Define American,,, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and

"The word 'Illegal' is absolutely considered a slur by Latinos and all immigrants. And no slur should ever be used to describe people, let alone by an objective media," said Dave Montez, GLAAD Chief of Staff. "As a media advocacy organization, GLAAD understands that media has the power to either inflame or help diminish prejudice toward any group. We hope other media outlets decide to take a principled stand, because no human being is "illegal,'" Montez said.

Since the Drop the I-Word campaign launched in September of 2010, undocumented people, their allies and a diverse group of supporters including linguists, and the legal community have called on all media organizations to drop the legally inaccurate and dehumanizing term. The Associated Press recently announced it would stop using the word, as did USA Today.