Posted in: Politics

‘Illegal Immigrant’ Is The Same As The N-Word, Notes Liberal Columnist Sally Kohn

Illegal Immigrants Is A Term As Objectionable As The N-Word

Saying “illegal immigrants” to describe immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally is a putdown on par with the n-word, according to progressive CNN columnist Sally Kohn.

In fact, she calls it “the i-word.”

In a recent op-ed for the news site, Kohn makes her case that calling someone by that moniker, or the even worse “illegals,” is the same thing.

From her column:

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.’

In the 1980s, during the rise of the gay rights movement, North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms accused a political opponent for supporting ‘f*ggots, perverts [and] sexual deviates of this nation.’

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.”

Kohn notes how the n-word and the 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,” she adds. “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.”

Later in the piece, she asks if it’s possible to oppose immigrant rights “without resorting to attacking immigrants as human beings?”

“The intensity of the anti-immigrant rhetoric is stunning,” she says. “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?”

Of course, opponents to Kohn’s idea that the i-word, or “illegal immigrants,” or “illegals” are the same things as the n-word, will point out that African-Americans were not breaking any laws when they were being verbally and physically attacked.

Furthermore, the n-word was a hateful attempt at dehumanizing a group of people, wherein, for many, “illegal immigrants” is another way of saying a group is doing something illegally. Not inaccurate, opponents note, and it could even be an insult to immigrants who came to this country and obeyed all laws regarding the pathway to citizenship.

Currently, the U.S. allows and even encourages immigration under certain rules and regulations. It does not, however, endorse shirking those laws.

Do you think Kohn is correct in equating “illegal immigrants” to the n-word? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

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115 Responses to “‘Illegal Immigrant’ Is The Same As The N-Word, Notes Liberal Columnist Sally Kohn”

  1. Anonymous

    People who come to this country are immigrants. If they skirted the law, they did it illegally. Therefore, in my opinion, they are illegal immigrants. I guess she wants us to go back to calling them illegal aliens? That's much worse in my opinion

  2. Michael Meadows

    I agree drewlow68 , Her whole argument is ridiculous. there is nothing derogatory about stating a fact describing their legal status. The problem seems to be that people want to lump illegal immigrants in with other legal immigrants and when you say anything against illegal immigration you are labeled as anti-immigrant. What people are against is the illegality. We are a country of laws. If the laws are not enforced then what is the point of having them. Enforce the Law. So Sorry it makes the criminals who break it feel bad.

  3. Martha Lugo

    Agreed. It's about the connotation that's filled with hate. Many undocumented pick the fields and carry our many jobs Americans won't do. Some athletes, soldiers in combat, etc. came here and nobody complains when they do things to make the country shine. Nobody stops to ask for their legal status then.

  4. Tara Ziehl Patenaude

    This broad is an idiot. N*gro and its deriveratives are derogatory terms. Illegal immigrant is a legal term. My family that came from Germany and Sweden, and Ireland, were all immigrants, but they followed the law and becamse citizens.

  5. Susan Vorbeck

    This is total bull. Nigger and Faggot are words used for no other reason than to demean or inflict pain on an entire class of people. Illegal Immigrant is an actual description by definition! Comparing these names is not only ridiculous but it's insulting to all blacks and homosexuals. It implies these classes of people somehow earned these names and that their struggles against prejudice are somehow not as noteworthy.

  6. Sarah Ryan

    The n – word is a demeaning word for a certain color, illegal immigrant is just that, ILLEGAL! It's not putting anyone down, it's stating a FACT and illegal is also stating a variety of people of color & gender just not 1 classification.

  7. Steve Yip Vorbeck

    Exactly right, Ms. Susan, and thank you for saying so. It trivializes the REAL intent of pejorative words used demean entire groups of people.

  8. Shannon White

    i dont think thier any whee near the same the original meaning of the N word is ignorant that the definition its used to describe a race of people to hom it may or may not apply the words illegal immigrant mean just that a person who has come to this country and immigrant and a description of how it was done illegally their not the same

  9. Patty Mendoza

    It is a shame how cold and ignorants are all these people's comments. This tendency to dishumanize certain sector or races. Short short memory and understanding: America wasn't white nor will ever be. The english came ILLEGALLY killed most of the natives. And now have the cold blood to call "illegals". They are UNDOCUMENTED not illegals.

  10. Carolyn Ann Bryington

    The native American thought the same thing but that didn't stop them from coming in groves.

  11. Carolyn Ann Bryington

    My point exactly. I wasnt sure I agreed with Sally until I read the hate on most of the replies. Just sick.

  12. Carolyn Ann Bryington

    Kind of like Hannity and all the other idiots on Fox news

  13. Dave Tucker

    No, she is 100% wrong. These are people doing something illegal, they know it and they choose to do it. We call someone who breaks the law and shot up a store a gunman, we call someone who speeds a speeder. Saying Illegal Immigrant is exactly what they are. And, they have the power to change it. By becoming legal. This woman is an idiot, or can't we use that word any more?

  14. Michael Walton

    This is stupid… Very stupid. I'm tired of Americans turning every thing they see or hear into a "social dilemmas". We have much larger problems to worry about and this might be toward the top of one the dumbest articles ever written. We need to learn how to co-exist and accept difference. Otherwise this country crumbles. Get your priorities straight, America

  15. Anonymous

    Is she for real ? The "N" word can also mean nutcase.

  16. Anonymous

    Carolyn Ann Bryington, please get back on the meds. You Libtard.

  17. Mary Robinson

    she is crazy.illegal shows there status,immigrant shows what they think they are.she needs to use her dictionary.

  18. Bruce Whittecar

    She supports illegals, then she needs to move a few hundred in her house and support them with her income, the fool!

  19. Jose Rodriguez

    People just need to quit,it. Ain't no such thing as an illegal immigrant. The use of that term is just meant
    to confuse the public when the topic of conversation is immigration. Foreign Nationals illegally within our
    borders are nothing less than illegal aliens. Don't understand why people are afraid to call illegal aliens what they are. The POTUS talks about America being a Nation Of Immigrants, perhaps someone failed to remind him these were legal immigrants but we have also always been a Nation of Laws that our own elected leadership has failed to enforce. All the talk about pathway and immigration reform aka amnesty
    is only encouraging the foreign nationals to come to America illegally. And instead of clarifying the message that there will be no free pass, all we see is the feds shuffling the illegal aliens which have been found to be carrying disease around the country and releasing them in hopes they will attend their
    scheduled hearing with immigration at a later date.

  20. Brian Campbell

    Are you freaking serious?"" ILLEGAL MEANS NOT LEGAL! How the heck did you get the N Word from that? Immigrant is in reference of someone seeking to reside in the US from another country, in this case they does this by means that is not legal.It is people like you that is making it difficult for Americans to talk with one another by twisting the meaning everyday words into something that is insulting and contraversial, when that is far from one's intent.

  21. James Staton

    As a person who has done prison time for breaking the law, it is a slap in the face to see so many lawbreakers not only get away with breaking the law, but being rewarded and receiving a pat on the back. Laws are made for a reason.

  22. Glanda Widger

    . Illegals are just that and no amount of whitewashing will make it different.If they fought for our country then naturalize them. If they are living off welfare and commiting crimes send them back. They broke the laws sneaking in they are criminals and deserve to be called as such. Maybe if they were not taking all the jobs Americans would be happy to have them.

  23. Ralph Obstreperous

    She is absolutely NUTS. When you enter a country in violation of its laws you are committing an illegal act. Therefore, you are clearly an illegal immigrant/alien in contrast to a legal immigrant/alien. We use words to describe people and things. If the descriptor is accurate, its use should be of no consequence. The accuracy of the description trumps the childish manufacture of hurt feelings.

  24. Brian Campbell

    It is time for liberals to retire the use of racism any time someone or a group has a difference in opinion. You may start with actual reseached, cited, and proven facts to back up your statement before using the race card. It is people like you that keep stirring the pot in attempts to open up old wounds. Get over it and move on. If you think the US is making it difficult to become citizens here or to work here, try looking up other countries in the EU, try Italy for starters. Look all around you. There are numerous mixed relationshios,marriages, and families in the US, how is that racist? The problem needing addressed is how can we safely and financially care for illegal immigrants that does not place futher job loss and financial burden on the American Taxpayers.

  25. Keaton X Shaw

    You can not compare the two. Your choosing to come here, is not the same as being stolen and forced here. Then have to fight for the rights as a human being. Because your looked at as 2/3 of a human. Less than animals.

  26. Carol Demann

    This lady is such a Flippen Idiot another Liberal trying to make Illegal Not Politically Correct

  27. Frank Fletcher

    She's freaking nuts…as are most libtards. So, calling anything illegal anymore is bad, eh? If someone kills someone is it bad to use the "M" word?

  28. Frank Fletcher

    Well, she is a libtard. No need to say more.

  29. Frank Fletcher

    Obama will probably make her the chief immigration officer.

  30. Anonymous

    immigrant is a proper word, so i guess the illegal part is like the N-word
    better not say anything is illegal when your the victim of a CRIME, cause it's politically incorrect

  31. Anonymous

    Wow, what a idiot. They fit every description of illegal. No one is attacking legal immigration. Its these spin people, politicians and the illegals that are the problem. She should be promoted to the cartoon section of this publication.

  32. Anonymous

    In part it is simply like calling something a right. It frames the discussion. But illegal, immigration violator is simply a necessary part of defining the group we are talking about. Barbra Jordan and others thought there was/is excessive immigration for the good of workers. But the group that are here in violation of laws are clearly different than are people that came here following our laws.

  33. Anonymous

    Hm I take it you would prefer to call the dealers of illegal drugs entrepreneurs.

  34. Pasquale Cosenza

    This lady is an idiot. Illegal describes an act in violation of the law. Immigrant describes a person entering a country other than their own. Illegal immigrant describes an invader.
    Maybe we should start describing bank robbers as persons making an undocumented withdrawal, or rapists as persons making an unauthorized insertion.

  35. David Grubar

    Illegal, or unlawful, is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by law.

    Alien (law), a non-citizen inhabitant of a country

  36. David Grubar

    Illegal, or unlawful, is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by law.

    Alien (law), a non-citizen inhabitant of a country

  37. Deb Smith

    an illegal is an illegal is an illegal…..they don't like it then go the f home….we don't want you here..get out

  38. Anonymous

    typical of the idiot extreme left. this person is a complete nitwit

  39. Tara Ziehl Patenaude

    David Grubar alien sounds like they are from another planet lol! Her argument is just ludicrous in general. Shes just trying to get her name in the news. I think alien or immigrant both are accurate terms to describe people who come into this country from another country, and when they dont do it the legal way, they are here illegally. Isnt there more important things to worry about than a term some think is derogatory. Hell, I think their very presence is derogatory.

  40. Josh Fulmer

    its liberal dictards like this that are ruining this country…..ohhh don't say that it hurts my feelings, oh don't think like that it offends me. she is the perfect definition of c.u.n.t (Cant Understand Normal Thinking)

  41. Alice Fox

    No! I do not think Kohn is correct in equating “illegal immigrants” to the n-word. Sally Kohn is a liberal columnist who deserves to be regarded as a traitor to the USA. Illegal alien is the legal term for people who enter my country to establish permanent residency without following the application procedures in place and paying fees to our government. Wake up silly Sally — they are USA border outlaws. BORDER OUTLAWS!!!

  42. Anonymous

    now WetBack might be closer but not illegal immigrant

  43. Anonymous

    "Beaner" is like the "N" word but illegal immigrant merely states a fact.

  44. Steve Krispinsky

    So if someone worked for this MS Natzi like woman and said illegal immigrant – she would belittle them, harrass them or even fire them for saying or thinking something she thought was politically incorrect – so she is a thought policewoman who would destroy anyone who who does not think or act like her – good thing the US has the 2nd Amendment or the Natzi's would take over

  45. Alice Fox

    Martha, a scofflaw by any other name is still a scofflaw. Pick up a dictionary and read it.

  46. Anonymous

    Ridiculous! This woman either forgot to take her meds or she's the biggest fool.

  47. Gary Jones

    ALIEN is a word used in every country in the world. If you go to another country legally one must pass through immigrations. Illegal is the term used by every country when a law is broken. MORON IS THE TERM USED WHEN AN IMBECILE, IGNORAMUS, IDIOT OR ANY OTHER BRAINLESS WONDER SAYS ILLEGAL ALIEN IS A PUT DOWN IS RIDICULOUS. THIS WOMAN IS A MORON. A SNAKE IS A SNAKE> AN ILLEGAL ALIEN IS JUST WHAT THE TERM SAYS. SHE IS A MORON.

  48. Recon Man

    It's hard to get a handle on people such as Ms. Kohn. She established herself as a gay activist many moons ago and no longer pretends to be a journalist. She is an activist plain and simple. She uses her potion to demonize those who do not agree with her. She is now what they Call the Gay Mafia. Using her articles as a weapon to move her agenda forward.

  49. Anonymous

    Probably no chance of that. She's an avowed Lesbian. And good at propaganda and a biased agenda.

  50. Rocky Vnvmc

    Her term; 'Illegal Immigrants' is a misnomer. The proper terminology is 'Illegal Aliens' and it's Not a 'slur', but an appropriate Legal Terminology to refer to those who are 'aliens' aka Not US Citizens and 'Illegal' as in Not Legally in our Sovereign Nation. There's nothing derogatory about it at all.

    As for the root word 'Negro'; we got that from the Spanish slavers, in who's language it means 'Black' (male) Negra would mean Black (female). In our country's southern dialect, it was converted to 'Nigras' and then further into what we now refer to as the 'N' word.

    End of lesson.

  51. Anonymous

    Negro and other words like it are used to describe things that are dark or black(all over the world). So if anyone ever calls me blanco, I'm going to sue the negro out of them.

  52. Glanda Widger

    So am I dear but still say they are illegal and I have no clue what your point is. Are you for or against? And just how much Cherokee are you?

  53. Derek Middleton

    The corporate owned and operated MSM propaganda outlets and their lackeys are out in full force with their illegal alien amnesty nonsense. No matter how large the lie or how moronic the logic, they come out daily with stupidity designed to sway the minds of the nation.

  54. Alice Fox

    Take a trip to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus and view documents that describe the very tall blond giants who inhabited what is now the southwest USA. They were inhabititants long before the so-called native americans and the mexicans who claim they were here first.

  55. Paul Sloan

    Saying “illegal immigrants” to describe immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally is a putdown on par with the n-word, according to progressive CNN columnist & noted mouth-breathing idiot Sally Kohn. Ms. Kohn also eschews the word "murderer" in referring those who commit the crime of murder, "rapist" in referring to those who forcibly have sex with unwilling partners, and "thief" in referring to those who steal.

  56. Glanda Widger

    They are illegals period if they did not come into this country through proper channels.As an American with native American relatives and blood I can say that your statement regarding this woman's ignorance is also ignorant and out of context.

  57. Jack Newell

    I remember a time when Republicans and democrats had the same goals, just different ideas on how to achieve those goals. This woman is being an idiot just for the sake of being an idiot. She is trolling on a national level meaning, surely she wrote this just to upset the right. I mean, there is NO WAY she could actually think she's in the right on this subject, Right? Or has the left become so silly that they deserve their own Monty Python sketch? This is just absurd. Beyond what any rational person could think and believe.

  58. Anonymous

    This twit needs to be hit with a shovel! If you don't want to be call an "illegal" or "illegal immigrant" THAN COME HERE LEGALY AND STOP BREAKING OUR LAWS YOU A$$HOLES!!! This moron and people like her are the problem with our country. We are the only place in the world that give free handouts to people who commit crime to enter our country and have no right to be here while the working people have our butts handed to us for jaywalking.

  59. Joy Williams

    I refuse to read this or any more msm trash “news”. I am going directly to the comments and telling anyone who will listen to think for themselves first and foremost. The titles are meant to draw you in to read. But there is not much truth or substance in the writing. Check out laws that have been passed (for many years now) that take away our freedoms. There are laws on the books now in Washington DC that, if acted upon, have the ability do just that.
    It is time for everyone to check out The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations NOW.

  60. Chad Berka

    This woman is a great example of the need for contraception. People like this are to far removed from logical thought to be reproducing.

  61. Biff Wade

    What a stupid woman. Shamefully the United States is filled with idiots like this.
    Shes not part of the solution here in America. She's part of the problem.

  62. Lucas Laramie

    have no problems with this man, opps, I mean woman ( I think) except when I first saw her picture I thought it was Justin Bieber .

  63. Michael Pappy Jochum

    Nothing worse than a "Political Corrector" trying to reform our language. An "Illegal Immigrant" or "Illegal Alien" becomes one by consciously breaking immigration laws, race or physical characteristics are not a factor despite claims by liberals like Kohn. Giving support to these law breakers is a slap in the face to those fine immigrants who followed the legal process to come into our country, just as we would be required to follow the laws of their country of origin to visit or emmirgate there,

  64. Susan Wiens

    I disagree with the term "illegal immigrant" also. They are not immigrants at all. Let's just call them what they are – "Invaders". They are here to steal jobs, homes, food, and resources from Americans. They are not "immigrating" here to become citizens. Why else do they refuse to learn English, refuse to respect American traditions, and fly the flag of their home country? They are Invaders, plain and simple

  65. Joe Ingram

    This idiot has serious mental issues, serious serious issues

  66. Anonymous

    This is ridiculous to a degree I cannot describe. Although I do prefer the term "criminal alien" to "illegal". The end result is the same though: Round 'em up, send 'em back.

  67. Anonymous

    This is ridiculous to a degree I cannot describe. Although I do prefer the term "criminal alien" to "illegal". The end result is the same though: Round 'em up, send 'em back.

  68. Nancy Bianchi

    This women is so stupid she belongs in school this is what you get from the liberal indoctrination in our schools because we allow idiots and socialists to teach our young.

  69. John Odle

    This woman is a total disgrace o the people of America. She and others who promote this invasion are traders to this country. Why would they put her on any news? if she feels so strongly about helping these people then she needs to get on the bus with all the illegals. She can go to there country and she can share her propaganda with them. Her and others in Washington keep promoting the breaking of our law. Why are these people any better than all the immigrants before them and did it legally?

  70. Nemo Nemoque

    Only a lesbian could come up with something as absurd as this.

  71. Frank Caprio

    This is political correctness attacking our 1st Amendment rights. Pure and simple.
    We used to say "Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt me"
    and "I don't agree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it".
    Now that the liberal/progressives are getting their way they want to stifle free speech.
    Racist, bigot, homophobe, etc now is the battle cry when anyone attacks the liberal/progressive position.
    Don't be fooled. The 1st Amendment needs as much protection as all the rest. Don't buy into this country destroying idea. Political correctness worked well in the USSR and China with 10's of millions of people killed for speaking their mind.

  72. Kamau Thabiti

    why does everybody think it is OK to equate every so-called bad thing with the N– word. nobody in this country has suffered like Black people so leave it be.

  73. Rich Bailey

    They are not illegal immigrants they are illegal aliens. We as a country can not accept these people as immigrants as immigrants come through the proper channels. We need to quit being PC and call a spade a spade and no this is not racial.

  74. Bill Peck

    The "N" word is nigger; it is a little shorter than illegal immigrant, but you aren't even close. We love the niggers, they are part of America, illegal immigrants are not part of America. Only Obama can not tell the difference and apparently this "C" word that is pushing the bull shit

  75. Scott Gardner

    Dumbest thing I've heard yet. These people immigrated here illegally, so to call them Illegal immigrants is nothing like the N word, which has always been derogatory, even if and when used in the Websters Dictionary definition fashion. My mother immigrated here LEGALLY, and is now a US citizen, nothing at all wrong with this, she did NOT break the law. These people ARE breaking the law and placing a huge burden on the American people. PERIOD. Why do people continue to argue against the facts?

  76. Lee Nalus

    I do not give a f what you call them. They are here illegally, are reproducing like flies due to their ignorant "religious" beliefs (or they are just plain to lazy and/or stupid to use birth control methods), and often brag about how in another generation they will have taken this country over. I do not like an invasion no matter what you call it.

  77. Carolyn Ann Bryington

    Tommytubezz, I am proud of who I am. You can call me names , shows how uneducated you are. And you live right up to hatered spread by the right and tea party.

  78. David Grubar

    Tara Ziehl Patenaude Actually, the LEGAL definition of alien is, "a non-citizen inhabitant of a country". So, calling them illegal aliens is EXACTLY what they are. Are we going to have to change the definition of alien to avoid hurting the feelings of the liberals and law breakers?

  79. Solomon Banda Jr

    my grandparents were borned in mexico and because of the revolution came to texas and became naturalized citizens in order to work and stay and provide for their children hoping that their children would get an eduacation so as to provide for themselves and their families. my parents for sure didn't live on welfare and worked at jobs that paid hardly enough but they had to on account to keep food and shelter so as to survive and provide which paid off. this was past down to us who also benefited with a proper education and careers that we have past on to our children. i don't mind being of mexcan descent, matter of fact proud of it. there is a big difference being an illegal and immigrant.

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