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Ghoul’s Glossary: “Migrants” or “Refugees” or “Anchor Babies”?

Juan Cole

 by Informed Comment

Migrants: Those who voluntarily go to another country to live and work, seeking a better life.

Refugees: Those who are forced out of their homes, because of political persecution or natural disaster or a chronically bad economy. and have no choice but to try to make a new life elsewhere.

Illegals: (N.B. slang, usage error, since human beings are born with certain inalienable rights, are made in the image of God, and cannot be illegal.) Actions can be illegal, people cannot.

Climate Change: No entry found.

Far right wing politics: The conviction held by losers that their country never needs new blood or talent, despite their own political staleness and complete incompetence.

Mediterranean Sea: Graveyard for desperate refugees if the European Union won’t police it with rescue vessels.

Anchor baby: Demeaning term for natural-born citizen of the United States one or more parents of which are not US citizens. That Americans are those born on US soil keeps the US from becoming like Gulf Arab oil states, which lack labor protections for their temporary guest workers, who almost never become citizens (in Gulf states citizens are a small minority of residents, enjoying special privileges that imported temporary workers do not).

Racism: Generalizing about very large groups of people on the basis of a small number of individuals.

Donald Trump: See “racism.”


© 2021 Juan Cole
Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His newest book, "Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires" was published in 2020. He is also the author of  "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East" (2015) and "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East" (2008).  He has appeared widely on television, radio, and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. 

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