Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's all in how you look at the word

There has been a great amount of discussion whether the survivors of Katrina who have been evacuated to other areas are refugees. has the following 3 definitions for the word refugee.

1. One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.

2. An individual seeking refuge or asylum; especially : an individual who has left his or her native country and is unwilling or unable to return to it because of persecution or fear of persecution (as because of race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion).

3. An exile who flees for safety.

Let's look at this for a moment. The basis of all of these definitions is someone who is seeking safety for some reason. Yes it is generally associated with some type of oppression or persecution but, as the third definition clearly points out, it is not necessarily for those reasons, it is for reasons of safety.

I think those who are opposed the most to this term are reading things in to the term that are not intended. The two stupidest arguments/remarks related to the opposition to this term.
1. The president, and many others, who have said: They are not refugees, they are Americans. This would indicate that it is absolutely impossible for Americans to ever be refugees.
2. The only person I have heard say this one is Jesse Jackson but I am sure there are others is: The use of the term refugee is racist. This one makes absolutely no sense to me as all of the people who have been force from New Orleans would be refugees, and New Orleans was only 68% (or so) black. Therefore the other 32% are not black, this would seem to belie, in and of itself, the whole argument.

I really wish people wouldn't have knee-jerk reactions to the words that are really nonsensical, I know I can't prevent it. The second thing is can't some please restrain the urge to put a microphone in front of Jesse Jackson, I really believe his 15 minutes of fame should have been up years ago.

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