[lg policy] Defining "anchor baby"

Dennis Baron debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Sat Dec 10 01:23:48 UTC 2011


There's a new post on the Web of Language:

Defining "anchor baby"

The American Heritage Dictionary, responding to criticism in what may well be record time for any dictionary, dramatically revised its recently-published definition of "anchor baby" to mark the term as offensive.
The brand new fifth edition of the American Heritage, published just over a month ago, on Nov. 1, defined anchor baby as

A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of the family....

But it turns out that American Heritage’s definition of anchor baby is not neutral after all. Instead it’s a term with a right-wing slant taken directly from the playbook of so-called American immigration reformers. They either coined the phrase or adopted it in their campaign to portray newcomers to America, historically viewed by immigrants as the land of opportunity, as, well, opportunists. It’s a negative term, and it’s been negative since its birth....
The revised definition of anchor baby now reads, “Offensive Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child's birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother's or other relatives’ chances of securing eventual citizenship."


Read the full post on the Web of Language:  http://bit.ly/uu0tbo    
____________________
Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English                    
University of Illinois 
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801                                               

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

http://www.illinois.edu/goto/debaron

read the Web of Language:
http://www.illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage








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