Mr. King, Please Take the High Road
by Kevin_Foley
 Politics Progressive
March 19, 2012 09:28 AM | 2441 views | 11 11 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I have worked in public relations for most of my 35-year career. That's another way of saying I work with words. In my business, the right words can influence, motivate and even inspire. The wrong words can alienate, anger and hurt. When I work with clients, I always advise them to take the high road. Tell your audience what is right with your brand, not what's wrong with your competition's.

There is no question D.A. King, a fellow blogger here whom I've never met, is passionately committed to enforcement of the nation's immigration laws. I even agree with him. People who have entered the U.S. illegally are breaking our laws and should be dealt with accordingly. How these people are dealt with is a matter of heated national and local debate. My own sentiments are in line with former President George W. Bush's, who offered a reasonable immigration reform bill in 2007 that would have put those here illegally on a path to citizenship. That bill was defeated by a handful of conservative senators.

Here's where words come in. Mr. King repeatedly uses the phrase "illegal alien." He is no doubt aware that the Latino and Hispanic communities consider these words an slur because it serves to dehumanize in the same way the "n" word dehumanizes African-Americans or the words "mick" or "bohunk" once dehumanized my own ancestors when they arrived in America. By calling undocumented workers from Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean "illegal aliens" Mr. King makes them something less than human beings, something unworthy and contemptible.

So here's a bit of PR advice for Mr. King: Make your argument, sir, but please take the high road. Remember that these are people you are talking about with lives, loved ones, and the same aspirations most other people have. Yes, they broke the law but that doesn't make them any less human. You would also do well telling us why your point of view is the correct one, not by attacking those individuals and advocacy groups with which you disagree. When you do that, you lose many moderate people like me who are otherwise very willing to listen and consider your views.
Comments
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Cuzzit
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May 13, 2012
Mr. Foley,

My wife had been a Legal resident Alien in the United States of America for 16 years. Before that she had overstayed her visitors visa and became an illegal alien for which she had to return to her home country. The term illegal alien never offended her as she broke the law and we both paid the price for that.

Now I am a legal resident alien in her country. If I screw up I would be an illegal alien which does not offend me as that is exactly what I would be.

Oh the humanity that someone should be offended by words.
Gamekeeper
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April 26, 2012
I was directed to this nonsense blog from a pal here in Arizona. We see this sort of feebleness a lot here. This guys' goal is to get you to eventually regard the illegal aliens as victims and then as fellow citizens - right up until the time they completely trash your state and take over like they did California and tried to do here. (BTW - they don't like African Americans so much. Ask any black man in South Central LA)



I hear you now have more illegal aliens than we do. Good luck with that.

This Foley person needs to come sit on the border and watch the illegals come in every night. The effort to make you think it has stopped is crazy wrong and a giant lie from Obama AND the GOP who both think you are too stupid to see the truth.

I read a reply to this guy by D.A. King who I met years ago when he was here on the border. It was perfect and spot on. King is a brave hero. Kevin Foley isn't.

Like Jusice Sotomayor said: your case isn't selling so well, is it Foley? Like we say: VIVA LA MIGRA!
Robert Johnson
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April 16, 2012
Oh Foley: I am grinning from ear to ear at the bog D.A. King did on this gem and the comments from readers it is getting.

Your arrogant dimness deserves more. Thanks for the smiles.
Dave Gorak
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April 13, 2012
Mr. Foley:

I spent 30 years as a Chicago print journalist, and I also know the power of words.

There is no "debate" about what to do about illegal aliens in this country. The late Barbara Jordan, who chaired President Clinton's immigration reform commission, said if our immigration policy is to have "credibility" then illegal aliens must be deported.

Suggesting that the term illegal alien is a "slur" begs the question of which descriptor should be used to describe the phrase "jobs Americans do" when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 70 percent of those jobs already are being done by Americans. And which word should we use to describe our government's allowing 7 million illegals now working in construction, manufacturing, transportation and service to keep their jobs while 20 million Americans are unable to find full-time employment?

Enforcing those immigration laws that were designed to protect American workers is the "high road" in this case. Anything less than aggressive enforcement of these laws mocks the rule of law and inflicts unnecessary economic pain on millions of your fellow citizens.

Dave Gorak

Executive director

Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration

La Valle, WI

Kevin Foley
|
March 31, 2012
Ms. Ohayer, having not met you or your husband, it's interesting you can draw conclusions about me. But that's what reactionaries do. Shoot first, think later.

If you read my blog objectively you'll see I said I agree with Mr. King that illegal immigration is a serious problem. I disagree with him on how it should be addressed. It doesn't seem to matter to you and Mr. King that legal Hispanics and Latinos

consider "illegal alien" a slur. So why use it if they find it offensive?

Yours is a losing position as long as it's predicated on de-humanizing undocumented workers. How do I know? Hispanic and Latino voters - once reliably Republican - have fled the GOP in droves over the hate talk.
Denise Ohayer
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March 27, 2012
You can't be serious. Nobody, including King, has ever said that illegal aliens were not human. The message, Mr. PR man is that they are humans who are making a mockery of our borders, laws, and traditions. Thy are humans who make legal immigrants into suckers. They are humans who are making us a two language nation while they march in Georgia snarling they want to get an amnesty.

You are a typical liberal. That is not a compliment.Your redefining will not work here, but it is fun to see the paper put up a token leftie. Better you than Rich Pellegrino.

What name do you have for child molesters? Or Embezellers?

My husband says you have not made a favorable impression.

Oh Yeah?
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March 21, 2012
Kevin, unless one wants to maka a favorable impression, one does not need the unsolicited advice of a PR man.

As to the illegal immigrants, yes, they are human beings, but they are here illegally, and they are immigrants. Thus they are, as Mr. King calls them, illegal immigrants or aliens.

Calling them anything else is dishonest.

AS the time worn saying goes, "Calling an illegal immigrant an undoumented worker, is like calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist."
Kevin Foley
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March 21, 2012
Oh Yeah (whoever you are) - I didn't say "make a good impression." I said they are human beings. You make my point for me in your earlier post.
Oh Yeah?
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March 20, 2012
Mr. Foley, my well thought out commentary was in response to your unsolicited and highly pretentious comments on a man and a subject about which you clearly have little or no knowledge.

As a PR man, you must certainly be aware that one in concerned with his image only when he wishes to make a favorable impression. Mr. King is not,. nor should he be, remotedly interested in making a good impression on illegal aliens.
Kevin Foley
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March 19, 2012
Oh Yeah (whoever you are) - Thanks for your clear-headed, well thought out commentary.
Oh Yeah?
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March 19, 2012
D. A. King is only referring to them by the name they have earned. They are here illegally and thay are aliens. Thus they are illegal aliens. It is not King's fault that they find it dehumanizing to be callked what they are. Liars, theives, killers, and perverts, I am quite certain, do not like to be referred to by those names, but the truth of the matter is that is what they are.

One of the big problems with our society is that we worry too much about PR and PC to roll up our sleeves and solve a problem by meeting it head on and dealing with it. People like D. A. King solve problems. PR people prolong them.
Kevin Foley is a 1979 graduate of the University of Connecticut and a former newspaper reporter. In 1981, he began his 30-year career in public relations, working in account management for Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum, two international PR firms. In 1986, he launched KEF Media in Chicago, a firm specializing in broadcast and Internet public relations. He moved the company to Atlanta in 1993. His career has taken him around the world and to every major city in America. Along the way he has worked with celebrities and public figures like Hank Aaron, Jane Seymour, Bob Dole, Nolan Ryan and Ryan Seacrest. Kevin went into semi-retirement in 2009 to pursue his long delayed writing career. In 2008 he published his first novel, "Where Law Ends," and has three other novels in various stages of completion. Kevin serves on the board of directors at Pinetree Country Club where enjoys golf and tennis. He and his wife Susie live in Kennesaw. The couple has two grown children.

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