Falcon84
Topic Author
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"Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:34 am

My wife asked me when I came home from work toight, if the term "refugees" to describe those fleeing the Gulf Coast after Katrina. I told her it didn't.

She tells me that it's causing a stir among some people, at least listening to local radio. Apparently, many African-Americans are demanding they be called "evacueees", not "refugees", because, according to them, "refugees" is a racists statement. I don't have a link, but I'm sure it's something to put forth to all members of Anet in good stead.

So, does it bother you, and do you see it as racist in any way?
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FlyingTexan
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:45 am

I saw a new guy last night at my Houston complex on the terrace next to mine.

I asked if he just moved in. His reply: I’m a refugee.

For the record he’s a young guy (26-35), Attorney, white.

It’s not racist to him. I don’t find that term racist. Obviously a white person assigned it to himself. Mind you, he volunteered that line, I didn’t probe for info.

Racism is alive in well in this country. It’s just the race card is pulled way too much ~ more oft than not frivolously.

JR – the FlyingTexan from a Houston hosting hoards of refugees
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diamond
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:47 am

They are not refugees, they are American evacuees.




Various definitions found online:

" ... Under international law, a refugee is a person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution. They are subgroup of the broader category of displaced persons ... "

" ... A person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution ... "

" ... One of the six legal immigrant categories, refugees are aliens who are unable to remain in their country of origin due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress. They are eligible for lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States ... "


EDIT:

I'm not overly concerned that the word 'refugee' is being used in a racist manner. It's just the wrong word to use, because these people are not fleeing one country and moving into another.

[Edited 2005-09-07 04:53:21]
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dl021
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:51 am

I believe that there is a reticence to call Americans "refugees" in the first place, and the news outlets are having some difficulty in deciding what to do.

I don't attribute any racist overtones to it, but I saw some people at the Superdome bitching that the MREs they got were not hot, and that the water was warm, and would not have been had they been white.....

while the national guardsmen were eating the same thing.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:53 am

Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
and do you see it as racist in any way?

No . . .more tossing of the race card horseshit . . . last I checked races of all color and nationality were evacuated from NOLA.  redflag 

Quoting Falcon84 (Thread starter):
does it bother you

No.

Refugee . . . that's my opinion.

Quoting Diamond (Reply 2):
They are subgroup of the broader category of displaced persons ... "

If it offends them I'll change - makes not a difference to me I guess. . .
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Logan22L
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:00 pm

Notwithstanding Diamond's definitions found on-line (whatever that really means), this is hype and nothing more. The only reason "refugees" is being construed as racist is because of so much civil unrest in Africa over the years and the use of the word refugee in that context. We're not used to seeing that stuff here in the US. Nothing more. But consider Serbia and Croatia, Armenia, Hungary, Poland, Central America, etc. Also, most peopl do seek refuge in another country. (I just heard Charlie Rose use the term refugee, BTW, just before I typed this. Wouldn't consider him to be racist.)

Point is the people from NOLA and the surrounding areas are seeking refuge (white and black, for God's sake), and they are evacuating. Either term or both works, and I see no racism; inherent, purposeful or otherwise in either term.

Diamond, I see your point, but I still contend that they seek refuge, so it's an appropriate term. International law and Merriam-Webster http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=refugee be damned. I stick by my definitions. Sometimes it's better to use a word they way it ought to be defined, not the way society has bastardized it. http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionar...ook=Dictionary&va=refuge&x=15&y=24

[Edited 2005-09-07 05:11:13]
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DfwRevolution
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:05 pm

>> I believe that there is a reticence to call Americans "refugees" in the first place, and the news outlets are having some difficulty in deciding what to do.

Well... In my humble opinion,

Refugee = anyone whosetheir residence and place of work have been destroyed, and therefore will suffer permanet (or long-term) displacement.

Evacuee = anyone whose residence and place of work are relativly undamaged and evacuated as a precautionary measure during the storm. Their displacement is therefore relativly short-term, or at least not nearly as painful.

>> So, does it bother you, and do you see it as racist in any way?

Sure doesn't bother me, but I am damn sure tired of hearing the 'race card' being played. I still contend that people who use racisim as a crutch are the most racist of all people.
 
diamond
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:14 pm

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 5):
(whatever that means)

You could have simply asked me what it meant ... or you could post a snide remark. It's all about choices and style.
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Logan22L
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:20 pm

Quoting Diamond (Reply 7):
You could have simply asked me what it meant

First of all, Diamond, I softened it a (very little) bit to say "whatever that REALLY means," and seriously, it was not meant as an effront to you, it was an indictment of the internet. Look somewhere and you can find an argument to suit your needs on the internet. I'm not suggesting that you have that sort of agenda, but the internet is a shitty source of information in many contexts.

Again, I meant no offense to you.
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."
 
diamond
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:23 pm

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 8):
Again, I meant no offense to you.

Cool. Thanks for clarifying.
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767Lover
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:28 pm

First, this debate (the national debate, not this discussion on a-net) is getting ludicrous. For God's sake, there are more important issues to tend to right now instead of semantics.

Now, according to dictionary.com, the definition of refugee is: One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution. (I take the "as in" to mean "for example.")

The definition of refuge is:
1. Protection or shelter, as from danger or hardship.
2. A place providing protection or shelter.
3. A source of help, relief, or comfort in times of trouble.


Now, I DO believe there is a subtle difference between REFUGEE and EVACUEE. While you could use the term "evacuee" for all those affected by the hurricane, I think of refugees as those who are in need of assistance from the public or organizations, whereas evacuees are simply people who left the area but are completely self sufficient (i.e., staying with friends or family or whatever.)
 
redngold
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:29 pm

I've been using a fairly... "politically correct"... term: displaced citizens.


redngold

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AirWillie6475
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:37 pm

Yes all the evacuating white or African American are refugees. Any one who has had some sort of education can concur to this. When Webster was writing the deffinition of refugees, I'm guessing he wasn't think about hurricanes. War, Persecution, Opression, and Home destroying hurricanes all have something in common.
 
102IAHexpress
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:52 pm

Interesting thread.
Me personally I dont find the term racist, but when speaking to a few "refugees" about it they said it did bother them. So ever since then I've been describing them as evacuees. And depending on how some of the African American talking heads want to play this, I think this disaster has the possibility of eighther helping or hindering race relations in this country, but it's too early to tell which way it will go in the long term.
 
GulfstreamGuy
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:52 pm

Redngold had it right.. that's also what I have been using as well:

"displaced citizen"  Yeah sure

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checkraiser
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:41 pm

Quoting Redngold (Reply 11):
I've been using a fairly... "politically correct"... term: displaced citizens.

So what would you call an illegal alien errr... I mean "undocumented immigrant" that evacuated?
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cfalk
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:56 pm

Refugee = Someone seeking refuge.

I see no problem with it, and feel that anyone who gets upset at being called a refugee is being a little oversensitive. I mean, if you have the time and energy to get upset at something like that, you have it pretty good. Someone in a truely desperate situation doesn't give a damn about what he's called.

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AeroWesty
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:19 pm

I've watched a lot of the coverage on this topic on TV, and given this considerable thought. I don't believe it's a racial argument.

Referring to the victims of Katrina as evacuees rather than refugees, I believe, retains hope that despite their current circumstances or the devastation they left behind, returning to rebuild their states is a short-term rather than long-term situation.

[Edited 2005-09-07 09:20:12]
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redngold
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:42 am

Quoting Checkraiser (Reply 15):
So what would you call an illegal alien errr... I mean "undocumented immigrant" that evacuated?

Hmmmm good  point  Probably still "undocumented immigrant" since they were already displaced...
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: "Refugees" Or "Evacuees"?

Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:57 am

They're refugees. If they hope to be back in their homes or on the ground where they once stood anytime soon, they're living in a fantasy world.

That place is Love Canal, Times Beach, and Prince William Sound all rolled into one.

Why anyone would WANT to go back to that putrid cesspool of slow death is beyond comprehension. Maybe it's because they lack any sense of microbiology and biochemistry.

Mark
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