Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Finding the right words -- continued

In a Sunday column that focused partly on word usage, I made an awfully ironic mistake.

I used the wrong word. In the first sentence.

That's where I called a man an American refugee.

Mark Bumgarner, of Pleasant Gap, wishes I hadn't.

In a well-thought-out e-mail, Bumgarner asked me to "stop referring to fellow citizens as refugees. The term demeans them and lowers them to a point that they may easily be dismissed....our federal government has already failed these people because they are mostly black and poor. Let's not add to their indignity by reducing them to some third world status.... Is there any doubt that if this tragedy had struck, let's say the Hamptons or Kennebunkport, the federal response would have been much more meaningful and timely."

The man raises an excellent point.

And it's one connected to an emerging national debate, as The Associated Press reported today.

I stand corrected.

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