Calling The War Zone ‘The International District’ Is Racist

Referring to The War Zone of Albuquerque as “The International District” is as offensive as calling undocumented residents “illegals” or tranny story-hour volunteers “groomers.” It’s gross, and it has to stop.

Groomers don’t like it, illegals don’t like it, and internationals don’t like it.

Attributing the drugs and prostitution and homelessness of the War Zone to “internationals” insinuates that “foreigners” are to blame for the district’s abundance of dereliction, and yet local news organizations and politicians insist on this bigoted language.

It goes without saying that plenty of “non” internationals live in the War Zone, and some of whom, I assume, are good people. If you’ve had the pleasure of driving down Central recently (we do not recommend walking), you’ll see plenty of hardworking residents installing fences around their properties, boarding up broken windows, and spraying human excrement from their sidewalks. They are not “Internationals” anymore than Tanoan residents are “White supremacists,” and any person with a conscience would not foist such xenophobic generalizations on such a large group of people.

Imagine stereotyping Mayor Tim Keller’s neighborhood as “the privileged district,” implying that clean streets and needle-free parks were attributes of wealth and stature rather than more frequent street sweeps and a greater law enforcement presence.

To borrow a quote from the great Walter Sobchak, “International District” it is not the preferred nomenclature.

Words Are Violence

We like to pretend we’ve progressed as a society, and yet our language remains outdated and rooted in privilege and racism. We have made great strides when it comes to “flight attendants” and “police persons,” but the elites of Albuquerque have no problem blaming the War Zone’s third-world-like conditions on “internationals.”

While we do call “enslaved persons” “slaves”–a practice that continues to thrive throughout some of the seedier parts of the world–many Leftists have rightly pointed out that people who “illegally immigrate” to the United States are no more “illegal immigrants” than drivers who disregard their turn signal are “illegal drivers.” They’re human beings who chose poorly, and they don’t deserve social scorn that “illegal” implies. And yes, for the stuttering bigots blathering about “PC culture,” violating a nation’s sovereignty is exactly the same as not using a blinker.

The term “illegal” has rightly been described as “dehumanizing, derogatory and destructive.”

The “International District” is just Albuquerque’s version of this racist i-word slur.

So stop it. Now.

Terms like “clandestine migrant” and “immigrationally irregular travelers” are as preferable to “illegal” as “War Zone” is to “The Juarez of Duke City” or “International District.”

We have come a long way as a people, but slurs like this prove we have far yet to go. If the last five years has taught us anything, it’s that you cannot simply “oppose” racism. Silence, like bad nicknames, is violence. International Lives Matter. As a community, we need to be actively anti-racist, and that starts by calling The War Zone what it is. Not “a” war zone: The War Zone. Because that’s what it is.

1 reply »

  1. Language gone wild. The redefinition of words has become a constant challenge as past editorials have asserted. That area off Central might get a new name if we can find one for that new library. I would call it the Caravan, but who knows.

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