Refugee or migrant crisis? Alexander Betts discusses the importance of language
- 26 August 2015
- Media coverage
The RSC Director talks to The Washington Post
There has been considerable discussion about the language used by politicians, media and others to describe the current refugee and migrant crisis in Europe. Last week, Al Jazeera English announced that it would no longer be using the term ‘migrant’ in relation to the crisis. So yesterday, the Washington Post posed the question ‘Is it time to ditch the word ‘migrant’?
One expert they spoke to was RSC Director, Professor Alexander Betts, who said: “It is very important to recognize that current challenges in Europe and globally are predominantly the result of refugee movements and not simply a ‘migrant crisis’ as implied by most politicians and the media.”
Regarding the use of terms such as ‘swarm’ and ‘marauding’ that have been used by UK politicians to describe the refugees and migrants seeking to enter the UK from Calais, he said “(w)ords that convey an exaggerated sense of threat can fuel anti-immigration sentiment and a climate of intolerance and xenophobia.” As he has said previously, the use of such language is very damaging.