Crafting language in an effort to reconfigure attitudes
Here are just a few of the guidelines. How nice to know that white supremacists and “radical anti-abortionists” are grouped in with Islamic terrorists. Oops! That’s a black-balled phrase.
- When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
- Use photos and features to demystify veils, turbans and other cultural articles and customs.
- Avoid using word combinations such as “Islamic terrorist” or “Muslim extremist” that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity. Be specific: Alternate choices, depending on context, include “Al Qaeda terrorists” or, to describe the broad range of groups involved in Islamic politics, “political Islamists.” Do not use religious characterizations as shorthand when geographic, political, socioeconomic or other distinctions might be more accurate.
- Avoid using terms such as “jihad” unless you are certain of their precise meaning and include the context when they are used in quotations. The basic meaning of “jihad” is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself.
- Avoid the phrase “illegal” immigrants.
And not to leave us wondering how to address the issue of same-sex unions, we have additional guidelines provided by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Society, which has sculpted the issue within the print and electronic media to conform to their standards. Their stylebook supplement is available here.
And, they have thoughtfully included a summertime Pride Primer.