Persuasive Words: Framing Islamophobia

Hi Persuader,

Phobias and isms… they come in all shapes and sizes. There’s racism, sexism, classism, sizeism, anti-Semitism, anti-intellectualism… All of these represent a belief of superiority of one race, gender, class, size, or religion over another or a hatred of one against another.

Then we’ve got phobias, which are defined as “irrational fears”.

Now there’s the new kid on the block, Islamophobia. Actually, the term isn’t new. It made its debut in the 1980s, but didn’t become popular until after 9/11.

Is Islamophobia a fear? Is it rational or irrational? Could Islamophobia really be just another brand of racism?

We frame our world through words every day. It’s all semantics: meaning expressed through language.

For example, we use the term homophobia to describe the irrational fear of homosexuals. However, we do not use the term heterosexism which would suggest the superiority of heterosexuality. Wouldn’t heterosexism be more accurate? Who’s afraid of homosexuals these days anyway?

You can see the term Islamophobia debated in this article:


Regardless of your personal position on Islamophobia or on this writer’s opinion, it is always useful to understand this take from a framing perspective.

Words have enormous power. Words can irritate and incite and enrage, or they can soothe and placate and calm. Words, when used with precision, set the frame for your listener to accept what you’re saying. In doing so, you lower resistance and objection with your affluent prospects.

Stay tuned for another post on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Until then,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Dr Bill - August 18, 2007

Kenrick – I LOVE how you use real world examples to teach.
You’re AWESOME! Thank you

jamal - August 18, 2007

Islamphobia is real.


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