AP Style Update to Include Xenophobia, Homophobia, Islamophobia

Interesting that the AP appears to accept the dictionary definition of Islamophobia and homophobia as IRRATIONAL fears. I doubt that journalists will restrict their usage in that way, however.

Further, I would say that regarding homosexuality as an abomination does not usually denote fear of any sort, rational or irrational.  What is it that I should fear about one guy sticking his dick into some other guy's butt?  To me it's disgusting but I don't fear it.  And I don't know anybody who does fear it.  So I think that "homophobic" is almost always a misnomer. "Show me one!", I am tempted to say.

If a single word is needed for people who disapprove of homosexuality, maybe "homocritic" could be used.  In the light of what the scriptures repeatedly say, a real Christian is obliged to be a homocritic (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1: 8-10, Romans 1:27, Leviticus 20:13).

Islamophobia, on the other hand need not be irrational.  Muslim bombers and shooters strike at random and repeatedly at any place and at any time.  If you can't fear that, what can you fear? You certainly don't have to be mad to fear it.

And xenophobia is also poorly defined. As far as I can tell, it is perfectly natural for most people to prefer their own kind.  What is mad about that?

The word "phobia" is a Greek word meaning fear and in clinical usage does indicate an irrational fear but it seems clear that you can dislike foreigners without fearing them.  And the old fear that a foreigner could take your job could be perfectly realistic in some cases. So that word is very often used quite inappropriately too.  If I were defining the word, I would say:  "A term from clinical psychology denoting an irrational fear or obsession which is commonly used inappropriately to denote a dislike of foreigners"

The Associated Press has updated its Stylebook, an official industry’s guideline for journalists, writers and editors, on Thursday to include the words homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Hillary Clinton called then-candidate Donald Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables” because of their “homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” views.

These words are defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the official dictionary for the American Psychological Association, as followed:

Xenophobia: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

Homophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.

Islamophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against Islam or people who practice Islam

AP has not released its own definition of these words, but stated that they are “acceptable in broad references or in quotations to the concept of fear or hatred in political or social contexts.”

The online Stylebook also specified that usage of these words must outline “observable actions” and not assert personal assumptions on the motives that led to such events.


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