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Old 11-28-2012, 09:08 AM   #1
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The Associated Press bans the terms "homophobia" and "Islamophobia."

http://www.slate.com/articles/double...naccurate.html

Quote:
The Associated Press announced this week that its new stylebook would bar the use of the word homophobia in political or social contexts (along with Islamophobia and ethnic cleansing). AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn told Politico that the term is “just off the mark” and “seems inaccurate”—oddly amorphous phrases for a standards editor. “We want to be precise and accurate and neutral in our phrasing,” he said.
Except, as the article points out, homophobia and Islamophobia are real things.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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That Slate article was Really Freaking Weird. What's with the massive digression about the bodily fluids of gays and immigrants, seriously? And the conclusion that all anti-gay sentiment is a true mental disorder phobia? And that we shouldn't use "homophobe" because we shouldn't call people names? Seriously, what?

The original piece in Politico makes much more sense http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/...ng-150315.html The AP decision seems very rational. They aren't using ethnic cleansing anymore because it's a happy shiny euphemism for horrific violence:
Quote:
"When you break down 'ethnic cleansing,' it's a cover for terrible violent activities. It's a term we certainly don't want to propagate."
And as for homophobe and Islamophobe, those ascribe a mental illness to a political belief, religious belief, or opinion:

Quote:
"Homophobia especially -- it's just off the mark. It's ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don't have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case."
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:21 AM   #3
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Homophobia as a real thing is a very narrow word. Heteronormative supremacy is a more illustrative word of the social and political phenomenon, however ungainly it is.

Islamophobia almost appears to be a riff on the broad usage of homophobia. Muslim Scare might be a more appropriate word and has the weight of older terms like Communist Scare to support it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:27 AM   #4
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I think a lot of the hostility toward both homosexuality and Islam IS based on fear, though, and there are times when we know that fear is a - sometimes THE - driving factor. I mean, people will come right out and say that they're afraid of "encroaching Islam" or "Sharia Law" or the "damage" they foresee gay rights doing to straight marriage. In cases like that, where the person in question is outright stating that their objections are based on their fears, these terms would seem to be the most accurate, IMO.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:28 AM   #5
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Heteronormative supremacy
How about Het-supremacy?
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:32 AM   #6
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Het or Straight works.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:34 AM   #7
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I think a lot of the hostility toward both homosexuality and Islam IS based on fear, though, and there are times when we know that fear is a - sometimes THE - driving factor. I mean, people will come right out and say that they're afraid of "encroaching Islam" or "Sharia Law" or the "damage" they foresee gay rights doing to straight marriage. In cases like that, where the person in question is outright stating that their objections are based on their fears, these terms would seem to be the most accurate, IMO.
However, the suffix -phobia is usually reserved for medical disorders and does not help those who have any varieties of medical phobias to have the suffix -phobia continued to be used as a derisive term.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #8
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I hated the Slate piece, too. I read it earlier expecting to learn more about the AP's choice, but it was just a rambling diatribe.

I'm assuming they'll just say "anti-gay"?

I'm on the fence about it because, as we all know, language evolves. And they may be catching this one too late. Regardless of what the breakdown of parts would indicate, homophobia means anti-gay prejudice.

I'm still pissed there is no pine or apple in pineapples, but what are you going to do.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:58 AM   #9
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However, the suffix -phobia is usually reserved for medical disorders and does not help those who have any varieties of medical phobias to have the suffix -phobia continued to be used as a derisive term.
This is the best argument I've seen against the use of the word. However, its use is so well established by now that continuing to rail against it seems like claiming that there can't be such a thing as Arab anti-Semitism because "Arabs are Semites too."

They are, but those saying that know very well what's f**king meant.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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I agree with the AP's decision and rationale. I've always been annoyed with the suffix "-phobia" being tacked onto anything that someone else doesn't like. As the AP guy said, it assumes a specific motivation for another person's behavior; an assumption of information we don't have access to.

A phobia is a fear of something and, as Xelebes pointed out, generally a diagnostic term for a specific anxiety disorder.

"Disliking" something, no matter how strong that dislike, is certainly not the same as "fearing" it (I realize Weinberg, the guy who coined the term "homophobia," is a psychologist, but that doesn't automatically make his opinion correct. In fact, I disagree with quite a few things he's said over the years). If someone has agoraphobia, they have a very real fear of situations in which they feel there is no escape. If that same person has an extreme dislike of green beans or country music, we certainly don't say that they also have "legumeaphobia" or "twangaphobia."

I realize racism and hatred of homosexuals is not at all the same as hating beans, but the dislike motivating those attitudes is more alike to each other than they are to a "fear."

Sure, some people might harbor racist feelings because they were the victim of violence at the hands of someone of that particular race and being exposed to people of that race elicits a fear response. Indeed, I think it'd be safe to say that right after 9/11, a majority of US airplane passengers were at least apprehensive of, if not outright terrified by, any fellow passengers who looked Middle Eastern. The fears in both of those examples, though arguably misinformed, are at least understandable given the circumstances and, for most people, not the same as true racism.

I think for most bigots...the people who are true bigots...there's no fear involved at all. It's pure, dumb ass hate. Plain and simple.

I'd say that in most cases, some good ol' boy who hates blacks, or a black guy who hates Koreans, or a fundamentalist Christian who hates gays, or a Muslim who hates Jews, etc. doesn't hate them because he's afraid of them. He hates them because his closed-minded parents (and possibly preacher, family friends, etc.) has told him since birth that "those people" are inferior, stupid, smelly, lazy, worthless, going to burn in hell, and all other kinds of stupid shit.

Bigotry is taught. And bigots are taught to hate, not to fear. They hate because their daddy hated, and their daddy's daddy hated, and daddy's daddy's daddy hated, and so forth and so on.

So, calling their hateful attitudes a name that means "fear" is not only categorically inaccurate, it's also kind of stupid, IMO, because it confuses and obfuscates public understanding of the meanings, underlying causes, and significant differences between behaviors motivated by hatred and those motivated by fear.

However, I also realize that the current definition, however inaccurate, is already so entrenched in our cultural lexicon that this whole thing might be too little, too late. But, it doesn't hurt to try, I guess.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:02 PM   #11
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However, I also realize that the current definition, however inaccurate, is already so entrenched in our cultural lexicon that this whole thing might be too little, too late. But, it doesn't hurt to try, I guess.
On the other hand, this could be a great step in the right direction. If enough major publications start using terms like anti-gay, it could have an impact on the way people speak and, as a result, how they think about it. Or not, but I'm feeling optimistic today.

I use AP all the time at work (editing) and I really like when they make carefully thought-out decisions and then update everybody about how/why they did it. Proves that they're always reconsidering things and evolving. I'm a total word geek though
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:27 PM   #12
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Not to worry, we'll still have Russia-o-phobia and Iran-o-phobia to get our phobia fix.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:56 PM   #13
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opty View Post

A phobia is a fear of something and, as Xelebes pointed out, generally a diagnostic term for a specific anxiety disorder.

"Disliking" something, no matter how strong that dislike, is certainly not the same as "fearing" it (I realize Weinberg, the guy who coined the term "homophobia," is a psychologist, but that doesn't automatically make his opinion correct. In fact, I disagree with quite a few things he's said over the years). If someone has agoraphobia, they have a very real fear of situations in which they feel there is no escape. If that same person has an extreme dislike of green beans or country music, we certainly don't say that they also have "legumeaphobia" or "twangaphobia."
While I don't think everyone who is anti-gay is homophobic, I believe there are people who genuinely fear gays or what they think an acceptance of gays will mean for them, their families, their marriages, and their society. They outright say so. And while I can agree that not *everyone* who is anti-gay is homophobic, I believe there are quite a few people who are actually afraid. If the AP were ceasing to use homophobic to describe *everyone* against gay rights (which I don't know that they ever really did,) and use it only to describe those who are outright fearful, that would seem completely reasonable and responsible. But outright banning the use of the term "homophobic" means they're left without an accurate word for those who are severely, irrationally afraid of gays. And those people exist.

And while we're discussing it, what's the alternative to "homophobic?" If the AP tries using "anti-gay," they're going to get the same sort of quibbling over words. How many Christians, especially of the sort who run and promote "ex-gay therapy" and camps, will say they hate the sin but love the sinner? We already hear that argument: they're not against gay people, just gay behavior. They love gay people.

Anti-gay-rights? Well, there are plenty out there that are arguing that they want gays to have the same rights as the rest of us - they just shouldn't have "special privileges." (That was practically a catch-phrase during the GOP primaries.) I mean, a gay guy is as free as the rest of us to marry someone of the opposite sex, right? Who is he to redefine marriage to suit him?

Heteronormative-supremist would suffer the same argument as "Anti-gay-rights," and I'll be honest, I just don't see it catching on.

Disallowing the word "homophobic" seems wrong to me because there are people who openly admit to basing their anti-gay stances on fears that the rest of us can plainly see are baseless and irrational. It should not be used, IMO, to mean just anyone who is against gay rights - only those who are afraid. But to do away with it altogether... what are they going to replace it with that's not going to get quibbled away based on the idea that not all hatred of gays comes from the same emotional place?
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:07 PM   #15
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If they are scared of their marriage falling apart, then use the word "Homo Scare" or "Gay Scare." They are scared of the non-heteronormative by the hatemongering of het-supremacists.

I guess the pitfall of all this is the word xenophobia. It is a broadly used term and is specific. Is it correctly being used and is it comparable to homophobia?
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:09 PM   #16
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What about the word "ban"? Because by my reading, the AP isn't banning that particular word--homophobia--at all. It's asking that all "phobia" words be used in an appropriate context. Yet people are saying AP has "banned" the word.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:20 PM   #17
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On the other hand, this could be a great step in the right direction. If enough major publications start using terms like anti-gay, it could have an impact on the way people speak and, as a result, how they think about it. Or not, but I'm feeling optimistic today.

I use AP all the time at work (editing) and I really like when they make carefully thought-out decisions and then update everybody about how/why they did it. Proves that they're always reconsidering things and evolving. I'm a total word geek though
What do you consider the right direction, though? I always thought of "homophobia" as a clever bit of propaganda that implies a hatred of gay people isn't normal and could only driven by an irrational fear of them.

The AP apparently finally figured that out, and wants to use more neutral wording that implies hatred of gay people is a normal, rational decision, deserving as much respect as any other.

So I see it as a way-too-late-to-be-effective attempt at giving more respect to people who have anti-gay opinions. I see it as a step in the right direction for precision in language, but a step in the wrong direction in that it gives more respect to those with prejudices.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:33 PM   #18
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I don't see how using the term "anti-gay" gives any more respect to somebody. To me, "phobic" makes them sound weaker, like it's something they can't help.

I do get your point about implying that they fear the group so much that it drives them to hate crimes. But I'm not getting the leap to saying that the wording makes it sound normal and rational. There's nothing normal or rational about a person who commits hate crimes.

ETA: Maybe what we really need is a word with the same weight as "racist" or "sexist" or "misogynist."
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:48 PM   #19
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:53 PM   #20
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What about the word "ban"? Because by my reading, the AP isn't banning that particular word--homophobia--at all. It's asking that all "phobia" words be used in an appropriate context. Yet people are saying AP has "banned" the word.
I clicked Slate's link to Politico, who broke the story, and got this:
Quote:
The online Style Book now says that "-phobia," "an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness" should not be used "in political or social contexts," including "homophobia" and "Islamophobia."
I didn't figure the words were going to banned in medical reviews, but in articles with political and social context, so the way I'm reading it, it's still pretty much a ban.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pup
The AP apparently finally figured that out, and wants to use more neutral wording that implies hatred of gay people is a normal, rational decision, deserving as much respect as any other.
How in the hell is a hatred of gays a "rational decision?"

And why would a blanket hatred of all gays deserve any more respect than a blanket hatred of all blacks, Jews, Christians, or women?
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Niiicola View Post
ETA: Maybe what we really need is a word with the same weight as "racist" or "sexist" or "misogynist."
Sexist works as het-supremacy is a subgroup of sexism.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:15 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
How in the hell is a hatred of gays a "rational decision?"

And why would a blanket hatred of all gays deserve any more respect than a blanket hatred of all blacks, Jews, Christians, or women?
Hatred of gays is a rational decision in that people believe certain things. It is things that they can't make heads or tails out of the origins of their fears that makes things irrational. People with hatred of gays rationalise their hatred with such things as "it's not normal" and "it is not healthy." It is not wholly rational but someone having a hatred of capitalists is not always based on completely rational thoughts.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:17 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Xelebes View Post
Hatred of gays is a rational decision in that people believe certain things. It is things that they can't make heads or tails out of the origins of their fears that makes things irrational. People with hatred of gays rationalise their hatred with such things as "it's not normal" and "it is not healthy." It is not wholly rational but someone having a hatred of capitalists is not always based on completely rational thoughts.
Fair enough, but that describes their thought process, not their actions.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:19 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Niiicola View Post

ETA: Maybe what we really need is a word with the same weight as "racist" or "sexist" or "misogynist."
heteronormative
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:19 PM   #25
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Hatred of gays is a rational decision in that people believe certain things. It is things that they can't make heads or tails out of the origins of their fears that makes things irrational. People with hatred of gays rationalise their hatred with such things as "it's not normal" and "it is not healthy."

"It's not normal" is not a rational reason for hating something.

"It's not healthy," when referring to how someone else is born, is not a rational reason for hating that person.

We wouldn't consider it a "rational decision" to hate everyone born with a weak, malfunctioning heart - which is neither "normal" nor "healthy," so how could it be a rational decision to hate gays based on what one considers "normal" or "healthy?"

Quote:
It is not wholly rational but someone having a fear of ebola is not always based on completely rational thoughts.
Ummm... not getting the point. I figure people who are scared of ebola are generally scared that they could catch it and it could kill them. Neither applies to homosexuality.
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