Are you having trouble talking with friends and family about Islamophobia?
Are you taking action, and want to move others to take action alongside you?
Research shows that people are most likely to be receptive to what you have to say if you start with a positive value that you and your listener both share. You improve your chances of success if you explain the problem that you're trying to solve as a threat to that shared value, and then describe the action you want your listener to take as a solution to that problem. Your audience needs to find your message credible, informative, compelling, inspiring, and likeable.
There are lots of shared values that you could start with when it comes to taking action against the profiling and surveillance of Muslims. How do you know where to begin?
AFSC recently did a study to find out. Here are five messaging tips based on what we learned:
1. DO frame your message in terms of "respecting human rights," especially when you're talking to a progressive audience.
Try leading with a message like "Respecting human rights is an essential, universal value. We all benefit when we uphold the dignity and worth of all people." Then, frame profiling and surveillance as a threat to human rights, and your ask as a solution to that threat.
2. DO frame your message in terms of "safety and peace," especially when you're talking to a more moderate audience.
A message like "All of us deserve to feel safe from hatred and to live and pray in peace" is likely to help moderate listeners stay engaged. Then, frame the problem as a threat to safety and peace, and your ask as a solution to that threat.
3. DON'T frame your message in negative terms.
A message like "profiling and surveillance sow the seeds of hate" is more likely to make people shut down than inspire them to further action–even if they agree with you. Leading with a positive value, on the other hand, means you can frame the problem as a threat to that value, and the solution as a way to get back to the value that you and your listener share.
4. DO test out different frames and language to see what works best with your audience.
For example, consider combining the "respecting human rights" frame and "safety and peace" frame or experimenting with different ways to express them.
5. DO share these tips with others – people in your networks, on social media, or organizations that you work with.