The year we freed Isis

Let’s make 2016 the year we free Isis from the shackles of terror.

I’m not just talking about the goddess, whom some might argue can take care of herself.  There are many hundreds of businesses that have seen their names changed out of a very real concern of vandalism, including Isis Books and Gifts, or because it’s actually impacting business to have a name associated with a terror group.

Women, too:  it’s been considered a fortuitous name to give one’s daughters, at least until recently.  What kind of harassment must they be experiencing?

Heck, even a fictional spy agency got scrapped for that reason.  Petitions haven’t gained much traction in getting media outlets to shift how they cover this group, nor have statements, despite the fact that it’s not a name used by involved governments such as those of the United States and France.

I propose that in 2016, any who is bothered by the harm caused by this inaccurate name target NPR specifically, because as a member-supported agency its executives are theoretically more sensitive to reader concerns.

  • If you see something, say something:  comment on the Facebook story or Tumblr post, or contact the ombudsman.
  • Be polite, but firm:  “Don’t you think it’s time you start referring to this group by the generally-accepted Daesh by now?” or perhaps, “Using the name ISIS is really very 2015.”
  • Get personal, but not emotional.  If you are aware of suffering caused by the confusion, such as vandalism or threats, share that in one or two sentences.
  • If you’re a member, say so.  What will it take for you to renew?

If we start with NPR, and get a policy change by applying consistent pressure throughout 2016, then we will be empowered to take our case to another major news agency, like CNN, or MSNBC, or the New York Times.  We’ll save the Fox folks for last.

This isn’t just for the relatively few people who worship Isis.  It’s for anyone who has worked at, created, or patronized a business with Isis in its name.  It’s for anyone whose child, friend, parent, sibling, acquaintance, loved one, or self who is suffering because her name no longer seems beautiful.  It’s about respect.

It’s time we all step up.

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