Three Words that Do NOT Represent Bigotry or Stereotyping: Radical. Islamic. Terrorists.

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The willingness to admit that there is such a thing as radical Islamic terrorists is not a condemnation of Muslims. However, the unwillingness to even utter the words “radical Islamic terrorists” is a betrayal of reality and demonstrates an agenda that is more politically driven than security driven for the Democrats.

There is zero doubt that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders are aware that the vast majority of terrorists around the world are Muslims who have been radicalized to embrace the most heinous tenets of the Koran. This is factual and must be addressed as what it is. The fear that we will somehow regress to World War II mentalities of putting Japanese Americans in holding camps is ludicrous. In fact, addressing the situation for what it is represents an opportunity for conscientious Muslim Americans to embrace their patriotic duty to the country to report those of their faith who have potentially been radicalized.

As a Christian, I can look at Westboro Baptist Church and declare that they are radical Christian bigots. My shared faith with them does not give them a pass in my books to spread hate or espouse unpatriotic ideas. I wish that the Obama administration would give Muslim Americans the same opportunity to express the outrage that many of them feel over tragedies like the one that happened in San Bernardino.

It is political correctness that the enemy sees as our greatest weakness. They attack through that portal every opportunity they can get. They use it to degrade our values in a way that is much more effective than the President’s plan to degrade the Islamic State on the battle ground.

For the Democrats, they have to continue to bank on the idea that they can win the Muslim vote in November by not attaching their religion to the radical concepts associated with the minority of Muslims who have been radicalized. They are unwilling to confront the enemy as what it is and while that will likely win them some votes, it won’t help the United States win this war.

For those who believe we are not at war, remember that war is present even if only one side declares it. We are at war whether the President admits it or not. We are at war with the Islamic State directly who threatens our allies and assets in the Middle East. We are at war with those who will infiltrate the country through refugees. We are at war with those who are already here and making plans for lone wolf attacks or even coordinated attacks similar to what happened in Paris.

This is not about bigotry or stereotyping. It’s about prudence. Americans in general are not against Muslims in general and using the word “Islamic” in a phrase will not change this. The American people do not need to liberal PC police to try to change our perspectives. Are there bigots who are against all Muslims? Yes. Are there more who view this through the proper lens that there are those out there who have been radicalized and would do us harm? Absolutely. The use of the phrase will not change either group’s mind in one direction or the other.

We are at war, period. Allowing political correctness to prevent us from naming the enemy is unfair to patriotic Muslim Americans and insane as a political stance for the country. We need a wartime President.

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A Thousand Words

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shutterstock_256144651We’ve all heard the warning to never post pictures of yourself you wouldn’t want others to see. As far as this generation of those born with the internet are concerned, it’s the oldest rule in the reputation rulebook.

Are there any new rules revolving around pictures anymore?

The short answer is, “Yes.” This is further evinced by the fact that every major social media site asks for a profile picture of some sort. Beyond this are the various galleries that then provide you with more space to build your visual portfolio. Unfortunately, how to do this isn’t openly discussed much. It’s obvious you should have a good, high quality photo, and yes, there should be more than one, but how do you do this? Where do you even start?

The Search for a Snapshot

As a rule of thumb, all of your social media sites, blog sites and anything else with a personal profile should have the same photo of you and, if an option, the same picture for the banner space. This way, when people click to any site you are on, they will immediately have a general understanding of what to expect, reducing confusion.

How do you go about finding this one, perfect image?

The easiest route is to hire a photographer to take headshots for you. Instead of searching online, however, your best bet is to ask around your network, especially those that have pictures you like. Typically, they’ll have a go to photographer that potentially costs less than the competition. Once the appointment is scheduled, the photographer will give you a rundown of what you need to bring and what to expect. They’ll also feel out what you’re hoping to get from the shoot. Expect to bring a few outfit changes and have your hair done in a way you like.

The Stock Photo

Beyond a signature look, your blogs and other posts will do much better if there’s a visual story attached to them. Unless you have a professional photographer that takes shots specifically for your company, the best way you can do this is through the use of stock photography. Online, for free or for purchase, are innumerable amounts of photos just waiting to be used. Unfortunately, many companies misuse these photos, resulting in a very awkward or even legally detrimental situation. To avoid this, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

DO pick images that are directly related to the content. This can be as straightforward or as subtle as you want. For instance, you can write an article about leadership and either choose a photo of a CEO giving orders or an image of ducklings following their mother.

Don’t assume the audience will relate to a photo. The safest route is to go with an image you have no doubt the audience will understand. If you’re writing an article about job hunting, it’s best to avoid any stock photos of newspaper classifieds.

Do modify the pictures. Just because you’ve found a great addition to your article doesn’t mean you have to keep it exactly the same. Feel free to play around with adding text to otherwise clarify and enhance its usefulness. You can even crop out bits you don’t want to use. Just be sure to check the creative license of the photos you’re using since they might have very specific rules on what can or cannot be altered.

Don’t use just stock – not for your personal accounts (unless you’re using an image with text over it to emphasize a thought or quote). Remember, people are more interested in seeing your photos to get to know you in a more personal level.  Variety is the spice of life and with apps such as Instagram, you, too, can become a decent photographer. Take some time out of your day to practice snapping photos of things you plan on using in the future.

Do optimize images with text. When you go to add an image, sites will typically come with areas for you to attach phrases or keywords to the picture. This then helps its chances of appearing during image searches thereby increasing the likelihood of new people stumbling upon your site.

The Final Results

The thousand words a picture is worth is solely based on the story you choose to tell. In business, this means remaining as concise and focused as possible across all mediums. From a unified social image to adding visual storytelling to blog posts, your brand can become so much more with something as simple as showing the world you understand how to make connections on varying levels.

Take a look at our Recommended Sites to see what free and for fee photo sites and tools we recommend.


Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

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