The Stigmatization Fallacy

Sunday, 20 March 2011 16:12 Nicolai Sennels

The “Stigmatization Argument”: The silliest argument in the integration debate.

For too long, the “Stigmatization Argument” has been allowed to dominate integration debate — without being challenged, despite the argument’s lack of logic and basic knowledge about human behavior. 

 Undocumented pocket psychology

The stigmatization argument is based on a round of undocumented amateurishly misunderstood Freudian nonsense that “pressure begets back pressure” and that the anti-social behavior of Muslim immigrants is therefore a natural (and thus fair?) response to criticism from their surroundings. Supporters of the stigmatization argument thus create their own illogical and self-confirming model of integration problems — since the anti-social behavior leads indeed to more criticism (citizens’ expressed doubts about the chances of successful integration; journalists reporting about crimes committed by Muslims — often described as “Asians”, “immigrants”, or simply “youths” in the media; politicians demanding stricter immigration rules and tougher laws), which then (according to the stigmatization argument) is the direct cause of even more anti-social behavior.

The stigmatization argument can be described as a false “fire triangle of integration” in this way:

1. Criticism
2. Feeling of stigmatization
3. “Natural” anti-social reaction

Leading to:

1. More criticism…

…and round and round we go.

According to “stigmatization theorists” this evil fire triangle of integration can only be broken if the media, politicians and non-Muslims stop criticizing Muslims’ anti-social behavior. As anyone with a minimum of knowledge of human behavior and psychology knows, long lasting-changes in behavior only occur when people themselves realize their problematic behavior, want to change, and have the emotional and intellectual surplus to change.

A realistic triangle of integration would look like this:
- - - - - - - - -
1. Western societies natural demands for integration and adaptation to Western standards of behavior for immigrants
2. Muslims’ feeling of victimization
3. Muslims’ childish and socially unacceptable behavior

Leading to:

1. More demands for socially acceptable behavior (which most Muslims can not live up to)

…and round and round we go.

Thus the only lasting and reasonable way to brake this circle is that that anti-social Muslims drop their victim mentality (called “sense of stigmatization” by the stigmatization theorists) and make use of democratic and socially acceptable ways of living and handling criticism. Clearly the followers of the stigmatization argument do not possess such natural and humane expectations of Muslims.

Instead they focus on the third corner of the triangle — the corner which is about criticism. This way of thinking thus argues that problems only end when we stop “stigmatizing” immigrants by criticizing them. Put it another way: If we stop pointing out the serious problems in Muslim families, Muslim-dominated areas, and Islam, then the problems will disappear by themselves.

Integration problems cannot be silenced to death. Actually, I would go so far as to suggest that the problems can only be solved by talking about them, by “saying the troll’s name”.

What do you think?

Dr Nicolai Sennels is a Danish psychologist who worked for several years with young criminal Muslims in a Copenhagen prison. His book “Among Criminal Muslims: A psychologist’s experiences with the Copenhagen Municipality.” compares mental characteristics of Danish and Muslim teenagers. The book’s description of the psychological profile of the Muslim culture kick-started the Danish debate on Muslim culture and its relationship with high Muslim crime rates and raised the serious question: Will Muslim integration ever happen to the necessary extent? The book will be out in English later this year.

Dr Sennels can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This article was originally posted at The Gates of Vienna

Picture below - A message-poster sent to AIM by Dr Sennels (free for distribution)

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 March 2011 17:23