Here's a general rule for reporters and editors: When writing about machete-wielding men shouting racial slurs, you can use the term "racist" to describe them instead of focusing on their music interests.
The UK tabloid Mirror recently reported an incident in which a 27-year-old man was jailed after he threatened to "chop up" a Muslim taxi driver near a Justin Bieber concert.
The suspect, identified as Shaun Murray, flew into a fit of rage when a taxi driver, who is Muslim, reportedly asked him to move his car, which was parked in an area designated for taxis.
In response, Murray shouted: "They are dirty Muslims, they are baby killers, they carry nail bombs" before threatening to "chop up" the driver with a machete.
Fortunately, some bystanders intervened and successfully tackled Murray to the ground before he could hurt someone. He was later arrested and jailed for 10 months for making "religiously aggravated threats and possession of an offensive weapon."
Now, instead of focusing on the blatantly racist rhetoric of the man — and the fact that he threatened to kill another man — the Mirror reported on how Murray "traveled more than 300 miles to Cardiff to see the Canadian singer in concert at the Principality stadium."
Had it been a person of color or a person of color who was Muslim wielding a machete, threatening to kill a person, the headlines would have been drastically different.
Many on Twitter pointed out the unmistakable white privilege in the Mirror's reporting:
'Justin bieber fan' is a hell of a euphemism for 'white terrorist' https://t.co/WkbTE6sQbT— sarah mc (@sazza_jay) August 9, 2017
"justin bieber fan" ok really trying to understand what's the correlation and how would that be even slightly relevant. pic.twitter.com/HDr6kW9i5A— myra (@haiIeybaldwins) August 9, 2017
I just wanna know what conversation took place to make the editor write Justin Bieber fan instead of racist https://t.co/axQN3ymUZw— Thayef (@ThayefW) August 9, 2017