It's truly shocking that in 2018 we still have to remind people that the face of terrorism is not confined to one skin color or religion, something that the U.S. News & World Report seems to have forgotten.
The news outlet has been slammed with backlash after using an image of a Sikh man to accompany an article headlined "How Terrorism Is Taught Around The World."
People took to social media to share their outrage, describing the use of the image as "irresponsible" and furthering an already false and extremely dangerous stereotype.
Dear @USNews,— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) January 26, 2018
Using this image of a Sikh in your article on 9/11 and terrorism is irresponsible and dangerous. Please take it down quickly. Please also invest in some cultural diversity training to ensure this doesn’t happen again.https://t.co/4aLyTSUQya pic.twitter.com/hDAp8qpwuQ
Dangerous journalism, contributing to religious illiteracy, fueling stereotypes, and contributing to discrimination and violence against Sikhs. I've written to the editors of @USNews and the author @sintiaradu, requesting that this inaccurate and consequential image be removed.— Nathan C. Walker (@revnate) January 27, 2018
.@USNews— BeautyIsAnimate (@beautyisanimate) January 27, 2018
I expect better from US News & World Report. Using the image of a Sikh with a story about terrorism is amateurish, irresponsible, and dangerous. I believe an immediate photo change, as well as an explanation and apology IN THE STORY are in order.
I’m so disappointed. https://t.co/v2CVFZqy85
"While the Sikh beard and turban are articles of faith that represent a commitment to justice and equality, they have frequently been falsely associated with terrorism in the media with devastating consequences," the Sikh Coalition stated to HuffPost. "Images and words matter and the U.S. News image plays into a dangerous narrative that can intensify hate directed at Sikhs. No community deserves to be the target of backlash and bigotry."
Following the backlash, the outlet replaced the image with one of the Twin Towers after the 9/11 attacks, but did not issue a public apology.
"It was brought to our attention that some users objected to a photo we published," the outlet's communications and public relations manager, Enxhi Myslymi, explained in an email to HuffPost. "We reviewed the image, took the photo down, and updated it with a new one within 24 hours. We appreciate our readers for flagging these images for us."
While replacing the image was the right move, U.S. News never should have had to do so in the first place. Using an image of a Sikh man and associating it with terrorism — though U.S. News claims it was a mistake — clearly shows that the outlet, when considering terrorism, first thinks of Sikhs and Muslims which plays into a false narrative.
Thank you for following up. We reached out to US News after the image was used. The media outlet switched out the image, & we are offering to work with US News to provide resources for accurate & positive coverage of the Sikh community. @HuffPost piece: https://t.co/HizQl5UIdP— Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) January 30, 2018
By using a Sikh man as the "face of terrorism" the outlet, whether intentionally or not, has placed a group of people in the direct line of discrimination and harm.
As a media source, U.S. News should think more critically about the images they use and the messages that they may be promoting, there is no other option.