Bloomberg Businessweek Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Magazine Cover

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s media group has apologized for its February 21 cover of Bloomberg Businessweek over complaints that it used racist imagery to illustrate the feature story on the housing market.

With a title of “The Great American Housing Rebound: Flips. No-look bids. 300 percent returns. What could possibly go wrong?,” the cover illustration featured Latino and African American American caricatures awash in a sea of government money.

The image was criticized as racist by several organizations and media outlets.

Ryan Chittum of the Columbia Journalism Review praised Bloomberg Businessweek for being “edgier than its predecessor,” but went on to say that the February cover was over the line.

“The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons,” Chittum wrote. “Also, because there are only people of color in it, grabbing greedily for cash. It’s hard to imagine how this one made it through the editorial process.”

Emily Badger of The Atlantic pronounced the image “offensive.”

In a Feb. 28 post, Badger wrote, “[W]e still can’t decide what’s most offensive about it: the caricature of the busty, sassy Latina, the barefooted black man waving cash out his window, that woman in the upstairs left-hand corner who looks about as dim-witted as her dog?”

The National Association of Black Journalists also weighed in on the magazine cover.

After claiming that there isn’t enough “diversity” in the magazine industry, NABJ President Gregory Lee, Jr. slammed the illustration.

“Being controversial is one thing, but this cover is clearly offensive and demeaning,” said Errin Haines, NABJ Vice President-Print. “What is the message this cover seeks to convey to readers? And who thought this was a good idea? That such an image would be published by a magazine of the stature and exposure of Bloomberg BusinessWeek suggests that there was no one with the cultural sensitivity or awareness in the room to step in before this cover made it to press. While that fact is problematic, this incident presents an opportunity to prevent such oversights in the future, and NABJ stands ready to help the magazine bring more diversity to its masthead.”

Rinku Sen, president of the Applied Research Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “racial justice,” called the image “egregious.” She also called it “straightforwardly racist” and “an extreme take on the ‘freeloader’ image.”

Colorlines, a website dedicated to “race matters,” also put out a statement.

“What’s sad about this cover is that it’s obsessed with perpetuating racial stereotypes rather than telling the truth. Greed did bring down the housing market but it was the rapaciousness of Wall Street rather than communities of color,” said Imara Jones, the economic justice contributor at Colorlines.com. “As financial institutions, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo have admitted to the Justice Department in court settlements, their predatory lending practices of steering credit worthy blacks and Latinos into bogus financial products is what collapsed our economic system. According to Wall Street itself, racism is what destroyed the American dream for millions.”

The artist contracted to create the image is himself a minority and said he meant nothing racist at all and was simply depicting the sort of people he grew up with.

Artist Andres Guzman, a native of Peru, told Slate’s Matt Yglesias, “I simply drew the family like that because those are the kind of families I know. I am Latino and grew up around plenty of mixed families.”

In the end, Bloomberg Businessweek issued an apology as reported by Politico.

“Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret,” Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel said. “Our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.”

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Posted by on March 5, 2013.
Filed under corruption, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Economics, Liberals, Media, Race.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com "The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • jim_m

    That’s right. Blacks were the victims of a system. It wasn’t the banks that were forced to make bad loans by a hyperpartisan and ideologically blinded left wing Congress and federal bureaucracy. It wasn’t the millions of tax payers who got left on the hook. It was only the minorities who tried to game the system.

    • Bill Stanton

      Yeah, the banks and speculators made NO money off any of that. Nobody bet against the evil working class people who were offered every fair and legal opportunity to pay their loans. Scumbag elitist banker conservative asshole.

      • jim_m

        Hey, if they were paying their loans then they have no problems and they have nothing to complain about. It is the people who got foreclosed upon, who shouldn’t have received loans, who would not have been offered loans except for government intervention through the CRA, it is those people who tried to take advantage of the system and lost.

  • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

    Oh, gee. We can’t have an illustration that shows minorities being wealthy, now can we?

    [/sarc]

    • Bill Stanton

      Yeah, that’s all it shows. Wealthy minorities. There’s nothing else about that picture that’s racist at all…

  • Commander_Chico

    Should have drawn bigger boobs on the Latina.

  • GarandFan

    So a Hispanic individual drew the cartoon. And he’s a racist? I must be losing it. I thought that liberals believed that no minority person could be racist.

  • herddog505

    Color me cynical, but I suggest that, had the Bloomberg cover featured only white people with same exagerated, idiot expressions, THAT would have been RAAAAACIST, too.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. A pretext would have been found for ‘racism’ no matter what. And in the end, the problem and its causes are ignored and nothing is changed. The cycle perpetuates – because nobody dares mention the subject or be accused of racism.

      The supposed racism, of course, is the least important part of the whole thing – but it’s a convenient excuse for sweeping it all under the rug. Because the problem doesn’t exist if you don’t – or can’t – talk about it

      • Bill Stanton

        There was no pretext needed. It’s clearly racist just by itself. I’m white, middle aged and it’s incredibly offensive to me. There’s no excuse for this, and the fault doesn’t somehow lie with those who take offense. Bully douchebag mentality, nice try but no cigar.

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          It worked, didn’t it? It shut off any consideration of the problem as presented in the article.

          You’re not thinking about the problem as it exists, you’re not examining what factors may cause problems down the road.

          Instead, you’re “incredibly offended” by a peripheral issue.

          Congratulations. You’ve been completely distracted by teh shiny.

  • Bill Stanton

    Fat old white males whining that they can’t be blatant about their abject racism, so you go on the warpath citing ‘himself a minority’ (like that has anything to do it) and how Banks are innocent in the housing scam and resulting mortgage atrocities and massive transfer of wealth we’re still seeing nationwide.

    Bunch of day trading vampire trash. Your days are numbered, folks. Dance on the backs of the working scum and non-whites while you can, because it’s about to collapse in on you. And this white middle-aged guy is going be glad ‘our’ time has finally ended.

    • Vagabond661

      “Fat old white males whining that they can’t be blatant about their abject racism”

      Well if that ain’t the pot calling the kettle racist.

      • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

        Take a look at his profile and his posts – he’s a little drop of sunshine everywhere he decides to drop a load. Not quite a one-post wonder, but he’s certainly consistent.

  • puhiawa

    Meh

  • Brucehenry

    Mr Stanton may be a little strident, but he’s right about this magazine cover.

    Look, I get you guys bemoaning what you call “political correctness.” And I get your instant reflex to kneejerk-shout “your race card is overdrawn!” But COME ON, fellas.

    If THIS magazine cover isn’t racist, WTF would be?

    Maybe this?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH4ivOyO0PQ

    Warner Bros. didn’t MEAN anything malicious, you know?

    • jim_m

      Sorry bruce. When everything is racist, nothing is.

      The left didn’t mean to make racism a meaningless concept. But they did none the less.

      • Brucehenry

        Oh, yeah, that was apt.

        • jim_m

          Thanks. I thought so.

      • Commander_Chico

        Pot/kettle.

        You’re as freaking bad as anyone in your bugbear “the left” claiming racism with regard to you helping to make “anti-semite” meaningless.

        • jim_m

          I don’t call everyone an anti-semite. Pretty much just you. If you didn’t blame everything on the Joos I wouldn’t call you that.

    • retired.military

      I had a friend tell me that Obama with a Hitler moustache was racist (you remember the Lyndon Larouche Obama poster).

      I pointed out that LaRouche was a democrat and that this kinda stuff was done to Bush all the time.

      He never changed his mind on the subject.

      • Brucehenry

        Fine. Obama with a Hitler mustache isn’t racist. (Obama in witch doctor garb is, though.) And this magazine cover, if not INTENTIONALLY racist, is so fucking cluelessly racist I’m surprised even a troglodyte like Warner doesn’t see it.

        And, also too, saying that “the left has made racism a meaningless concept” over and over doesn’t make it so. Some shit is still racist.

        Like this cover.

        You guys know what clueless racism is, right?

        http://www.cracked.com/article_15677_the-9-most-racist-disney-characters.html

        • jim_m

          Yes, some things are still racist. However, when using the term “niggardly” is also racist then (to use a turn of phrase beloved by the left) “What difference does it make?”

          I am so beyond caring about left wing accusations of racism that unless someone is burning crosses in peoples’ yards I really don’t give a damn what you are saying is racist.** It isn’t that things aren’t really racist anymore, it’s that the accusation is so meaningless that I simply won’t credit it for anything but the most severe, violent, public and obvious expressions of racism.

          Plus, when the left routinely heaps racist abuse on black and Hispanic conservatives, they have zero credibility to complain about this stuff. This is mild compared to the crap the left puts out against every single conservative minority figure.

          You guys want to stop racism? Go look in the mirror and begin there.

          [edit]—————————
          ** Seriously, do you really think that if someone burned a cross in Herman Cain’s yard that there would not be a large segment of the left saying that he deserved it? Half the left would blame him and the other half would ignore it.

          • Brucehenry

            Well, then, it’s a good thing that people don’t judge what’s racist and what’s not by What Jim Is Sick And Tired Of.

            BTW, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Bloomberg Businessweek, as an organization, is racist. What the controversy is about is more like “How fucking clueless can these guys be? Do they not recognize how racist this looks?”

            And if they can’t recognize this, why should anyone trust them for investment analysis, etc? They’re obviously fucking stupid.

          • jim_m

            That Bloomberg is stupid is not exactly a secret. After all, they are owned by the Nanny in Chief.

            The distinction between Bloomberg is racist and Bloomberg’s cover art is racist is just as meaningless as the complaint of racism itself. As I said, when everything is racist then nothing is.

            If you are going to whine about a magazine cover but ignore the racial slurs cast at people such as Condoleeza Rice, Nikki Haley and others, then your complaint deserves nothing but contempt.

          • Brucehenry

            You “up-vote” yourself, don’t you?

          • jim_m

            No I don’t actually.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            There he goes projecting again…

          • herddog505

            BrucehenryI don’t think anyone is suggesting that Bloomberg Businessweek, as an organization, is racist. What the controversy is about is more like “How fucking clueless can these guys be? Do they not recognize how racist this looks?”

            I guess crimestop hasn’t taken hold at Bloomberg.

            Yet.

          • Brucehenry

            News That Jim Imagines Would Happen.

    • herddog505

      Is it “racist” or simply stupid?

      It looks to me – as well as anybody can assign a race to some of the horrid carichatures drawn – that the only race NOT depicted is Asian. Or is it my imagination that the fat, piscine woman on the first floor is white?

      As I see it, here are the problems with crying “RAAAAACISM!” in this case:

      1. We’ve heard it so friggin’ often that it has no meaning. What ISN’T RAAAAACIST to the grievance mongers????

      2. As I wrote above, it seems to me that more than one race is depicted; none is being singled out;

      3. There’s the question of intent. Do you honestly think that the cartoonist was trying to make a racial statement? Are white people the only ones who are involved in “the great American housing rebound”? What do you really think was in his mind when he drew the picture?

      As we learned some years ago when Sen. Robert KKK Byrd uttered the phrase, “white nigger” on national television, INTENT is important. Byrd, being a good democrat, couldn’t POSSIBLY have had a racist intent.

      I suggest that the cartoonist here, as well as the layers of editors and fact-checkers at Bloomberg, didn’t, either.

      I further suggest that JLawson is right: the (lefty) grievance mongers aren’t so upset about the RAAAAACIST cartoon as they are about somebody shining a light on the shabby mortgage industry. Having bullied the banks into making bad loans (because to look at credit histories and job histories and the like is RAAAAACIST, you know), the last thing they want is for people to realize that the same factors that contributed to the ’07 / ’08 meltdown are being recreated. What better way to deflect attention from MORE bad lending practices than to cry “RAAAAACISM!”

    • jim_m

      It occurs to me that quite a few of those representations were actually caricatures of people or radio/movie characters in the media of the day. How many blacks played these stereotype characters back in the 30′s?

      Funny how the left is always tripping over themselves to explain and apologize for the differences in culture between the west and elsewhere, but adamant in their refusal to understand their own culture within the context of the time in which it happened.

      Black people portraying these stereotypes in film are no different from the blacks in today’s media calling each other the n word. We don’t call them racist. We should consider when these examples come from and judge them by the standard of their day rather than force on them a standard of today. Of course these would never be done today. But that is not the point. The point is that you use a foreign standard to judge a culture. You wouldn’t do that with people from Malaysia. You shouldn’t here. (unless you really want to be a hypocrite, I hadn’t thought of that possibility)

      Even the NAACP gave an award to Stepin Fetchit. If they can get over it you sure as hell should.

  • Anita Justice

    Why can’t ya’ll just be NIGGARDLY with the ‘racist’ comments??? I don’t see anything ‘racist’ about his drawing!