Bloomberg Businessweek under fire for 'racist' cover

The magazine depicts minorities in a house filled with cash. Sadly, the mortgage crisis disproportionally affected minority homebuyers.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 28, 2013 5:01PM
Cover of latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek ( Bloomberg Businessweek via Slate, http://aka.ms/BusinessweekCover)
 Bloomberg Businessweek has caused an uproar for using offensive stereotypes of minorities to illustrate a story on the housing rebound.

The magazine has expressed regret over the cover of last week's issue, which featured images of minorities, including a barefoot black man with exaggerated features, grabbing wads of cash in a house overflowing with money. 

An African-American woman with large lips is shown feeding a dog. In other rooms of the house, Latino women are grabbing and holding cash. The cover features this headline: "The Great American Housing Rebound. Flips. No-look bids. 300 percent returns. What could possibly go wrong?"

Reaction on Twitter was scathing. Matt Yglesias of Slate wrote: "If you like your business news spiced up with racism, turn to the latest @businesweek cover." Forbes' Jeff Bercovici added: "What can everyone who had anything to do with this Businessweek cover have been thinking?"

The Huffington Post described the cover as "racist chic."

Writing on the website of the Columbia Journalism Review, Ryan Chittum noted that minorities were targeted by predatory lenders responsible for part of the housing bubble. Many who qualified for conventional mortgages were pushed into risky, high-cost, subprime loans, a fact that the Businessweek cover fails to point out.

"In other words, minority borrowers were disproportionately victimized in the bubble," he writes. "But Businessweek here has them on the cover bathing in housing-ATM cash, implying that they’re going to create another bubble. That’s not okay."


Josh Tyrangiel, Bloomberg Businessweek's editor-in-chief, expressed regret over the uproar. "Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret," he wrote in a statement sent to Politico. "Our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we'd do it differently."

The artist reportedly behind the image, Andres Guzman, writes on his Tumblr page that he "was asked to make an excited family with large quantities of money."

Both the NAACP and the National Association of Black Journalists had no immediate comment.

More on moneyNOW


432Comments
Feb 28, 2013 6:36PM
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Actually, if you get a bigger image of it online, they purposely toned down the black man's lips so that they're really thin, to avoid, just this kind of phony controversy.

The black woman has sorta big lips, but in a cartoony way that all women do, not just blacks.

Nothing racist here, folks.  A FULL PARDON.

And don't worry, next time, they'll just show 2 white couples, and then you'll whine that it's not diverse enough.

Feb 28, 2013 6:22PM
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A black guy grabbing money isn't racist. It's only racist if he's grabbing a bucket of fried chicken. :D
Feb 28, 2013 6:46PM
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The artist Andres Guzman is a Hispanic. What???? It was a satire and many blacks do have large

lips. So what? I am tired of all the racist comments. No, not being a racist. I'm tired of everybody calling everything people do or say as racist. SHUT UP!

Feb 28, 2013 6:18PM
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People use the word "racism" to loosely. Hang Four American Indians out of those compartments and nothing will be said. I'm sick of this word. Get over it and live your life as God intends.
Feb 28, 2013 6:51PM
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What's wrong with a little comedy about blacks? I saw a black comedian on the movie channel about a week ago. Every other word he used was "****." Nobody said a word. In fact, the mostly black crowd was laughing. If a white guy had done the same thing, there would have been riots! Political correctness is stupid and very ignorant. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!!
Feb 28, 2013 6:55PM
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Oh pleeease.  The idiot that started this was just getting publicity for his stupidity.

 

The minorities want racism to stay alive and well because they capitalize on it.

Feb 28, 2013 6:46PM
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RACISM IS THE WORD USED BY THE IGNORANT. THEY THINK THEY NOW HAVE MADE A POINT. IM IN THE MORTGAGE BUSINESS AND WE WERE FORCED TO GIVE EVERYBODY A LOAN NO MATTER IF THEY QUALIFIED OR NOT...ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY WERE A MINORITY.

HOW YOU LIKE IT NOW HOUSING MARKET? LETS DO IT AGAIN

Feb 28, 2013 7:00PM
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GROW UP People!  The cry of racism is so overused.  I guess it is okay when black comedians call white people crackers!  Thats not racism(lol)! 
Feb 28, 2013 6:57PM
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This is stupid. Why does everbody have to be so darn sensitive. Cry fowl over the most innocent of things. Get over it stupid whiney people

Feb 28, 2013 7:00PM
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nothing racists about any of it....it's the truth
Feb 28, 2013 7:09PM
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would they be  yelling racism if they were white? every time there is something that black doesn't like,it's racism.
Feb 28, 2013 6:54PM
Feb 28, 2013 6:58PM
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Get over it.  They are cartoon characters.  F*(king clowns are trying to stir up more race related issues.  What is going on?  All I read about is queers and race.  Seems like no one can get through a day without crying foul because they're gay or of color. 

 

Feb 28, 2013 7:03PM
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Just another example of racial schizophrenia that the media loves to use for the shock value. Useless and worthless. Skip it. 
Feb 28, 2013 7:12PM
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The people who are complaining about this cover are the TRUE racists.......Get over it & Keith Lilly, you are not only a racist, you are also a moron.....
Feb 28, 2013 6:54PM
Feb 28, 2013 7:15PM
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Haha this is funny, I have a black sister and two Mexican sisters so of course I'm not racist at all, but I've read 3 racist stories today on MSN and Yahoo, the word racist is being thrown around a lot lately.

Feb 28, 2013 6:54PM
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The woman with the biggest lips by far in the larger image of the mag cover is supposed to be the Latino? woman.

Not either of the darker skinned people on the cover.

Feb 28, 2013 7:20PM
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Have you watched UNIVISION lately? Just observe the advertisements, for there's hardly any dark skinned person. Most of the people in the ads are blondes and light skinned, blue eyed individuals, while the majority of Latino population is brunette
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