Bulging eyes. Swollen lips. Bare feet. Clownish facial expressions.
Many of us assumed that such hurtful racial images died in the 1960s with Jim Crow. But this week Bloomberg’s Businessweek magazine revived some of that racist iconography when it published a cover featuring Blacks as greedy, bug-eyed opportunists. Now, many politicians, pundits and Black leaders are crying foul.
Created by Minneapolis-based artist Andres Guzman, the cartoon cover art shows Blacks and Latinas gleefully clutching fistfuls of cash. An accompanying caption reads: “The Great American Housing Rebound: Flips. No-look bids. 300 percent returns. What could possibly go wrong?” The cover and caption imply that minorities are the crafty masterminds behind a new and disastrous housing bubble.
The cover and the magazine’s response are troubling on several fronts. Minorities rarely make the cover of mainstream business publications like Businessweek, so it’s disturbing that this rare occasion when minorities are featured, they are represented as money-grubbing doofuses.
As anyone with newsroom experience will attest, just about everything that goes into a news publication—and this is especially true of cover art—is carefully reviewed by the chief editors. Businessweek editor-in-chief Josh Tyrangiel all but admits that upper management signed off on the artwork. “Our cover illustration got strong reactions, which we regret,” Tyrangiel said in a press statement. “If we had to do it over again, we’d do it differently.”
Note how Tyrangiel takes pains to avoid the phrases “we apologize” or “we’re sorry.” He only states that he regrets the strong negative reactions the offensive cover received, which makes his statement an apology that isn’t.
Tyrangiel’s soggy statement follows a trusted conservative strategy: Utter or publish an offensive remark designed to appeal to your conservative base. When pundits call you out, issue a carefully worded statement that hints of an apology. The insincere pseudo-apology doesn’t receive nearly as much press coverage as the offending remark, and your conservative base delights in how you stuck it to the liberals.
Maybe Businessweek didn’t issue an outright apology because the cover art reflects the views of the magazine’s conservative owner, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. In 2011, Bloomberg told Occupy Wall Street protestors, “it was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis, it was… Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”
Of course, “people on the cusp” could mean any number of folks, but those of us experienced in coded racial language assumes that Bloomberg was referring mostly to Blacks and minorities. His statement is a reference to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which was enacted by the majority Democratic congress in 1977 . The CRA was designed to reduce discriminatory loan practices in minority and low-income communities, and data have shown that the Act has been “consistently successful” at meeting goals for mortgages, low-income housing tax credits, minority community grants, and more. A 2000 US Treasury report, several economists concluded that the CRA improved minority and low-income access to credit and mortgages.
Not that any of that matters to multibillionaires like Bloomberg. Though the deregulated banking and financial industries abused the CRA’s mandate to enrich themselves, many conservatives continue to point the finger at the very minorities hurt most by their greed.
(Photo: Bloomberg Businessweek)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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