Racist Magazine Cover Sparks Outrage

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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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