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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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