Racefail: Hugely Racist Businessweek Cover Comes From Minority Illustrator

The hunt for racism has become the new national sport in sectors of the “new media” media where BuzzFeed, Gawker, Slate and HuffPo contributors are expected to dig up at least two examples of horrible white privilege a week or their meth allowance gets cut back. And the Great Racism Hunt usually leads to lots of Racefails from the professional racefailers.

Businessweek’s cover about housing had all the expected ingredients. It was a cover. It featured minorities. And it was cartoonishly drawn.

At Slate, Matthew Yglesias jumped into action demanding an apology from Businessweek for their incredibly racist cover,  which according to him expressed the idea that, “The idea is that we can know things are really getting out of hand since even nonwhite people can get loans these days! They ought to be ashamed.”

Businessweek pointed out that the cover was not the result of a confab between the KKK and Hitler’s ghost, but was the work of a Peruvian illustrator.

Andres Guzman, the illustrator, wrote, “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.”

Caught in his very own racefail, Yglesias argued that such a cover might be fine for Peru, but was wrong for Politically Correct America.

“That’s understandable enough as far as it goes. Obviously, though, as Businessweek well knows someone else on the staff should have been able to see how this was going to look in the U.S. context.”

The problem is that Guzman, according to his Bio, grew up in Colorado… which is well within the U.S. context. With that Yglesias was forced to default to claiming that the Businessweek cover was racist because it seemed racist in his mind.

It’s pretty clear if you read the story that there’s genuinely no effort here to impugn minority homebuyers, but that’s certainly how I read the image, and I think it’s a very natural reading of it.

So Yglesias expected Businessweek to apologize because his reading of a minority illustrator’s cover was racist? Is there a better illustration of a living racefail?

But the Racefail doesn’t end there.

Hugo Balta, the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said the cover “continues to speak to the insensitivity of how minorities, and in this case Latinos, are being portrayed in media.”

The problem is that the “media” in this case was a Latino illustrator.

Gregory Lee Jr., the president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement, “The image that was published by Bloomberg Businessweek is just a microcosm of a bigger problem in the magazine industry — the lack of diversity.”

But the Businessweek cover was the result of diversity, giving Gregory Lee Jr his very own racefail.

  • Michael Copeland

    Labelling and name-calling have replaced substantive discussion. The result – an intellectual void.

  • Louise

    Were there complaints when President G W Bush in 2002 promoted minority home ownership (that helped to bring about the financial crisis) with this cartoonish mural?

  • JacksonPearson

    Race baiting is a massive failure. That card is so crumpled and worn out, that Americans have finally smartened up, and are sick of the delusional people that are insulting them with it. Leastwise, I am!

  • beez

    JacksonPearson, I'm not so sure that race-baiting is a massive failure. It seems to be working, if as I have often thought, Obama's agenda is to continue to divide Americans along race, class, and gender lines. The ultimate goal of such a plan is to destroy the country. Seems like he's well on his way to accomplishing that goal, though of course, he and his minions deny it was ever so. I have given up trying to understand this man, since he himself seems so confused, lately in particular. At first I thought that he was simply an evil man, a closet racist and a Marxist. Later I started to think that he truly believes that what he is doing is good, or even great for this country, in other words, he's delusional. After the last election, I believe he's probably a touch of both. In other words, he's literally mentally ill whether he's mentally ill or just plain evil. Our only hope, I think, is to get Americans of all races to see clearly just how mentally and emotionally unstable this man is.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Gregory Lee Jr., the president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement, “The image that was published by Bloomberg Businessweek is just a microcosm of a bigger problem in the magazine industry — the lack of diversity.”"

    But wait, you're complaining about a drawing depicting diversity. So the depiction of diversity is an illustration of the bigger problem in the magazine industry; lack of diversity? In other words the complaints have no merit but you couldn't say it directly?

  • Mary Sue

    The Identity Politics crowd has always insisted, "If I THINK it's racist, it's racist. If a POC (person Of Color) thinks it's racist, it's RACIST. Oh, you didn't intend it to be racist? Well too bad, intent is not magical, therefore it's still racist."

    Distilled down to "Its wacist cuz it hurt my widdle feelings boo hoo".