Is This Businessweek Cover Racist?

Take a minute to process the illustration below, which is the cover of this week’s edition of Bloomberg Businessweek.


Got it? Four African Americans, it appears, in various absurd stereotypical poses. The son is zoned out, wearing headphones, feeding a dog a bowl full of money; the daughter has an angry look, a weird come-hither hand gesture, and seems to be fanning her face with money; the mother is ecstatic at her sudden good fortune; and the father is running barefoot through a house of money while clutching a fistful of bills and making googly eyes.

Others have noticed, too. Slate’s Matthew Yglesias points out:

Bloomberg Businessweek is a genuinely great magazine that does an amazing job of making business and economics news accessible and interesting, but this way of illustrating a cover story about the return of aggressive mortgage lending products is really something else.

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.

On February 21, Richard Turley, Bloomberg Businessweek’s creative director, tweeted this:

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 1.22.55 PM

His tweet didn’t seem to incite any anger at the time, but since the magazine hit the stands there’s been a flood of indignant reaction to the cover. We reached out to Mr. Guzman, and left a message with the magazine’s editorial department, but haven’t yet received a comment.

Josh Tyrangiel, the magazine’s editor in chief, told Yahoo News, “If we had to it over again, we’d do it differently.”

On a lighter note, William Davis, a producer for AM950 radio, had this to say in the comments section of

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 1.01.04 PM Is This <em>Businessweek</em> Cover Racist?