The latest issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine has been criticized by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) for the use of racial and ethnic stereotyping in the artwork for a cover story on homeownership.
Ryan Chittum, deputy editor of CJR's business section, voiced an objection to the cover design for an article entitled, ‘The Great American Housing Rebound.’ In a column for The Audit section of CJR, Chittum argues that the magazine's cover image offers a demeaning view of African-American and Hispanic homeowners. (The cover is pictured left and can be clicked on for expanded viewing.)
‘The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons,’ Chittum wrote. ‘Also, because there are only people of color in it, grabbing greedily for cash. It's hard to imagine how this one made it through the editorial process. Compounding the first-glance problem with the image is the fact that race has been a key backdrop to the subprime crisis. The narrative of the crash on the right has been the blame-minority-borrowers line, sometimes via dog whistle, often via bullhorn.’
The cover was also denounced by Slate.com Moneybox columnist Matthew Yglesias.
‘The idea is that we can know things are really getting out of hand since even non-white people can get loans these days!’ Ygelsias says. ‘They ought to be ashamed.’
The magazine has not publicly responded to the criticism.