Businessweek Let Its Provocative Design Go Too Far with This Racist Cover

Considering Bloomberg Businessweek's generally stellar covers, a lot of people are wondering how exactly this one with its absurd caricatures and racial undertones got through the editorial process.

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Considering Bloomberg Businessweek's generally stellar covers, a lot of people are wondering how exactly this one with its absurd caricatures and racial undertones got through the editorial process. Both Jamelle Bouie, who titles his post "This Is Why Journalism Needs more Diversity" and Wired's Steve Silberman think it might have something to do with what they suspect is an all-white top editorial and creative staff. "Honestly, it would be interesting to know if a single non-white editor had input into this," wonders Silberman on Twitter. The cover's illustrator, Andres Guzman, hails from Lima, Peru, and described his illustration process on his Tumblr: "I was asked to make an excited family with large quantities of money. I slipped in my lovely cat, Boo which was my favorite part. Too bad I wasn't asked to draw large quantities of cats. Drawing dollars was a drag." Update 7:00 p.m.: Guzman also offers the following explanation for his choice: The assignment was an illustration about housing. "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," he told The Atlantic Wire. A look on Guzman's blog shows that when drawing white caricatures he uses a similar style:

Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief Josh Tyrangiel and his creative director, Richard Turley, have made a name for the magazine with their provocative covers, though Tyrangiel likes to link them to the stories inside: "I'm glad that our covers have captured a lot of attention and that some people call them controversial, but that's really only because the stories themselves are controversial," he told AdAge last year. But this time the accompanying cover story doesn't quite match the outside, as our colleagues over at The Atlantic Cities point out. "The magazine's cover – and the story insinuated by it – bears no relation to the actual article contained inside (which has a notably less sexy headline online: "A Phoenix Housing Boom Forms, in Hint of U.S. Recovery")," writes Emily Badger. "That piece makes no mention of the racial dynamics of the housing market, or the role of predatory lending."

Tyrangiel hasn't clarified how the cover was conceived or how it made it through the edit process to newsstands, but he has (sort of) apologized — the provocateur officially regrets being provocative: "Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret," he said in a statement. "If we had to do it over again we'd do it differently."

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