Before we all jump on the “Bloomberg Businessweek is racist” bandwagon, let’s take a second to ask: Who actually drew that cover depicting four people, all apparently minorities, sitting on wads of cash?
I haven’t heard back from Guzman yet (will be sure to update if I do), but the artist, born in Lima, Peru and currently residing in Minneapolis, wrote on his blog that he “was asked to make an excited family with large quantities of money.” He added: “Drawing dollars was a drag.”
Sounds to me like it might have been Guzman’s decision to make the family members minorities — not Businessweek’s. And I have a hard time believing that a man from Latin America deliberately intended to portray minorities, including Latinos, in a negative light.
All that said, it’s surprising that no one at Businessweek took a minute to consider that the cover could be viewed as racist (and Ryan Chittum ably points out several reasons why it certainly appears that way). Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel told Jim Romenesko that “our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.”
Update, 4:35 pm: Bloomberg Businessweek just sent us this statement from Andres Guzman: “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.”Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison. Tags: Andres Guzman, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, housing bubble