A Bloomberg Businessweek cover that cross the line

Businessweek housing

Ryan Chittum of Columbia Journalism Review is critical of this week’s cover of Bloomberg Businessweek, which is says is racial.

Chittum writes, “The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons. 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.

“It’s a narrative that has, not coincidentally, dovetailed with ‘Obamaphone’ baloney, the ACORN pseudo-scandal, and Southern politicians calling the first black president ‘food-stamp president,’ and is meant to take the focus off the ultimate culprits: mortgage lenders with no scruples and the Wall Street banks who financed them.

“In fact, though, the record is clear: minorities were disproportionately targeted by predatory lending, which has always gone hand in hand with subprime. Even when they qualified for prime loans that similar-circumstance whites got, they were pushed into higher-interest subprimes.

“In other words, minority borrowers were disproportionately victimized in the bubble. But BusinessWeek here has them on the cover bathing in housing-ATM cash, implying that they’re going to create another bubble.”

Read more here.