An illustration published with the headline “The Great American Housing Rebound,” the cover is being called racist by people across the Internet. Now the NAACP has chimed in with its thoughts.
“It’s racist and a mischaracterization,” the organization’s senior director of economics tells New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer. “They are clearly racializing the issue by having mostly Blacks and Latinos, possibly only Blacks and Latinos, benefiting.”
Now the editor of the magazine, Josh Tyrangiel, says he has “regrets” about publishing it. Of course this is after getting what he calls “strong reactions.” One wonders if he would’ve had as many “regrets” if fewer people complained.
The subhead of the cover reads, “Flips. No-look bids. 300 percent returns. What could go wrong?” Some say it implies that minorities are causing economic trouble.
“The claim that minorities are creating a housing bubble through flipping, no-look bids, and 300% returns is simply not reality,” Yahoo News quotes from HousingWire.com. “Flipping is a form of fraud and not a typical transaction. No-look bids are not exclusive to Hispanic and African-American investors. No one is making a 300% return.”
Andres Guzman, a Peruvian artist who now lives in Minnesota drew the cover. He’s said in a statement that he made the drawing the way he did because “those are the kind of families I know.” He went on in his statement to call it a “mixed” family.
The online magazine Slate actually got the ball rolling on the backlash with the headline “Businessweek Warns That Minorities May Be Buying Houses Again.” (Which makes you wonder who’s reader the magazine and whether they were shocked.) We looked for the story online quickly and couldn’t find it. Slate writer, Matthew Yglesias, says the story actually makes no mention of minorities. “Obviously, though, as Businessweek well knows someone else on the staff should have been able to see how this was going to look in the U.S. context,” he writes. Seriously.