Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I've got an interesting moral art dilemma for you: there is a recent cover of Bloomberg Businessweek that is causing a lot of controversy in the media. Is it racist? Is it stylized? Is it harmless/offensive/overblown/unbelievable? I would personally need to see some examples of the artists other works to start with, before coming to an opinion. If that style of distortion is just the artist's style, then I have no problem with the visuals of the cover.

The main argument is that the cover insinuates that minorities are responsible for a housing bubble by flipping houses and other such irresponsible practices that my non-economist brain doesn't understand. To that argument, I would need to read the article. If this article targets minority groups unfairly for irresponsible practices, without statistical data to back it up, then we have an argument. If the article is about the housing market in general, and the artist just happened to use non-white people in his cover, I don't see a problem with that. America is made up of a ton of people from a ton of different races, and all might be equally responsible for any looming housing bubble. There does appear to be a white girl in the cover, but it's hard to tell at such a low resolution. This might be just a good cross-section of the American public.

One thing you keep hearing about in children's publishing is that there are too many books about white kids and not enough books showing black kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids, redheads, etc. If (and remember I haven't read the article) this cover just shows a variety of races as a seeming coincidence, it might be just that. We as artists often come upon requests to use more "minority races" in our artwork, to make it more accessible to the entire American public. And forgive me, but such depictions can't always be favorable, if we're treating everyone equally. I am reminded of an article I read about children with Down Syndrome (which my sister has). The article was from a mother who wished others to stop calling her child a "little angel", to stop idealizing and stereotyping her child, even in a favorable way. Yes, her child was special, could be an angel at times, but could also be a little devil when she felt like it.

My post turned out to be less about this particular cover, and more about art and stereotypes in general. Remember, I haven't read the article, I don't know the specifics, I'm just judging this book based on it's cover. What do you think?

Bloomberg Businessweek Cover

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