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The Past and the Future

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In a world where the key provision of the Voting Rights Act is about to be overturned, repealing civil rights won with the bloodshed of thousands of victims, it’s hardly surprising that open racism would come back into vogue. Take the brand-new cover of Bloomberg Businessweek:

Plutocrat created, Scalia approved!

To quote Yglesias: “The idea is that we can know things are really getting out of hand since even nonwhite people can get loans these days! They ought to be ashamed.”

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  • JKTHs

    All they’re missing is a Fannie Mae logo.

    • David W.

      It’s where the warm place to shit is.

      • Origami Isopod

        +1 for the Butz ref.

  • Malaclypse

    It can’t be racist, as nobody involved personally killed Emmett Till.

    • But defending the murder of Emmitt Till, why that will make you a respected conservative blogger!

      • John

        McCain wasn’t defending *the murder* per se. He was just saying that Emmitt Till had a mouth on him and needed to be taught a lesson. Totally respectable.

        • The Neo-Confederate McCain

          I’m sure the Lord would agree with me. Specifically Jeffrey Lord.

          • Cody

            Well played…

  • ironic irony

    Have they never seen HGTV? IIRC, all the house flippers are white.

    So I guess white people never lose their homes or assets. Just ask the victims of Bernie Madoff.

    • sparks

      Ask my next door neighbor, er, my ex-next door neighbor.

  • Sherm

    That’s so over the top racist that it can almost pass for satire.

    • NonyNony

      If you told me that had been published by the Onion as a mocking commentary on the underlying racism of business magazines blaming the housing crisis on minorities, I would have thought it was too on-the-nose to be the Onion.

      Clearly I would have been right, but for the wrong reasons.

  • JoyfulA

    I got spam the other day, promising to teach me how to flip houses. I thought it had somehow managed to wiggle out of the spam filter after a decade.

    • I always liked the ones with random blocks of text from literature or something else to evade the spam filter.

      • Origami Isopod

        I miss the really improbable names in the “To:” line.

  • DrDick

    Of course this totally misses the reality that African Americans suffered far greater losses (even though their home are worth less on average) than whites.

    • Rick Santelli

      All the more reason that Fannie and Freddie shouldn’t have promoted bad behavior and caused the housing bubble by giving those people mortgages! The whole world financial crisis would have been avoided with just a little more redlining!

      • Spud

        You mean the bad behavior of speculators, builders, and underwriting departments of banks. Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with the creation of mortgage backed securities, fraudulent ratings and selling them to institutions.

        Nor did they have anything to do with tactics by banks DESIGNED to ensure foreclosure. In a rising market, these banks were able to constantly underwrite homes over and over again with different people. Since prices were always going up, they made a shitload of cash.

        Considering the housing collapse started in affluent mostly white communities in California and Florida, the blaming of minorities for the housing bubble bursting is fiction, misdirection and gives a great excuse for bigoted notions without much social sanction.

        • Shakezula

          upvote x infinity.

        • Sherm

          Agreed. And to the extent that minority borrowers played a greater role than white borrowers (which might be true in some geographic regions and which is patently false in most), it was only because white investors were paying them cash to serve as straw men borrowers at fraudulent closings with the tacit approval of the lenders which didn’t give a shit bc they were flipping the loan at closing for a profit.

  • Red_cted

    All this really shows is that Cholas, gangbangers and trailer trash can participate in the American dream of grabbing huge wads of cash so what’s the problem? Nome sane?

  • L.M.

    This is unfair. It’s ludicrous to blame individual homeowners for the systemic destruction of the global economy, and Bloomberg knows it: Bloomberg is simply highlighting the contributions that people of color have made to our nation’s most powerful financial institutions. The African-American gentleman at lower right is a Senior Vice President at JPMorgan Chase. The woman at upper right (counting her money, of course!) is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. The dog is in charge of compliance at Barclays.

    • Shakezula

      Aah. A little snark makes things better.

      Thanks. (Really.)

      • BlueLoom

        ^^^^^THIS

    • Hob

      I would award you the Internet for this, except that that dog is obviously white.

      • Njorl

        Also, dogs are way too vigilant to be compliance officers.

        • BigHank53

          Yeah, the dogs mostly work for the ratings agencies.

          “A biscuit? You’re going to give me a biscuit!!? OH YEAH!!! I’ll roll over! I’ll play dead! I’ll rate all these securities as AAA+!! BISCUIT!!”

    • witless chum

      Naw, the dog at the the racist caricture’s right hand ran. AIG. On her left is who was in charge at the bond ratings agencies.

    • Spud

      You forgot AMBest, Moodys and Standard and Poors for their bullcrap ratings for mortgage backed securities as well.

  • Shakezula

    Normally I can manage a chuckle and an eyeroll at this fuckery, but this shit makes me so angry I feel dizzy. I looked at the woman feeding her dog a bowl of money once and … let’s just say it is a miracle my monitor is still intact.

    I suspect it is because lizard-brains nyuck nyucking over a poorly-constructed Obama eating a watermelon photoshop is a looong fucking step from the cover of the fucking Bloomberg BW.

    Where, I’m sure I don’t need to point out, this bullshit would have gone through multiple levels of review. And even if one person said “Whoa, we can’t run this? What the fuck is wrong with you?” that sane person was overridden.

    And may I say I am not looking forward to the bullshit “Gorsh folks, we sure don’t know how this happened” apology?

    Jesus Fucking Christ. Give me a break, America.

    • mpowell

      I’m sure the argument was that the mom is white, therefore it’s not racist. Regardless, it’s also incredibly offensive to the middle and lower middle class. The great majority of households outside the top quintile were virtually locked out of the loan market after 2007. This is how Bloomberg BW wants to portray them as they gain access to credit again. It’s fucking disgusting. I’m sure their financial backers are just sad about how few properties there are left on the market that you can rent out at 2% of value per month.

      • Shakezula

        What white mom where?

      • JKTHs

        The comments on Yglesias’s blog said just that: Look, there’s a white person! Not racist!

        Huh?

        Even so, the bigger point as you said is that the article’s making it seem like ordinary folks are making out like bandits now and we have to stop them!

        I for one welcome our plutocratic overlords.

        • Shakezula

          Um. Yeah. No.

          Everyone in that picture is darker than me and you would not mistake me for a Gringa.

        • djangermats

          Tell them its racist and misogynist

          Whenever a white man wants to pretend he’s not racist, he says something shitheaded about white women.

        • Origami Isopod

          Every single comment thread I’ve seen on this cover has been overrun with those types. Also the types who whine how white men are the only people left in the U.S. you can’t “legally” make fun of.

    • cpinva

      apology my ass. they’ll explain that it was meant to be a joke. clearly, since no one, outside of fucktard lane, thought it was funny, that means we don’t have a sense of humor.

      • Shakezula

        Nah, they went with the standard “We regret the reaction to this cover and would have done things differently if we weren’t such racist shitsacks that it never occurred to us that more than a couple of coons would object.”

        (See below.)

        • cpinva

          yeah, i missed that. but, you have to admit, my proposed response would be just as likely! i’d say 50/50.

  • GFW

    Re the substance of the piece – where the heck are people making 300% returns?

    • JoyfulA

      Around the corner from me, yesterday somebody paid $1 million for a golf course in a flood plain to build McMansions. Somehow, I can’t see him tripling his money. But I’ve been wrong before.

      • BlueLoom

        Yes, he WILL triple his money. It’s the poor schmucks who buy his McMansions and are subsequently flooded out of their homes who will lose their shirts (and everything else).

        • Most of whom we’ll bail out, to one degree or another, so guess who also loses?

        • cpinva

          since none of them will be able to get homeowner’s insurance (they frown on building in a flood plain), the only mcmansions that will be sold, will be all-cash sales. i’m guessing there won’t be many of those.

          they could get flood insurance, but again, building in a flood plain will make that inordinately expensive, if they can get it underwritten at all.

          • Anonymous

            They will most definitely get Homeowner’s insurance, and be charged insane rates for it.

            They will also get flood insurance and pay even more for it.

            A private company will own the first policy, and will probably never pay a dime in claims. The government will own the second policy, and they will probably pay out quite a few times over the life of the policy.

            Its absolutely insane. And yet, I see it everyday. It doesn’t make sense to me at all that private insurance companies should exist for something everyone uses and will probably need at some point in their lives.

            • Red_cted

              Agree. I had flood insurance for a tiny underground stream at the far end of my backyard and the deductible was $25,000.

              • cpinva

                my house sits on a hill. the only source of water is the city water line, which runs through the right-of-way, on the rear section of our lot (also uphill), the sewer line runs downhill, away from the house. the odds of us being hit with a flood are less than the odds of us being hit by a meteorite, substantially so.

                we receive, on average once a month, ads for residential flood insurance. the first couple of times, out of curiousity, i checked, just to see what the rates and deductibles were. bearing in mind: house on hill, no natural source of water. the premium was double our regular homeowner’s, with a deductible covering roughly 20% of the house’s replacement cost. true, there could be another “great flood”, destroying our home entirely. in that case, everyone else would probably be dead as well, and i wouldn’t give a fuck if the mortgage company got their gelt.

                we passed.

    • Shakezula

      On the same planet black people have so much cash they use it for heating and pet food.

  • Woodrowfan

    is the woman at the bottom left supposed to be Hispanic or???

    • Shakezula

      I think she and the curvy lady burning money are supposed to indicate Bloomer-berg’s cultural awareness. To whit, the darkies come in hues other than coal, cave bottom and and cellar at midnight.

    • ironic irony

      It’s possible. I’m a light skinned Latina (and I know I don’t have it nearly as hard as my darker skinned cousins). Either way, it’s a disgusting cover.

      • Shakezula

        True. There’s plenty of offense to go around here.

        Gads. What year is it again?

        • cpinva

          give them credit,

          “There’s plenty of offense to go around here.”

          a rare trifecta, they’ve managed to offend pretty much everyone. there’s something to be said for that. i’m not sure what, exactly, but something.

  • efgoldman

    “Marse Bloomberg, suh? Can I has perMISHun, suh, to throw mah fambly out the street now, suh?”
    “Thank you for being so compliant and respectful, George. I’ll see that your belongings are piled on the street carefully.”
    Holy fucking FSM!

  • Heck, they even made the cat black. They thought of everything!

    • LittlePig

      I saw that and went ‘OK, now there’s no doubt it is quite deliberate’. A black cat with a black cat.

      Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that’s not a dog whistle, that’s a fog horn.

  • Richard

    I haven’t read the article but I can attest from personal knowledge (although I’m not a flipper) that there is some money to be made in flipping. But its not big money. Very savvy investors can buy fixer uppers though an estate sale or at foreclosure and then, knowing the market and having good contractors,put repairs in and then sell the property at a profit. But you need to know the market and you can’t expect huge profits. What you can expect, at least in the SoCal market, is to buy a place for $300,000, put in $20,000 of repairs, and then sell for $350,000. Since your can do that in about six months, its a decent but not enormous return on investment (and, of course, there is always the risk that you wont be able to sell the place within six months at the desired price).

    • Sherm

      I’ve got a client who buys foreclosed properties very cheap from the title owner prior to auction and then hires me to vacate the judgment of foreclosure for lack of standing as there is often a broken link in the chain of ownership on these fraudulent mortgages which have been assigned multiple times from one crooked lender to the next.

      • Richard

        With the people I deal with, there hasn’t been a problem so far with title. They buy at auction usually and get a trustees deed upon sale. The new buyer is going to get a bank loan and get title insurance as part of the purchase so any claims against the new owner are going to be covered by insurance. There’s always some possibility that the foreclosed party could come back and claim a problem with the foreclosure process or in the chain of title but thats fairly unlikely in light of the fact that the property is going to be sold quickly and that there will be title insurance on the new purchase.

        But as I said above, its not a business for amateurs. You have to really know your market – the area, the school system if the house is three bedrooms or more and likely to be bought by a family, and have some very good and reliable contractors who you can hire. You also have to know which houses you can patch, paint and sell and which houses are going to require more extensive renovation.

      • How often does that work? Where are you?

        • Sherm

          New York. Quite often. These fraudulent lenders just kept flipping the mortgages to each other without any regard for the legal requirements of a proper assignment and the location of the original promissory note is anyone’s guess by now. Hell, a lot of the banks start foreclosures although it is clear that they didn’t own the note and mortgage when they started the lawsuit.

        • Sherm

          Joe, I can’t even begin to explain the level of fraud involved in these transactions from 04 to 06. But suffice it to say that the banks conducted as much due diligence in selling and buying the loans as they did in the original underwriting process which produced the loans. Many times the actual owner of the note and mortgage is entirely unknowable.

          My firm’s best client last year in billables was a referral from a real estate investor whom I had previously beaten in a foreclosure after he bought a mortgage and note from a company which had previously sold it.

          • dporpentine

            Sherm: a long shot here: the Newberry Library, by any chance?

            • Sherm

              No connection

              • dporpentine

                Ah well.

      • Malaclypse

        So, I’m assuming I’m just missing something painfully obvious, but doesn’t this mean you are assisting in the purchasing of stolen property?

        • Sherm

          In what respect? My client gets a deed from the title owner and makes the lender which has foreclosed prove that it actually owns the mortgage and note it has foreclosed upon. Any theft of property would be by the company which foreclosed despite its lack of legal ownership of the note and mortgage.

          • Malaclypse

            So, the first dude steals the property, then you help the second dude buy the stolen property for cheap. So, in that respect.

            Maybe there is a lawyerish reason why this is more ethical than buying car stereos off the back of a truck.

            • Sherm

              Underwater property owner who has been foreclosed upon by bank which can’t prove that it owns the loan sells property cheap to someone willing to fight the bank. What’s the problem?

              • nixnutz

                Well, the best outcome would be if the homeowner hired you rather than taking this deal. However, assuming you’re not always successful, there’s a risk involved; it works out for your client over a number of deals but the homeowner might well be better off taking a smaller amount of guaranteed money.

                The one criticism that seems to hold up is that the homeowner may not really understand all this when the deal is offered to him. I don’t know and I’m not inclined to criticize you (or your client) for it, after all he’s much better off than without your intervention.

                • Sherm

                  Largely investment properties which people thought they could flip for a profit before the market tanked and then learned that the rent roll doesn’t come close to covering the 650k mortgage on a building worth 400k so they just walk away with their credit destroyed.

                  And if the purchaser successfully vacates the judgment of foreclosure and gets the foreclosure action dismissed for lack of standing, his title is still a mess as the property remains encumbered by the mortgage. He can only fix the place up and rent it out while biding his time to see if an actual owner of the mortgage appears and starts a new foreclosure action.

                  Btw — the lesson here is don’t believe the bullshit about a housing recovery. There are so many loans in default that have not been foreclosed only because no one knows who the loans. It’s going to take a long time to straighten out this mess

            • Sherm

              Let me put it this way — you overpaid for an investment property in 2007 and thereafter defaulted on the mortgage. A foreclosure action is started and you default bc the property is under water and you don’t want to throw good money after bad. Before the property is auctioned off (meaning that you are still the title owner), I offer you some money for the property because I think the foreclosure action was brought by a lender which doesn’t actually own the mortgage and note and which obtained the judgment of foreclosure through fraud by misrepresenting to the court relevant facts pertaining to its alleged chain of ownership. You sell the property to me for a nominal amount, and I take the property subject to the mortgage and all other liens. I then challenge the judgment of foreclosure in court on the ground that the foreclosure was commenced by a lender which does not own the mortgage and note.

              Sorry man, but the guys getting the stolen goods off the back of the trucks were the banks giving these loans based on false appraisals and financial statements bc they knew they could sell the loans for a profit and thus did not care if they would ever be repaid. Im happy to screw them over if they failed to dot their i’s and cross their t’s in the process and then lied to the court in affidavits in an attempt to conceal their blunders.

        • Tom Vu
    • GFW

      You can only make money doing that if you have your own real estate license so you don’t pay an agent 6%. Also presumably not in a jurisdiction that has a real estate transaction tax, although those tend to be lower, like 1-2%.

      • Richard

        In California, there is no real estate transaction tax. And you’re right, it only works if you handle your own sale and thus don’t have to pay the broker commission. The people I deal with do this – the husband finds the properties and handles the fix up, the wife has her own brokerage firm and handles the sale

        • Richard

          Also, the strategy is very hard to make work if you use bank financing for the purchase price since you would have to pay for an appraisal, pay the various lending points and wait for the bank beaurocracy to approve the loan (assuming the bank will even loan at all to buy properties at foreclosure). So you either have to have a large supply of cash or rely on private lenders (known in the trade as “hard” lenders) and pay them an interest rate higher than the rate from a bank.

          • cpinva

            but wait, you mean i can’t just get a list of foreclosed properties, pay pennies-on-the-dollar for them (with no actual cash out of pocket), give them a spiffy new paint job, and be on my way to my first million, overnight? that can’t be so! why, many of my friends, er, lots of my friends, er, a couple of my friends, er, actually, i’ve never met anyone who’s done this for real. but still, you’re harshing my wannabe capitalist mellow here!

            this is a scam well preceeding the current bust. i remember this from back in the 70’s & 80’s (ah, the good old days, of “wraparound mortgages” and such). the only people (aside from professionals) who made money off of this, were the people selling the “system” to the wannabe’s.

  • I sense an “if anyone was offended, we apologize” retraction in the future

    • Shakezula

      Along with claims that their entire editorial review system suffered a complete breakdown during the period from first budget meeting to final proof.

      • JKTHs

        Here it is…sort of.

        • Shakezula

          Wow. That doesn’t even meet my very low expectations.

        • Uncle Kvetch

          Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret

          “We’re deeply sorry you people are so fucking hypersensitive. Happy now?”

          • Malaclypse

            “Our intention was not to incite or offend. None of us are not white, so we never imagined how it would go over. Look, we’ve never found a qualified non-white editor, okay? If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently. Next time, we’ll ask the cleaning lady first. She seems nice, and knows her place.”

            • ironic irony

              Clap. Clap. Clap.

            • cheap wino

              Awesome. “None of us are not white” is subtly brilliant.

          • Shakezula

            Yep. They regret the strong reactions, not the event that triggered the reactions.

            Dear me, if only it were the good old days when we could turn the hoses and the dogs on those people when they got mouthy.

        • Antonin Scalia

          In fact, the near unanimity with which people have objected to this cover suggests that it needs to be plastered in every classroom in America. In ancient Mesopatamia, when the Supreme Court unanimously gave somebody the death penalty, they not only wouldn’t kill him, they’d make him King of the World!

          • LittlePig

            +1 for Babylonian babble.

  • UserGoogol

    I don’t think this is intentionally racist, it just looks like it’s just the artist’s style. Tons of cartoonists like drawing human beings as vaguely ugly and also like drawing lots of colors, and that can have unfortunate implications since if you draw a bunch of foolish looking non-white people, it can easily start overlapping into the territory of racial stereotype. But it’s not as obviously intentional as the Wise Latina National Review cover.

    But still, maybe Businessweek should have asked the cartoonist to maybe draw the people as white to not give off that false impression.

    • Humanities Grad

      No, I’m not going to give them the benefit of the doubt on that one. Because, generally speaking, the Wall Street set hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt.

      Ever since the housing meltdown, representatives of the financial sector have been twisting themselves into pretzels trying to blame that meltdown not on the irresponsibility of the big banking institutions, but on the government (“It was Fanny and Freddy’s fault!”) and on the individuals who bought houses with mortgage rates they couldn’t afford. And the (usually) unspoken subtext to that argument is that many, if not most, of the irresponsible home buyers were members of minority groups.

      We’ve been hearing this refrain for years from defenders of Wall Street. If you’re publishing a magazine that serves as a mouthpiece for the business/investment class, and you roll out a racist cover illustration (one that immediately calls to mind the arguments outlined in the preceding paragraph), you don’t get to play the “our artist was just trying to draw a bunch of foolish-looking people” card.

      • Harrumph. They have been using subtle, and not-so-subtle, racial appeal to try to pass the buck right from the beginning, with the CRA smear being the most obvious example.

        • ajay

          They have been using subtle, and not-so-subtle, racial appeal to try to pass the buck

          I see what you did there.

    • sparks

      You’re either blind, idiotic, or racist yourself.

      Vaguely ugly my ass. Three are drawn as grotesque.

      • UserGoogol

        In particular, grotesques are a very rich tradition in cartoons. Vaguely ugly was just me trying to be delicate about it. There’s some racist connotations to it, but cartoons in general have a very checkered past. Looney Tunes had all sorts of racist stuff in it. (One of Looney Tunes’s earliest characters was a blackface stereotype named Bosko, and also there’s the Censored Eleven.)

        It was absolutely a poor choice on the part of Bloomberg to use grotesques for this cover, though.

        • Sherm

          Looney Tunes had all sorts of racist stuff in it

          Please take note of the past tense. This type of racist bullshit should be a thing of the past.

          • (the other) Davis

            To me, it’s amazing how not-very-past-tense it is. As recently as the late 80s and early 90s, TV networks were still airing some of the blatantly racist Looney Tunes. Even as a white kid who hadn’t yet developed much in the way of sensitivity to these things (I remember laughing at my friends’ racist jokes), I still had a serious WTF reaction to some of them.

        • ironic irony

          You are comparing the cover of Bloomberg Business Weekly with Looney Tunes? Um, ooooookkkkaaaayyyyy……

          • Shakezula

            Not just any LTs, but the really old ones to a cartoon produced in 2013.

            • UserGoogol

              To be specific my very first reaction was that the drawing reminds me of Gary Baseman, who is a contemporary artist. His style is “rounder” than this, so it’s not the best comparison to make, (the racist connotations come from the “roughness” of the faces although Gary Baseman has certainly done problematic looking cartoons) but it very much reminded me of contemporary comic book artists.

              • UserGoogol

                Kind of reminds me of the framing cartoon to Kablam too, which does have an similar level of “roughness” to it.

                • Shakezula

                  I say again. That straw is getting waterlogged. Let go and strike out for shore.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Why are you investing so much energy in derailing the thread like this? There are folks of color in this thread who are telling you this shit is straight-up racist, and you’re playing “hipster connoisseur of old cartoons” here?

                • UserGoogol

                  Precisely because I want to make my point clear. This cover is somewhat racist and Businessweek erred greatly in publishing it. So I don’t want to be viewed as just defending this full out. But the artistic style isn’t radically different from styles of cartooning that wouldn’t be particularly controversial, it’s its juxtaposition alongside its content that makes it racist. So I’m trying to make clear the specific artistic ways in which I think this fits into the overall context of not-necessarily-racist cartooning, without really being able to express my aesthetic judgements all that clearly so I’m making lots of different replies.

                  And as such things go I’m really not a fan of the “vaguely racist” school of cartooning. I like my cartoons new and shiny. Even setting aside the racism I think Looney Tunes is kind of overrated. But I’m aware of the broader cartoon context so I’m trying to explain that.

                • The style’s grotesque, but that’s not really the point: what artist could draw three minority characters to one white character on this cover and make the racism go away?

                • UserGoogol

                  I was merely talking about the racism of the style itself, which seemed to be what people were talking about. The fact that they’re mostly/all racial minorities is also racist, but that’s a separate issue.

                  If they were depicted as respectable clean-cut racial minorities it would probably not give the same connotation, but it would probably be moderately racist.

                • Malaclypse

                  If they were depicted as respectable clean-cut racial minorities it would probably not give the same connotation

                  Did you not notice them swimming in/clutching money? I defy you to make them “clean-cut” with that background.

                • Anonymous

                  Why are you investing so much energy in derailing the thread like this? There are folks of color in this thread who are telling you this shit is straight-up racist, and you’re playing “hipster connoisseur of old cartoons” here?

                  We are not allowed to go off on tangents on internet threads, for Oragami–Czar of the Comment Thread-has spoken. The Case is Closed.

                • Origami Isopod

                  We are not allowed to go off on tangents on internet threads, for Oragami–Czar of the Comment Thread-has spoken. The Case is Closed.

                  Learn you the difference between “tangents” and “derails.” Hint: One’s really kind of tone-deaf.

                • ironic irony

                  Origami Isopod, it doesn’t matter how people of color feel about a racist magazine cover. If white people don’t find it racist, that’s all that matters. /sarcasm

    • Richard

      No, this is racist. Looks like the illustrations on sheet music for “coon” songs in the early 1900s.

      • Shakezula

        Just needs white rings around the eyes and mouth.

      • UserGoogol

        So do a lot of cartoons. Racist iconography was hugely influential in the development of cartoons, and a lot of that has gotten baked into people’s styles.

        • Shakezula

          That straw is getting waterlogged. I suggest letting go and striking out for shore.

        • Richard

          There is a style of cartooning that emphasizes this type of exaggeration and, if these cartoons were done in the 40s, the charge of racism might be misplaced. But its been decades since this type of cartooning – exaggeration of ethnic features – has been acceptable. (The only exception I can think of is Crumb but thats another story). How someone at the magazine didn’t look at this cover and started screaming is beyond me.

    • Origami Isopod

      JFC. Google on “racist caricature.” There’s a whole history of it and this is firmly in line with it.

      • UserGoogol

        Of course it looks like a racist caricature. My point is merely that it’s entirely plausible that a cartoonist will, if left to their own devices, accidentally create a racist caricature. This isn’t as blatant as the Wise Latina cover, which was flagrantly and explicitly about race; if the characters in this cover were all light skinned it wouldn’t look especially remarkable and would still express its overt intention. The fact that the characters appear to be racial minorities adds a sharp racist overtone, but it’s hard to tell if that was intentional.

        Furthermore, it is entirely Bloomberg Businessweek’s fault for not realizing “hey, this looks pretty racist.”

        • UserGoogol

          And to be even more explicit: looking at this cover makes me feel uncomfortable, and I think most reasonable people would think it looks racist. But I still think it’s entirely possible that this could have been caused by Businessweek making a very poor choice of artist for their cover.

        • The fact that the characters appear to be racial minorities adds a sharp racist overtone, but it’s hard to tell if that was intentional.

          No, it’s really not. Look at the guy in the bottom right; that is not a character who accidently turned out to resemble a black person; that was an attempt to draw a black person.

          • UserGoogol

            It’s obviously a black person. The question is whether the artist was drawing a dumb ugly idiot who happened to be black, or a person whose dumbness and ugliness was meant to be a consequence of his blackness.

            • That is not the question at all.

              • UserGoogol

                Well then that explains why we’ve been talking past each other. I’m sorry.

            • LittlePig

              Dude, the black “cat” has a black cat.

              Random grotesques my hammy ass.

        • Hogan

          My point is merely that it’s entirely plausible that a cartoonist will, if left to their own devices, accidentally create a racist caricature.

          Or four of them, all at once.

          • Malaclypse

            A series of remarkable unrelated coincidences.

          • UserGoogol

            Without seeing how this artist draws white people we have no control group to know whether this is just how the artist draws people in general.

            That being said, the fact that all of them (well, upper right is ambiguous I guess) are racial minorities to begin with is potentially racist when the story isn’t really about race.

            • Anonymous

              You are whitesplaining (badly–these points of yours you seemingly think novel are old hat) and it’s getting tiresome.

        • Shakezula

          I say again. The straw is waterlogged and dragging you down. Let go and swim.

    • DrDick

      Who cares if it was intentional or not? The cover is clearly racist and reflects the artist’s and magazine’ inherently racist assumptions. Not all racism is conscious (indeed much of it today is not), but it is still racist and has racist impacts.

      • UserGoogol

        The stylistic choice of how to draw black and hispanic people seems like a fairly neutral subject. Without intentional malice, people should be able to draw people in whatever insane shapes they want, that doesn’t hurt anybody. Then there’s the secondary issue of having a bunch of racial minorities be the representatives for people exploiting the new housing market. That on the other hand can be subconciously racist, and I would argue that it in fact is in this instance. But those are two separate issues.

        • DrDick

          As others have pointed out, a clue you hasn’t got. This shit is straight up racist and if you cannot see that, then maybe you should do a little bit of soul searching about your own attitudes.

          • UserGoogol

            This cover is racist. It is extremely racist and I’m not denying that, although I phrased things badly and probably went took too superficial a take in my earlier posts. But the artistic style itself, in isolation, is something which could potentially be defensible in isolation, even though in juxtaposition with everything else it makes things far worse.

            • UserGoogol

              And furthermore I suppose my original post of saying “I don’t think this is intentionally racist, I think it’s just the artist’s style” was wrong. (Or at least I was using the word “it” in a poorly ambiguous way.) It’s racist. But my main point is merely that the style itself could be viewed as part of the broader context of cartoon styles without in of itself being racist.

              I do suspect that the artist draws other things which lack this sort of racist content and that they still look a lot like this. That’s basically my point, I guess, but I phrased it all very poorly.

    • Hob

      “…maybe Businessweek should have asked the cartoonist to maybe draw the people as white to not give off that false impression”

      Two problems with that.

      1. Magazines do not just toss an assignment to a cartoonist and then print the result. An editor looked at that drawing before they ran it, and decided that it conveyed the message they wanted to convey.

      2. “Maybe draw the people as white”– are you kidding? The artist drew one of them, maybe, as white– to illustrate a subject that is ostensibly about the US in general, not some majority-minority area, and the subject is people making excessive shitloads of money. You really don’t see the problem with that? The problem isn’t really whether the people are drawn with grotesque faces or not.

      • Shakezula

        Maybe those people wearing white hoods and robes and standing around a 20′ burning cross are members of the KKK.

        Or maybe they were running around outside while dressed up as ghosts when they realized it was chilly…

      • UserGoogol

        1: Yes, I agree, and that was my point although I suppose I didn’t express it so well. The editors failed to execute any sort of reasonable oversight, and should have done so. But that’s a separate issue from blaming the artist themself.

        2: Yeah, the fact that they’re racial minorities when there’s no reason to make them like that is kind of racist. (Maybe the artist always draws racial minorities, but then, again that would mean the editors made a poor hiring decision.) But that’s a separate issue from whether the artist was intentionally drawing racist caricatures per se. If the artistic style had been a nice bland Butch Hartman style of cartoon but they had still been racial minorities acting in a similarly money-grubbing way, then it would have been racist in the one sense but not the other sense.

        • Anonymous

          This is not college debate team and you are not its champion. Stop feigning who-me ignorance to win your argument. It’s not going to happen. You were wrong and you should admit it.

    • djangermats

      intentionally

      This is a very important differentiator, to racists.

    • UserGoogol

      Since poorly stating a point and then trying to explain yourself in replies (and therefore focusing on the narrow points people raise rather than the big picture) is a horrible way to post, let me try to explain myself somewhat more coherently.

      This cover is racist in many different ways. I was trying to make a narrow point that the particular fact that the people in this comic are drawn as racial stereotypes could simply be the result of a very poorly chosen style. I still think this might be true, since there’s a lot of different artistic styles out there, and some which lead to this sort of art, but at best it’s a highly debatable contention.

      Furthermore, even if I’m right, (which I’m growing more skeptical of) I was making a point which was a fairly minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things. Part of that was because I took too superficial a glance at the cover before making that post, and part of that is because nitpicking to try to better contextualize people’s actions is just a habit I have. In principle, it’s good to be charitable, but focusing on such a minor issue when the cover is still basically racist either way is a distraction from the main point and made me look ridiculously myopic (or worse).

      I made a stupid nitpick, and then wasted a lot of time trying to dig myself out of the hole I made.

      • Anonymous

        I was trying to make a narrow point that the particular fact that the people in this comic are drawn as racial stereotypes could simply be the result of a very poorly chosen style.

        That’s a ludicrous point, and you know it. Nobody commissioned to draw a cartoon or to evaluate that cartoon in the context of an article about the so-called housing collapse is unaware that people of color have been unfairly scape-goated as the cause of said collapse. This was intentional. Please grow up and stop lying.

        • UserGoogol

          I was being overgenerous and yes it seems reasonable that this was intentional racism, and my conduct in this thread has been wrong, but I’m not going to apologize for assuming the best of people. That’s what being a liberal is about.

          If people were not ignorant, racism would not exist in the first place. As such it’s entirely plausible that there was some catastrophic collection of localized ignorance (although at this point I agree it would still have to involve some amount of “subconscious racism”) which led to this cover. You should always assume the possibility of a wacky misunderstanding. Society is complicated, and it’s possible for one thing to lead to another and institutional factors come together and then all of a sudden you accidentally drew a Klansman. We all make mistakes, sometimes very big ones.

  • Am I on drugs or am I seeing this correctly?

  • wengler

    I’m certain 99% of the subscribers to this magazine will not see the cover as racist.

    • sharculese

      99% of subscribers to Bloomberg Businessweek almost certainly believe racism is over because black president.

      • Oh crap! I’m a one-percenter???

        • Shakezula

          Turn in your book, badge and Obamaphone, comrade.

    • Dave

      What % will like it as racist?

  • dday

    The problem is that the article itself, which is about 100 times more hard to find than the cover, highlights a real looming problem: an investor-led gold rush to scoop up foreclosed properties, which has overheated markets like Phoenix, where year-over-year housing prices rose something like 35%. There’s no economic reason for such a run-up.

    buswk.co/Yc0xy5

    I wrote about this (more skeptically than the Businessweek piece) for the New Republic a couple weeks ago.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112395/wall-street-hedge-funds-buy-rental-properties

    • And as Atrios has noted, any expectation that these vultures will be reasonable property owners or landlords is misguided at best.

    • Origami Isopod

      The other problem is

      FTFY.

    • Shakezula

      Heh. A couple of friends at Bloomberg Government are l-i-v-i-d.

  • Icarus Wright

    Holy fuck.

  • somethingblue

    Apart from the absence of watermelon slices it’s like, how much more racist could this be?

    And the answer is none. None more racist.

    • JKTHs

      At least the house is so inundated with money we can’t see the Cadillac in the driveway or the T-bone steaks in the fridge.

      • Shakezula

        Fucking … piles of fried chicken in every corner.

        Oh, and the crack pipes.

        • Origami Isopod

          And 40-ounces.

          /limbaugh

          • Shakezula

            Where the white wimmin at?

            They’re under here somewhere …

    • That cover was designed by people who think most welfare recipients are like this. Only not as pale.

  • Sly

    Holy Shit.

    But in brighter news, the House passed the Senate version of VAWA after Boehner suspended the Hastert Not-So-Much-A-Rule-But-More-Of-A-Guideline.

    • sharculese

      I honestly did not believe this would happen and I’m absolutely delighted.

      • JKTHs

        The Not-Insane-At-Least-on-This-Issue-Caucus strikes again!

        • Shakezula

          More like “Enough people finally understood that being a dickwad between elections also has consequences.”

          A stunning amount of Waaah over this. But that’s what happens when you make “Piss off the other side” your sole goal.

    • AstroBio

      In other news today, two steps for science and, well, the pope resigned.

      Goin’ to Mars.

      Rat Mind Meld. Ungated at Nature. “What’s next Brain?”

      Also, Enceladus.

      • AstroBio

        Sorry to stray off topic. The cover turned me away.

  • celticdragonchick

    Wow. Just…wow. I thought the illustration was a parody for a moment.

  • ChrisTS

    But now that we are all equal and there is no racism in America, it’s ok to engage in offensive stereotyping. Or… something.

  • Joshua

    The problem with 2008 was so obvious – overheated securitization led to an abandonment in standards and increased moral hazard for lenders – that I simply am saddened that the Official Blame will end up being placed at the feet of the same people it always is in America, minorities.

    Even if you start from that premise and work backwards, it just doesn’t hold up. Not that it matters, I guess.

    • Shakezula

      I recently had an interesting conversation with a woman who got out of the broker biz in 2007 because brokers being pushed to give EVERYONE a loan. I’m talking, made up pay stubs, in a state where the regs were relatively tight before this clusterfuck.

      However, my tinfoil hat theory has long been the banks knew this would go off bang, but it was supposed to happen over a period of years. It wasn’t surprising that minorities were hit first and suddenly everyone talking pinhead was screaming that any problem was all the fault of a few deadbeats who lied to get loans. When it was pointed out this isn’t possible unless a whole bunch of people with the power to say no help out, it became ACORN Jimmy Carter Hitler passed a law that FORCED banks to hand over insane loans to the greed dark folk.

      But whoops, within a couple of weeks those deadbeats included RealMurricuns and oh dear, whole swaths of the HeartLand(TM) were fucked. And my goodness! Countrywide, which had just insisted everything was hunky-dory, nothing to see here move along, went tits up. But that’s just me.

      • RhZ

        Remember how long the right wing insisted that this was all caused by flippers and lazy people who made legal commitments and then renegged on them?

        Good times, good times.

    • Sherm

      Joshua — as an attorney whose general litigation practice includes real estate litigation, let me just say that it takes two to tango. The major crimes committed by the banksters doesn’t work to the extent which it did without willing participants looking to get in on the action by serving as straw borrowers, lying on mortgage applications, falsifying financial documents, paying off straw borrowers, and paying off corrupt appraisers. I have reviewed dozens of these loans and their underwriting files, and it was just really fucking ugly from top to bottom.

      Of course, its only the small time criminals who were chasing the banksters’ scraps who have been prosecuted.

      • Joshua

        Sure, yea, but the original sin was securitization. If they couldn’t bundle all this shit up and pass it off like a hot potato to the next sucker (with the last in line being, of course, taxpayers), they wouldn’t have done any of that.

        • Sherm

          No argument here.

  • The Pale Scot

    The following is meant cynically;

    They forgot to use a caricature of a scheming jewish guy spinning the mortgages into tranches, wonder how Bloomberg” could forget that.

  • Sherm

    Lets give Bloomberg the benefit of the doubt — The individuals on the cover could just as easily be NY State assemblymen celebrating Purim.

    • Sometimes I wish we had “Like” buttons here at LGM. I would Like this so hard.

      • Shakezula

        Agreed.

    • sharculese

      NICE!

    • The Pale Scot

      Touche!..

    • Uncle Kvetch

      +harrumph!

  • Speak Truth

    Why not just save yourselves some time and just make “racism” illegal? And Erik could be the one to decide what’s racist and what’s not.

    Save you a lot of time!

    • sharculese

      We’re trying to but the idiots on the Supreme Court seem to be intent on being stupid babies about that.

      • Speak Truth

        Yeah, that darn constitution gettin’ in your way again?

        • sharculese

          You mean the Constitution you haven’t read and don’t understand?

          No. It’s mostly just the dummies who get the vapors about addressing America’s history of racism.

          • Anonymous

            He’s the real victim here.

            • sharculese

              Jenny is a whiny-ass titty baby. That is a solidly established fact.

              • DrDick

                And a chronic bedwetter, to boot.

          • Shakezula

            I have a theory that certain names and icons scream “I’m an inept troll!” Anything with “Truth” in it is top of the list.

            • Origami Isopod

              Other examples: “Rational,” “Logic,” “Patriot,” “Skeptical,” plus names of philosophers, theologians, and Ayn Rand heroes.

              • Perspicacious John Calvin Galt 911

                Hey!

              • elm

                Or if they’re name after Illimunati.

                • Adam Weishaupt

                  Hey shut up!

            • I have a theory that certain names and icons scream “Pancakes, with yummy waffleberrysyrup!”

              One of them is jenny.

        • “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

          Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

          No, the Constitution isn’t in the way at all.

          • I’m sure that after Scalia keels over and President Hillary or Booker or zygote to be president later names a Democrat to replace him that our resident pancake eater will have the same reverence for the Constitution.

            • sharculese

              There is nothing that will prevent wingnut dipshits from claiming that they’re the only ones who care about the Constitution.

              • Shakezula

                Even as they make it screamingly obvious they think the authors skipped Amendment 1 and called it a wrap after 2.

          • (the other) Davis

            But the Federalism Clause of the Constitution elevates all conservative policy preferences above “civil rights”. It says so right there in Article pi. Or maybe Article sqrt(2), I forget.

            • Hogan

              One of the irrational ones, anyway.

              • The Pale Scot

                I see what you did there.

            • Blacks aren’t constitutional. That’s in the Bible.

    • TribalistMeathead

      Only if I can be the one to decide between pancakes, waffles and French toast.

    • Anonymous

      He never said racism should be criminalized, you illiterate douche.

  • Well, to Bloomberg’s credit, they have put a lot of minorities on their covers in the past:

    http://www.coverjunkie.com/magazines/139

    • LeftWingFox

      I liked the airplanes fucking.

      This cover though… When it popped up, I just paused for two seconds, then swore loud enough to startle the cats. This is getting worse and worse.

  • whetstone

    Holy shit.

    If you’re not familiar with the mag, it’s good, but it’s also held in high esteem for its design. I’m really surprised that they’d screw up this badly.

    • djangermats

      Usually this sort of thing is a good indication that the high esteem is bullshit

      • whetstone

        It’s not, though that doesn’t obviate how badly they screwed up.

    • Origami Isopod

      This isn’t a matter of aesthetic talent.

      • Anonymous

        We are not allowed to discuss any other aspect of the cover than what Czar Origami decrees.

        THE CASE IS CLOSED

        • Origami Isopod

          JenBob, that you?

  • AuRevoirGopher

    The women on the cover? Yeah, I saw their boobs.

  • The illustrator, Andres Guzman, explains that “I was asked to make an excited family with large quantities of money.” and “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.”

    As you can see from his other work, exaggerated, grotesque characters are part of his style.

    http://andres-guzman.blogspot.com/
    http://www.andresguzman.com/10_30.html

    Not that I expect actual facts to change anyone’s mind, bu there it is.

    • Origami Isopod

      GMAFB. It’s not an appropriate cover for (1) a national business news magazine (2) sold mostly to rich white people (3) covering a political/economic problem that’s been blamed heavily on the people most victimized by the actual malefactors. The artist being Latino doesn’t get the editors off the hook.

      • (the other) Davis

        The creator doesn’t have sole authority over the interpretation of a message? The context and intended audience can inform interpretation?

        Now you’re just talking crazy talk.

    • I remember when Time put up that still from Fritz the Cat. It was the artist’s vision and I am proud of them for not scrutinizing, or ‘editing’, the cover before going to print.

    • whetstone

      It changes my reaction to the illustration itself, but it was a poor editorial decision. It’s not Guzman’s job to understand the racially charged aspect of the housing crisis, but editors at a business magazine should be well aware of it. The illustrator is a hired gun; it’s their job to make sure the art goes with the edit. Even deciding to illustrate the subject with a family (as opposed to a bank or something) is a weird decision.

      Working in the mag business I know how carefully scrutinized the cover is and how many eyes go over it, so I’m genuinely surprised it went through.

      • BigHank53

        This. I’ve hung around with a few magazine editors. Given the production schedule on a weekly like Bloomberg, there must have been at least three sets of eyes looking at the cover that could have killed it instantly, another five sets that could have killed it with three minutes of argument, and another five that could have at least raised a red flag.

        Guzman can paint whatever the heck he wants to. Some ambitious art major can shave a swastika into the hair on his scrotum, take a photo of it, and try to sell that to Bloomberg. By commissioning the work, paying for it, and pasting it on the front of their magazine, they’ve taken ownership of any messages it happens to send.

      • ironic irony

        What killed it for me was the combination of the art (not how grotesque the characters were drawn) and the text below the house. Put together, the cover implies that minorities are going to cause trouble in the housing market.

        The art alone is disturbing, but put together with the text? Just……racist.

    • Bloomberg doesn’t have, you know, editors?

    • DrDick

      Hispanics cannot be racist? Carlos Mencia would like a word with you. The response sounds like standard issue CYA for somebody caught red handed.

    • nixnutz

      I think this guy could use these characters in some context where they’d be cool but this isn’t it. It does raise an interesting question; whether the assignment specified that they be people of color, but even if it didn’t Bloomberg’s not off the hook since they decided to use it anyway. For the reasons everyone else has explained, and which seem obvious to the point where the existence of this thing in public is genuinely surprising.

  • Chesternut

    This story ain’t about racism; it’s about the death of the Republic.

    MANY people became rightfully upset about bailouts given to big banks during the mortgage crisis. But it turns out that they are still going on, if more quietly, through the back door.

    The existence of one such secret deal, struck in July between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America, came to light just last week in court filings.

    […]

    Still, last week’s details of the undisclosed settlement between the New York Fed and Bank of America are remarkable. Not only do the filings show the New York Fed helping to thwart another institution’s fraud case against the bank, they also reveal that the New York Fed agreed to give away what may be billions of dollars in potential legal claims.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/business/dont-blink-or-youll-miss-another-bank-bailout.html

    The Federal Reserive released Bank of America from these claims for ZERO in compensation.

    These sorts of deals happen with zero disclosure up front and debate, and then these are presented as a fait accompli later on, and the people who get reamed by these have NO recourse.

    Those who are wealthy, powerful and well-connected can simply ignore the law. THERE IS NO RULE OF LAW anymore.

    The Republic is dead. Long live the Obama régime !!

    • Malaclypse

      Mittens would have shown BoA a thing or two, I tell you what.

    • Chesternut

      Yes. But Mittens did not even try to win. Or his campaign was the most inane ever.

      Mittens might actually have been worse; whilst he was promoting the same monetary, fiscal and banking policies, he also promoted an overt trade war with China, escalating the actual currency war.

    • Hogan

      Long live the Obama régime !!

      Mittens might actually have been worse

      If you’re unhappy here, you might consider fucking on off. At least until you make up your mind about strategy in presidential elections. And I say this with all due respect.

    • DrDick

      Somebody missed his pancakes this morning! I bet they would be wonderful with fresh creamery butter, fresh blueberries, and real maple syrup.

  • Chesternut

    You people are just screaming ‘racism’ along mob-leader Loomis to find some scapegoat to stone.

    It’s at best intellectual laziness; rather than analyse and discuss the story, you scream “skandalon”!

    Pffft.

    • owlbear1

      Hey where are the white women?

    • somethingblue

      … along [with] mob-leader Loomis to find some scapegoat to stone

      Loomis favors impalement. Please try to keep up.

      • That’s why he’s changing his first name to Vlad.

        • I might call him this from now on.*

          *Or until I forget, or get bored of it, or whatever.

          • I always liked the idea of leading a mob.

        • Origami Isopod

          Well, he’s got a lot at stake.

    • DrDick

      Pfffft!

      You people scream “Waffles!” along with cult leader Rush. With that depth of analysis and factual exegesis it is hard to understand why people snicker and point when they see you coming.

    • sharculese

      Cry harder?

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