The Economist has found itself in trouble for yet another out-of-touch cover.
The current affairs magazine’s latest cover, which runs with the headline “Firing up America: A Special Report on America’s Latinos,” uses chili peppers to depict the stripes in the American flag.
It’s apparently an allusion to the stereotype of Mexicans as “fiery” or “spicy,” nevermind the Central and South American Latinos that are also part of the U.S. Latino population.
If you think that analysis is a stretch, then take a look at the story itself. The Economist describes the assimilation of Latinos in the United States as "chilies in the mix."
Literally referring to Latinos as chilies.
The magazine also hopes to quell the fears of “anxious Americans” which presumably is code for white Americans who have anxiety that those spicy chili pepper loving Latinos are taking over the country.
The Economist story looks at how Latinos are transforming the definition of what it means to be a mainstream American. To be fair, the story also points out “America has twice before witnessed European migration waves that were proportionately even larger when measured against the population at the time.”
But the cover relies on old and tired stereotypes.
The artist behind the chili peppers cover is a Dublin-born illustrator.
A 2012 analysis by the site Economist-staff found that vast majority of The Economist’s staff was white, with a few Asian staffers here and there.
A 1999 Guardian story also reported The Economist “is more than a little old boys' network in its upper ranks.”
The editor, deputy editor, and New York editor, plus a handful of other former and current staffers, didn't only all go to Oxford but to the same college - Magdalen. In fact, in the last contest for the editorship, four out of five candidates went to the hallowed college.
In the past few years The Economist has published stories that explore how it’s humanly possible that so many professional female golf players are Korean. And they recently had to retract a review about a book that explored the history of slavery and the making of American capitalism.
Perhaps if they had more people of color in positions where they’re actually allowed to make decisions then they would avoid such controversies.