Squeezing “the white guy”


SM reader Laks Raghupathi sends us a link to an article in the May 30th European edition of Newsweek Magazine, titled The Big Squeeze. In it we see a yellow man, ostensibly representing a Chinaman, and a brown guy with a small red dot on his forehead. The brown guy appears to be squeezing the balls of the poor white guy (a.k.a. white-collared worker), as if all Americans and Europeans losing jobs are white. The white guy also appears to be wearing a bow-tie (what IS it with bow-ties?).

15 years after U.S. and European multinationals started shipping large numbers of manufacturing jobs overseas, experts are saying that the “second wave” of offshoring is at hand—and it promises to be bigger and more disruptive to the U.S. and European job markets than the first. In the years ahead, sizable numbers of skilled, reasonably well-educated middle-income workers in service-sector jobs long considered safe from foreign trade—accounting, law, financial and risk management, health care and information technology, to name a few—could be facing layoffs or serious wage pressure as developing nations perform increasingly sophisticated offshore work. The shift portends a dramatic realignment of wealth over the next couple of generations—valued by the U.S. consultancy McKinsey Co. at “hundreds of billions of dollars.”

I went over to Joel Elrod’s website to see his other work (which is quite good) and couldn’t find anything with this sort of xenophobic tone, which leads me to believe that Newsweek must have specifically commissioned this type of thing from him.Raghupathi sent off the following email to Newsweek:

I was disappointed to see a racist cartoon in an otherwise balanced article (The Big Squeeze – appeared May 30 in the European edition) showing a presumably Indian guy (identified by a dot on his forehead) and a East Asian looking guy (presumably Chinese) strangling a Caucasian person. Your portrayal is akin to the blame game played by politicians both sides of the Atlantic. Instead, you should have shown those big corporations who are strangling citizens of their own countries. Half of U.S. bound Chinese exports are by American multinationals themselves and everyone knows the biggest of them all – Walmart. Similarly in India, some of the biggest outsourcers are IBM and GE. Indians and Chinese are just driven by the ‘invisible hand’ of the ‘market forces’ to earn their livelihood.

52 thoughts on “Squeezing “the white guy”

  1. For the record: I am very sorry to offend anyone with this piece This is not one of my favorite pieces by any means. I did have quite a bit of art direction that was being passed around from Art Directors to Editors. I personally did not like the concept and I would have been more honest if I could have on this one. Making it a little more obvious that there has been more of a squeeze on many countries from the corporations that live and were founded in America.

    I worked with Newsweek again on an Asian Credit Union article and found that to be much more successful. I like the illustration very much and will stand by it. Hopefully it will be viewed as a positive representation of China’s Growing dominance in the global market place. I am not racist nor did I intend on having the piece look this way. However, I agree it does look that way and there should have been a better illustration/concept. all apologies. – Joel

  2. First of all, Asians are not the richest people in America. But they represent the majority of the upper class. Americans dominate the Forbes 400. That’s a fact. I find any repeated comments regarding South Asians being the richest people as racial profiling against the Asian community. They are the upper class group but definitely not the richest. In my opinion bragging that Asians will dominate the white man’s nation is racial profiling but there is a probability it will happen. The point is not to say it more than enough times as it does feel like racial profiling because the other people who in this case are most of the public, feel that they get the point and makes the media look dumb in the eyes of most public anyway. The issue is that the media doesn’t quit on their quest thereby causing the Whites to become racists and listen to media’s Charismatic leaders who are not leading but in my view are misleading the public. However, the way it’s going, it does seem like Asia is going to rule the world one day because of their pluralism. That’s just a probability and may not be the case. And even if it does happen, it doesn’t make Asians the bad people because you Americans are not racist in your view anyways and most other cultures have more pluralism. Don’t forget it’s not our fault if we become the richest or win in the future because it’s the American Dream. Work hard and believe in yourself.