The NEW YORKER's Obsession With Black People on the Cover
Print Friendly and PDF

Earlier (2008) Truth And Lies On The Cover Of The New Yorker

In 2021, the New Yorker’s Archive Editor threw up a Twitter thread on the lack of ”diversity” at the New Yorker.

Erin Overbey, a white woman, preened as heroic—and was received as heroic—for demonstrating the lack of black editors over the years, among other sins [“This shit is just embarrassing”: The New Yorker’s archive editor breaks down the print mag’s dismal diversity stats, by Laura Hazard Owen,, September 14, 2021].

Overbey said she was fired for the stunt [Making sense of the controversy at The New Yorker, by Tom Jones,, July 26, 2022].

I have no idea what percentage of the New Yorker readership is black.  For the New York Times, it’s about 4 percent, or only about a third of their percentage of the U.S. population.  The New Yorker might be comparable.

In 2023, the New Yorker has made amends for this by putting blacks—or at least, illustrations of blacks—on about half of its famous covers.

To me it crystallizes what diversity really is to white liberals—pretty pictures that make them feel good.  It’s rarely about actual engagement with black or other ”people of color”.  It’s about the sensory satisfaction that comes from gazing upon ”other,” tasting the food of ”other”, reading about the suffering of ”other” and so on.

If Overbey had really wanted to cause trouble, she’d have pointed out that the New Yorker is not, in many respects, ”white”—it’s Jewish.

Having said all this, I remain jealous of the New Yorker and wish the dissident right had such a publication of its own, complete with really long and deeply reported pieces that don’t have much to do with politics, good cartoons, and a handy format that lets you take a screen break.


Print Friendly and PDF