The Economist featured a stylized American flag with chili peppers instead of red stripes for a special report on “the rise of Latinos.”
A March 14 Economist article titled "How to fire up America" featured the cover image, which plays into offensive and antiquated stereotypes about Latinos. Later in the article, The Economist describes the assimilation of Latinos in the United States as “chilies in the mix.”
While the substance of the cover article, and the magazine's special report on America's growing Hispanic community, was mostly positive, the “chilies” imagery is tone-deaf and destructive. The 'fiery' or 'spicy' stereotype of Latinos is a tired trope often used to confine the Hispanic community to oversimplified representation in the media.
On Twitter, BuzzFeed reporter Adrian Carrasquillo questioned the cover image for promoting "stereotypes and nonsense," while First Look journalist Liliana Segura mocked it for “distill[ing] Latinos' various flags into one reflecting our universal language.” David V. Johnson of Al Jazeera America wondered “How many Latinos work at the Economist?”
This sort of stereotype ignores that Latinos are a multi-faceted community. By relegating Latinos to a chili-pepper consuming constituency, the magazine ignores their vast diversity. The Economist recently set off another wave of criticism with an all-male, year-end list of “influential economists” in 2014.