back to top

Some Artist Apparently Turned Obama, Beyoncé, And Jay Z White For Wikihow "Congressman" Guide

Wikihow has apologized for the "disgraceful" illustration, removed it, and promised "action to prevent future recurrence."

Originally posted on
Updated on

Wikihow may be known for its wacky illustrations, but people are not too happy after finding one that seems to show Obama, Beyoncé, and Jay Z as white for an article on "How to Become a Congressman."

Wikihow turned Obama, Beyoncé, and Jay Z white to explain "How to become a congressman."

It is unclear where the image came from, as anyone can upload images to Wikihow, but it appears to replicate this photo from a 2012 Obama fundraiser.

The illustration went viral after being tweeted by @beyupdates_, and was removed and apologized for after being covered by Gizmodo.

People are calling it disrespectful, racist, and quite literally "whitewashing."

the amount of disrespect https://t.co/Mkyoz5reFY

Advertisement

Don't whitewash my president damn. https://t.co/mej5JnnmSo

*sigh*. If y'all think we're being hyperbolic about whiteness being "the default", you're not paying attention. https://t.co/xCEZw8BIci

And, of course, many people are pointing out the irony of using the illustration in an article about "How to Become a Congressman."

in fairness, that would increase your chances of becoming a congressperson. https://t.co/qv9rJhiA4N

@beyupdates_ I mean..it would for sure increase your CHANCES of becoming a congressman, so..

Advertisement

Step 1: Be White https://t.co/OJM6tRDD7x

Wikihow has apologized for the illustration and removed it, calling it "disgraceful" and promising to take "action to prevent future recurrence."

@beyupdates_ @Gizmodo Disgraceful. This should never have been on wikiHow. We've removed it & taking action to prevent future recurrence.

Erin, the 17-year-old from New Orleans who runs @beyupdates_, called the illustration "unacceptable."

"I think they're only 'sorry' because the situation was brought to light. They still never gave anyone a reason why the picture was posted in the first place," Erin told Buzzfeed News.

UPDATE

Wikihow has further apologized for the illustration, and offered an explanation of how it happened:

"When we saw the whitewashed image of Obama, Jay Z & Beyoncé, we were disgusted & ashamed. It never should have been on wikiHow. Within minutes of the 1st tweet, a volunteer removed the image. We then started investigating how it got on wikiHow at all.

"We learned it was made 3 years ago by a team of illustrators who work as one. One person sketches, the other person colors. The sketcher sent the colorist a black and white sketch. The colorist did not know the race of the models. The colorist wasn’t aware it was Obama and Beyoncé. We don’t think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed here.

"This doesn’t excuse the fact that we hosted a terrible image on wikiHow and we needed more diversity on that article period. We’re talking with our illustrators to prevent recurrence and encourage diversity. Especially in positions of power."

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.