Esquire magazine has been hit with criticism for featuring a white teenager for its latest March 2019 cover.
The publication displays 17-year-old Ryan Morgan from Wisconsin with the headline, An American Boy: What it’s like to grow up white, middle class and male in the era of social media, school shootings, toxic masculinity and a divided country.
The accompanying interview states that Morgan’s story will be the first installment of a new series that delves into what is it like growing up in America. The forthcoming issues will center around black individuals followed by the LGBTQ community and being female.
The interview, written by editor Jennifer Percy, follows the story of Morgan, who is a high school senior and loves hanging out with his girlfriend. He isn’t too “crazy about school” but has managed to improve his grades over the years. His ambition is to become an environmental scientist and wishes to work at a local water plant.
Morgan added he isn’t “overly political” but his conservative views have gotten him a fair bit of backlash. He added that he isn’t able to speak his views without pissing someone off and often gets hate for supporting Trump. Despite the publication’s intentions for future issues, it received flak for featuring a white boy during Black History Month.
Deputy editor of news and opinion website Splinter News Jack Mirkinson wrote, “It is extremely telling that, while the esquire editor’s note mentions that non-white, non-male children will be profiled eventually, it’s the white boy who gets the cover and the first story.”
Another Twitter user commented, “*inside Esquire conference room* Esquire CEO: ‘we should probably do a cover story for black history month, any suggestions?’ Editor: ‘there’s a white boy in Wisconsin who’s sad’ Esquire CEO: ‘run it’.”
— Esquire (@esquire) February 12, 2019
I really thought that @esquire cover was a joke at first
— Margaret Wartime (@sryimnotsorry1) February 12, 2019
It is extremely telling that, while the esquire editor’s note mentions that non-white, non-male children will be profiled eventually, it’s the white boy who gets the cover and the first story https://t.co/7SXxpZFGUa pic.twitter.com/It5WH9jd43
— Jack Mirkinson (@jackmirkinson) February 12, 2019
*inside Esquire conference room*
Esquire CEO: “we should probably do a cover story for black history month, any suggestions?”
Editor: “there’s a white boy in Wisconsin who’s sad”
Esquire CEO: “run it” pic.twitter.com/g4XN5AB6TP
— Father Sean Misty (@seanieviola) February 12, 2019
This is how y’all choose to celebrate Black History Month?
— ricky, phd (@prettyrickyroo) February 12, 2019
Right and you start the series off during Black History Month with a young white male. Why is that not strange?
— GirlzofGalstanberry (@GalstanberryFan) February 12, 2019
But first impressions and all. I get context but read the room. They did not read the room.
— Jackie Billotte (@Jackie_Billotte) February 13, 2019
[via The Guardian, opening image via Esquire]
— David (@Dreams_on_Paper) February 12, 2019