MONTREAL – McGill’s Black Law Student Association is not impressed with the latest cover of Canadian Lawyer magazine.
It shows a black man looking through bars at a white woman in a suit.
The headline reads “Cracking the system. How do we get more diversity on the bench?”
But critics say the image seems to perpetuate the stereotype of incarcerated black men and the objectification of women.
“It’s problematic,” said Moses Gashirabake, a 2nd year McGill law student.
“I do not believe they intended to do that but that is a cover that belongs in the history books and not on the cover of a well-respected magazine in 2014.”
The article deals with the hurdles minorities and women face in their legal careers.
McGill’s Black Law Student Association doesn’t think the move was intentional but they’ve started a petition.
They want an apology from the Editor-in-Chief and they want the issue pulled off of shelves.
The magazine responded saying: “We regret the image has been interpreted in a way that was never our intention.”
It continues on with an explanation: “The intent of the cover was to illustrate a woman waiting and having to bide her time trying to figure out the password or key to get through a locked door, consistent with the theme of the article. The figure behind the door with a speakeasy-type slider is in the shadows, representing the gatekeeper of the establishment/old order looking askew at this person trying to break the code and get into the private club.”
Representatives from McGill’s Black Law Student Association say the Canadian legal system should set the standard when it comes to dispelling negative images and promoting positive ones.
Editors at Canadian Lawyer say next time around they will take all possible steps to be more sensitive and aware of how images may be interpreted.