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Progress or PC? Thoughts on Harriet Tubman on US $20 Bill


After several days of thinking it over, I'm very torn on how I feel about Harriet Tubman eventually being placed on the $20 bill. In a country where racism is still everywhere - intentional or not, the subtlety change of placing Ms. Tubman on the bill just doesn't pack the punch with me as I thought it would. 

After all, lets be honest, why did it take this long for our nation to realize that we honor and memorialize a man who did some horrible, horrible things as President when it came to slavery and furthering the abyss that is coming together on social/racial issues? Think about that, blacks for years were forced to use currency that was represented by a face of slavery. And not once has anyone thought this was a bad idea. Not once.

But once again, how shocking is that truth when Thomas Jefferson, notorious for his slave ownership, rape of black women, and claims of people of color being part-human and inferior to whites, has his very birthday on the calendar for celebration and as a holiday? Jefferson is heralded as a founding father and taught in schools as some sort of American Patriot to be revered. 

Am I trying to be that guy right now? No, not at all. I'm just being honest. Just bloggin'. 

Ms. Tubman, in all of her heroics, all of her courage - the true, authentic kind, not the way we use it today with such hyperbole - deserves such a commemoration. She deserves to be forever honored. However, the gesture simple feels too little, too late. Almost like a token gesture. Almost like we're doing this to meet our own American standards of being politically correct. As if Tubman's presence - black and woman - kills two birds with one face. 

And really, The US Treasury has already stated that Andrew Jackson will remain on the bill, he'll just be featured "on the back". As if that's a justifiable demotion. Because, you know, we all spend our money face up - always. Whatever. 

Despite it all, I'm happy for the progress. Because, well, it's progress. And that's all I ever want. 

Yet, in the end in all of this, everything involved, the question that truly bugs me is this - after what she went through, and how this country treated her and others like her, would Ms. Tubman even WANT to be on a US bill? 

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