We should all understand the Harriet Tubman narrative by now. She would work the Underground Railroadfreeing as many slaves as possible. Also, Harriet Tubman was an activist for woman’s suffrage (ability to vote). She lived over 80 years to help transform a better life for African Americans (especially women). Harriet Tubman lived a charmed life helping other people help themselves.
Understandably, there has been this idea to honor her by replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The nonprofit group Women on 20s launched the competition in March to choose a woman to replace former president Jackson . After they tallied the votes, they found their winner. With those said 609,000 tallied votes, Harriet Tubman won the online competition to become the first woman on the $20 banknote in this grassroots campaign . Although no decision has been finalized by the Treasury secretary, it looks like Harriet Tubman being on a $20 bill is a likely idea.
And with all the hoopla, buzz, and common place intelligence/ignorance being spewed on the subject, I’m not sure I like the idea of Harriet Tubman being on American currency.
Harriet Tubman on Currency is Troubling
Don’t get me wrong: my reasoning has nothing to do with being anti-progression or anti-women. Also, please don’t play the Raven Symone bit of “moving a bit forward”. If we went with Raven’s ideology, we would probably have George Bush and the Koch Brothers on our dollars. Nothing about my reasoning goes against progression or the opportunities made possible by feminism.
However, we are talking about Harriet Tubman being on the currency of a country that has very little respect for Black people as a whole. In the midst of rampant racism, Marshall law tactics, disrespect for the Obama due to skin color, and politicians showing their true racial beliefs, having Tubman on a piece of paper money seems to be oxymoronic at best. Am I supposed to be happy that a world renowned abolitionist gets honored on the money of a racist nation? As much as my 40 acres and a mule hasn’t been given to me, should I be satiated by the idea of one of the greatest women appearing in my wallet? Are we seriously going to say “Damn, that policeman whooped my ass. But I love the fact that Harriet is gonna save me from jail when they post my bail”?
How can we honestly want something like this to happen when we truly aren’t ready for it?
Also, has anyone considered how Harriet Tubman would react if she was aware of such? Would she be elated at this deserving honor? Or would she shake her head and say “My people still isn’t free, so why is my face showing up when you all have to pay a fee?” We have to take into consideration that everybody wouldn’t be cool with their likeness being used. And we damn sure need to make sure that the use of such likeness represents whatever it is used for.
I’m not saying Harriet Tubman is anti-American; I am damn sure that she is anti-American-bullshit.
Harriet Tubman Epilogue
As much as Harriet Tubman deserves to be put on a $20 bill, America does not deserve to have her likeness associated with its money. Harriet Tubman is synonymous with freedom, women’s suffrage, and humanitarianism. America is synonymous with slavery, sexism, and racism. We can honor Harriet Tubman because she deserves it. But, putting her on a money in a nation that rarely honors her core values is a sham and a disservice.
‘Nuff Said and ‘Nuff Respect!!!