You guys! Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced this past Wednesday that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill!
This is basically a dream come true for me. Tubman embodies grace, strength and resilience; she’s basically the ultimate inspirational figure, and we’re finally honoring her in the most hardcore of ways. I mean, come on. The woman helped hundreds escape the atrocities of slavery.
It was high time Jackson got the boot. Jackson is perhaps the worst “great” president in all of American history. He left some gruesome, horrifying marks on our history – the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Trail of Tears are both his doing. Not only that – but he was also racist, prejudice, and had a terrible temper.
(Side note: unfortunately, Jackson will still be on the back of the bill. I guess it’s too much to ask to have the bill for herself, but this is definitely one step for womankind.)
Of course, with an action as progressive as putting a revolutionary woman of color on U.S. currency, there’s always racist backlash. Let’s examine it, shall we?
First, we have Donald Trump (surprise, surprise!) calling the replacement an act of “pure political correctness.” He suggested that she be placed on the $2 bill instead. Suggesting Tubman be put on the $2 bill is a literal undervaluation of her worth. If that’s not a blatant act of racism, I don’t know what it is.
Andrew Jackson’s descendent, Andrew Jackson VI, also gave his two cents (money pun intended) and blamed the replacement on political correctness as well:
“Yes, it is political correctness, ignoring certain facts of history…If people want to put a woman on some money, and I got no trouble with that … I’m not saying that there aren’t other people who deserve to be on [money]. I’m not in any way criticizing Ms. Tubman. What she accomplished was great … My problem is with them replacing Andrew Jackson with anyone.”
How is changing currency an act of political correctness? All countries change their currency. America hasn’t changed its currency since the late 1920’s. Others are pointing to the change as a rewriting of history, which is seriously ironic because ignoring the fact that slavery existed is actually a rewriting of history.
Some see it as a way of making white people feel guilty about slavery. How is celebrating a woman who saved people’s lives a pointing finger at white people?
Then you have all those people on social media who claim, “I’m not racist, but only American presidents are featured on our currency so, Harriet Tubman can’t be on it.” Nope, nope, nope. Last time I checked, neither Benjamin Franklin or Alexander Hamilton were actually presidents.
Here’s the thing – at the end of the day, putting Tubman on the $20 bill isn’t harming anyone or censoring anyone. If anything, it’s finally acknowledging a monumental part of history that has shaped this country into what it is today. It’s acknowledging the fact that white men aren’t the only ones who’ve impacted this country.
So yeah, Tubman’s joined the ranks of the green-tinted, fine-lined, half-smiling men of our Treasury Bills. And honestly, I can’t wait to see the real deal.