If Only They Knew They Were Slaves

Following the justified amazement at two hundred years of technological progress, if Harriet Tubman were alive today, she’d likely be confounded by the current religious reverence afforded to contemporary currency. If you haven’t already heard, there’s a petition to replace Andrew Jackson with a woman on the $20 bill. There was a competition to select a candidate for this “honor”. Harriet Tubman won, and now my heart hurts.

Harriet Tubman was more than a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she was a symbol of hope for freedom. It would be inappropriate to then situate her on a symbol of an apparatus that systematically enslaves billions.

Our currency is merely a marker of credit or property. It’s imperative that we remember that in Harriet Tubman’s time, that property was often human. It would be appalling for her to know that some well-intentioned folks consider it prestigious to place her on this token.

It's just paperTo be clear, there are numerous other ways to honor women that would have an actual, real financial impact: equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave, lessening the financial burden of victims of sexual assault and trafficking, a repeal of tax on feminine hygiene products, affordable and accessible birth control, etc.
Considering the torment these paper and metal proxies have wrought on our entire modern world, especially communities of color, no honorable person would want their face imprinted on them.

“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”