Cannot Believe I Have to Say This: Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill Is Not an Insult

Recently, the US Government has announced plans for Harriet Tubman, an African-American woman who was a former slave and abolitionist, to replace the racist and genocidal Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

What a glorious moment! Finally we have acknowledged someone other than an old white dude in one of the most honorable ways possible! Liberals and Conservatives should be enthused! Right?


Not exactly. Believe it or not, there are some radical liberals who are somehow opposed to the idea.

What? You’re kidding me right

Unfortunately I’m not:

I never thought I’d see the day where I had to convince people, liberals no less, that putting Harriet Tubman on US Currency wasn’t an insult.

I’ve seen sentiments like these posted all over social media. These are radical Liberals, the supposed champions of human rights and progress, who are literally against putting Harriet Tubman, a female African-American champion of civil rights, on our currency. “Why?” you may ask. Because, apparently, we “cheapen her by putting her on the face on the 20 dollar bill – the very symbol of the racialized capitalism she was fleeing.”
We expect people like Donald Trump and the KKK to be opposed to putting her on the bill – but certainly not liberals, much less the radical ones! It scares me, but doesn’t surprise me, that it’s only the moderates, liberals and conservatives alike, who are celebrating this news. Radical liberals show their true colors when they are against this sort of stuff – not racism, not intolerance. They demonstrate how much their ideology has infiltrated and conquered their mind to the point that they aren’t even able to think rationally. Certainly reminds you of a certain Donald figure and the rest of the radicals in my own Republican party.

You cannot make this stuff up. But the radical left seems quite capable.
Quite honestly, if you can’t tell, I think the viewpoint is absurd. Yes, I suppose it’s worth considering, even if only because they took the time to write it; but in the end, it’s absurd. They would use the same argument if we wanted to put MLK on the bill. It’s simply another example of radical Liberals using ridiculous arguments to paint themselves as extra liberal, as super liberal, because they gain a certain amount of esteem in the Liberal community the more radical they are. Certainly, the Conservative right has plenty of its own problems with radicalization for the sake of radicalization, and we should never forget that but let’s not forget that the left is also capable of this political sin.

Can you imagine if a conservative figure said these things? Can you imagine the outrage? “They were against putting her on the bill because it would be DISRESPECTFUL??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Look, I’m all for going the extra mile, never settling, and pushing for what you believe in, but this seems like just someone’s attempt at being radically liberal for the sake of appearing to be radically liberal.

I get the point the author is making; I really do. Money represents capitalism. Putting her on money insults her memory because, apparently, more money more problems money symbolizes the force that enslaved her. To be fair, they’re not attacking capitalism in general, just American capitalism. I’m glad that these radical leftists at least recognize that there is a distinction.

Placing people on U.S. currency has always been about venerating our American heroes – not about celebrating our capitalists (crony or otherwise). George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Hamilton adorn our currency – not Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Gates. If selecting people to display on our currency was about symbolizing great capitalists then this latter list would be the people you’d see. But instead we have our current array. Perhaps a case could be made that Alexander Hamilton’s inclusion on the $10 bill is a veneration of American capitalism (because he was the founder of our nation’s financial system) but even then, he is the exception; not the rule.

Putting famous Americans on our currency is about celebrating what they have contributed to our country and the ideals they stood for. It is important who these people are because we use our money every day; it is important because we are able to keep our minds on the people we aspire to be. That’s why it’s important to have Harriet Tubman on the bill. We should all aspire to her ideals – as individuals and as a country.

She’s the kind of person that, when my kids someday ask me why she’s on our bill, I can look down at them and say:

“Because she represents everything we should strive to be. She worked against the seemingly insurmountable odds of slavery, tyranny, and oppression because she stood for a value – a value that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their creator with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is what America is about, my children. This is what it should be. But we have often failed. The very fact that she had to fight for these things tells us this – and there are times when we still fail. But putting her on our bills is a daily reminder that we should stand for what she stood for and that we must continue to persevere against tyranny and oppression so that her dream can become a reality. She represents everything we should want ourselves, and our country, to be.”

Putting her on the bill is not about capitalism. It’s about aspiring to be her. It’s about representing the things she stood for. I would be hard pressed to think of a higher honor.

Is it an insult to put her on an item that does, in a way, symbolize the sins that the greed of American capitalism has committed, continues to commit, and will commit?

Absolutely not.

Because, despite our sins and setbacks (current and otherwise), by putting her on the bill we are symbolizing something greater: we are trying to move forward. We aren’t trying to cover our mistakes. We aren’t trying to pretend we never failed in upholding the ideals of liberty. In fact, we are doing quite the opposite. We are loudly and boldly recognizing our failures.

How? Because she represents the voice that told us we were wrong when we thought we weren’t. We are venerating someone that stands for something we fought against in the past. It shows a great deal of maturity to place something that used to be our enemy, the realization of liberty and freedom, on a pedestal. For certainly, our history of oppression and tyranny of African-Americans has been nothing short of war against innocents.

Putting her on the $20 bill is the ultimate recognition of fault, of mistakes, of shame. It is an apology, a lament for the pains of the past, and our hope for the future.

It is not an insult.

Who else would you like to see on US Currency? More historical figures? Or should we go another route? Luke Skywalker? Your dog? The possibilities are endless!

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2 thoughts on “Cannot Believe I Have to Say This: Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill Is Not an Insult

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