Wednesday, April 20, 2016

All that's wrong with Harriet Tubman being the new face of the U.S. $20 bill

    The news just broke about an hour ago, the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that it is official Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the 20 dollar bill(source). Rumors buzzed about this possibility last year and in response I wrote this spoken word piece:


     Today people are rejoicing, however my I still feel as strongly as I felt about this as I did when I wrote the poem above. Harriet Tubman on the $20 is problematic. As we all know Harriet Tubman was enslaved along with millions of Blacks in America. She is know for freeing hundreds of enslaved people by leading them up north(parts of which slavery was abolished) using a system called the underground railroad. What people often overlook is that she also continued to fight for human rights while free which included her being a big part of the Women's suffrage movement. She was beat down for years by slave owners to the point where she suffered chronic headaches, seizures, insomnia, and more. What exactly can her image on the very money she was sold for do about that? She had bounties on her for thousands of dollars and still fought for freedom and equality, risking her life every step of the way. This capitalist system was built against Harriet Tubman and against all of us. POC, Black People, are still oppressed by the country's system despite no longer being "slaves". Black people still suffer from results of slavery, racism is still very much alive and White people still reap the benefits of that. Putting Harriet Tubman face on our currency seems to show some sort of recognition but truthfully it is not helping. What would help would be taking off all of the now present faces on our dollar bills for they are all white men responsible for the invasion of other countries, enslavement of innocents people, unnecessary wars, corrupt policies, and the foundation of our flawed capitalism and hypocritical government systems; among many other things. Instead a printing a photograph, the U.S. should actually give descendants of enslaved Africans their reparations. Harriet Tubman had vision, she believed in something and fought for it, at this point that fight is not yet won.

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