Popular Culture

Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Proposal Reveals That Bigots Don’t Know American Presidents


An initiative would place Harriet Tubman’s face on the $20 bill, but there’s one problem — bigots who don’t want to spend the face of a black woman who was historically significant in America. Unfortunately for them, that’s not a politically correct or socially acceptable thing to say — so instead, they’re pretending to take issue with the fact that Tubman was never president. More unfortunately for them, this quickly reveals how very little they know about our country’s currency, and American history.

According to CBS, the initiative comes from a group called Women On 20s. They’ve been promoting it for a while, circulating a poll that asks the public what female leader in America would be best suited to appear on a bill. Now, they’ve reached a conclusion: the majority of those polled support Harriet Tubman as the choice.

Naturally, bigots are falling apart all over the internet. Here’s a comment from one news site’s Facebook page.

OK does that mean we can put Robert E Lee on money to? After all what’s fair is fair

There may be some interpretation of that sentence that doesn’t suggest that 1) there are two sides here, 2) that Tubman and Lee are equivalent forces on opposite sides, and 3) both ‘sides’ deserve representation on American cash, but I just don’t know what it would be.

Most of the comments in opposition, though, across multiple news sites, Facebook pages, and Twitter, all say essentially the same thing:

No! Former presidents only!”

Well, that strategy would effectively eliminate Harriet Tubman from the list of options, along with other candidates Women On 20s suggested, including Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others (full list here).

Of course, it would also eliminate Alexander Hamilton, currently pictured on the $10, and Benjamin Franklin, currently on the $100.

This isn’t just one person. Variations of this appear on almost every discussion about this initiative. Here’s a sampling from across news sites and social media. Names are redacted, because, honestly, this is embarrassing.

Harriet Tubman on a $20? It's not just for presidents.

Harriet Tubman wasn't a president, but she was a great American leader.

Are only presidents on money? Nope.

Has Harriet Tubman been president? Only a great American leader.

Harriet Tubman voted for $20 portait

Harriet Tubman isn't a white man or a U.S. President. She shares one of those traits with several dollar bill portraits.

Harriet Tubman is apparently the equivalent of Miley Cyrus to this guy who doesn't know American Presidents.

Harriet Tubman isn't a dead president. Neither is Hillary Clinton.

Of course, the ‘presidents only’ argument isn’t the only one we see against Harriet Tubman being placed on the $20 bill. There are also those who can’t rise above commenting that she’s ugly (while all these guys are gorgeous by today’s standards? Her expression in her portraits is serious and austere, just like theirs — she just lacks a powdered wig. Seriously, Harriet Tubman basically single-handedly gave freedom to a massive number of Americans and you’re focused on the fact that you don’t think she’s attractive? We won’t even go into what that says about you.), a few who just particularly adore Andrew Jackson, and those who are just opposed to change of any kind. Some have even tried to pretend they’re helping by suggesting this is just an attempt ‘to appease some people’ instead of making real changes.

For the most part, though, Harriet Tubman has done an excellent job, today, of helping show exactly how ignorant much of the American populace is about who we have on our currency.

There’s something else clearly lacking here too: reading comprehension. You see, Harriet Tubman hasn’t been selected by politicians for the $20 bill, either to prove something, appease someone, be politically correct, or any other purpose. Rather, she has been selected by a group of women’s equality supporters, as the person they will petition the government to add to currency. Again, in simple words: she’s not the person the government has picked, she’s the person citizens have picked to petition for.

As leaders go, though, Harriet Tubman is an excellent representation of women who have worked to create the America of today.

Steph Bazzle
Steph Bazzle is a homeschooling mom who likes to write about justice, equality, and religious issues.

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