At least a million people want a woman on the twenty dollar bill. And the majority of those people have chosen abolitionist Harriet Tubman:
The Women on 20s campaign has declared that America needs the face of a woman on its currency and that woman should be abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The campaign petitioned the federal government this week after Tubman won an online poll that featured 15 historic women — including Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony — as candidates to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
Why? I am not really sure. This is not the first time well-intentioned people have attempted to get women on money. Remember the Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea dollar coins? Those were pretty much an unmitigated disaster.
All that said, I really don’t care one way or the other. My biggest concern is that it costs money to design new money, and I’m not for the civil government spending any more than is necessary.
Also, the picture they’ve chosen for Harriet Tubman is not flattering—it’s unclear that it actually is a woman. Which seems to defeat the purpose of the change.
And, like many other commentators, I think these kinds of symbolic formal changes do nothing for anyone. Just because we put a woman on the twenty, even a black woman, does that mean we’re progressive or progressing? We put a black man in the White House, and racial tensions have only grown worse. Symbolic gestures of equality just aren’t meaningful. The only thing that counts is real transformative cooperation.