Currency chaos

April 28, 2016


Features Editor | jts040@latech.edu







Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew recently announced Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill by the year 2020.



Naturally, the internet reacted calmly, and everyone was in agreement putting Tubman on the currency would give recognition to an extremely important historical figure.



Oh I’m sorry, what I meant to say is conservative news sources collectively shit their pants at the prospect of taking President Jackson off the $20 bill.



Don’t get me wrong, Jackson is an important historical figure. The Washington Post was right when it published an article saying we can celebrate Tubman without being critical of Jackson.



But the $20 bill is not the only changing denomination; the $10 bill will feature women’s suffrage leaders and the $5 bill will feature Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. on the backs. Hamilton and Lincoln will retain top billing, unlike the $20, where Jackson will be placed on the back.



It is interesting the only one of these changes attracting tons of negative attention is the one where the black woman gets top billing.



For the life of me, I’m incapable of understanding why this is an issue.



Our national icons cover our money. Are we so protective of a particular version of history we have no room for recognition of other icons?



Tubman, King and Susan B. Anthony are just as important as Hamilton and Jackson. They helped expand our country’s protections and liberties to disenfranchised groups.



Why can’t we honor them as well as the old guard?



The new $20 will be a symbol of the highly divisive and multi-layered history of our country: On the back, a man who pitied the poor but caused the deaths of thousands of Native Americans, and on the front, an African-American slave liberator who became known as “Moses.”



We’re a nation of dueling sensibilities, and the new currency will represent us well.


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