Its as if we are just so oppressed that we will accept just about anything from the slave master and treat it like its our liberation they are offering us. That's why I understand how many Africans undoubtedly reacted with great joy at the announcement today that the U.S. Treasury Department is going to start printing images of Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill, replacing the image of Andrew Jackson. To many people this act symbolizes a level of recognition from the system against the wrongs that have been perpetrated against us. First, let's state that for Africans in the know, Harriet Tubman is iconic. This is the woman who sacrificed her life countless times helping guide at least 300 documented Africans to freedom from slavery. Just to negotiate the extremely dangerous terrain of transporting Africans from slave states to so-called free states, she had to endure life threatening conditions as a way of life. Yet, she did it with dignity, grace, and courage. She is a true heroine who deserves all of the respect afforded to her legacy and much more. That's the reason why in spite of our emotional desire to see this gesture of placing her image on the money as recognition of her contribution, we should see this move for exactly what it is, a slap in the face to African people everywhere and let me explain why.
First, it is impossible for the capitalist system to properly honor Harriet Tubman's efforts to lead the underground railroad to liberate Africans from slavery when this system has yet to even acknowledge the system of slavery itself. The capitalist system has never acknowledged the extent to which the slavery system has devastated, terrorized, and traumatized the African masses. It has never acknowledged that hundreds of millions of Africans were brutally murdered during this system. That we live all over the world, mostly in places that don't want us, as a result of this system. Meanwhile, there are no major slavery museums in this country today. There is no comprehensive curriculum on slavery in the public school system and there is absolutely no acknowledgement of the fact that the entire economic foundation of industrialization and the capitalist system was built on slavery and oppression. Wall street was established as the financial center of this country as a result of that area of New York being the primary slave trading post of African people on the East Coast of this country. Even Andrew Jackson, the thug who Sister Harriet's picture is slated to replace on the bill, came to fame as a killer of the Indigenous people's of the Western Hemisphere. In fact, most of the people currently on the money were Indian killers and/or slave owners. I have always felt this was fitting since U.S. currency more than anything else represents the blood and suffering to which this country is based upon. So, why would I want one of our most sacred and respected leaders to be desecrated by having her likeness placed on that currency if I understand all that it represents?
Any logical person would have to agree that you cannot recognize the leader of the abolition movement when you haven't even acknowledged slavery as the tragic, traumatic, and horrific institution that it was. To underscore, a recent Gallup poll indicated upwards of 60% of Europeans (White people) today do not even believe slavery to be that terrible of an institution! Since such little effort has been made to truly educate people about the legacy of slavery, then this move involving Ms. Tubman can be seen as nothing more than the habitual effort by capitalism to take our images of integrity and justice and compromise them into the likeness that connects them to the capitalist system as if they are a part of the legacy of this terrorist society. The purpose of changing the money in this way is to continue to confuse developing generations into believing that the U.S. is the just society they are constantly trying to pretend that they are. If the country can tolerate an African president and African people on its money than surely the country cannot be racist? The truth is that president is permitted to be president because he represents the interests of capitalism and white supremacy. No less number of Africans are being incarcerated under his regime. No less number of us are facing poverty, police terrorism, predatory lending, housing discrimination, job discrimination, disrespect, and alienation. So what difference does it make to have Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill if so many of us don't possess the capacity to have any of these bills for our usage?
Some of you are perfectly ok with symbolic progress, but many of us are not. Keep your twenty dollar bill and keep that murderer you had on it there. That way, I can use that bill to educate our youth about the hypocrisy of this system. As it stands, the bill and the system are completely compatible. That's why I could never be impressed with superficial change like adding Ms. Tubman to the bill. We are talking about a woman who dedicated her life to integrity. Something the capitalist system knows absolutely nothing about. I'm sure Ms. Tubman is turning over in her grave at the notion while some of you are satisfied with her face on the bill, Malcolm X's on the stamp, and streets named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Me? I say keep your streets, your stamps, and your killers on your money because either way, I'm going to continue to educate about the true values of Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and everyone else who dared stand up against this backward system. Such irony. The money was built on slavery and now one of the best slavery abolitionists will be on the money. Its sick. Like a rapist creating a commemoration for the persons they assaulted without ever acknowledging their role in traumatizing those survivors forever.