So apparently it’s official: Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill.
My first thought was: Suck it, Andrew, you fucking murderer!
But the next thought was not a flip side of “Yay! Harriet!”. The flip side was, in fact, a question:
What does this mean for Black People?
Harriet Tubman organized the first Formation. It was called The Underground Railroad. And she slayed. SLAAAYED. With a pistol and the moonlight she never lost or left one of our ancestors as she guided us away from the economic behemoth of slavery, and the unthinkable violence we endured at the hands of those which grew fat from the fruits of our exploited labor. In her 8 years as Conductor, she got every passenger to the destination: Freedom. Like Alice Walker said: She is not our great-grandmother for nothing.
Does this move preserve her legacy? Or diminish it?
What does this mean for Black People when the same paper that had enough power to purchase our very lives — justify our kidnapping, enslavement, rape, and murder — now struts the face of our sister who risked everything to dismantle the system of slavery that got the green going in the first place?
This isn’t theoretical. She will literally be on the same paper. The paper that split our families. Kept us destitute once the chains were removed. Has continued to allow the system to mutate in ways that keep the sea of green foaming as long as we stay under to churn it– underpaid, under guard, under ground.
What does it mean for Black People who to this day are still exploited for our labor, if the reward for that exploitation now has a Black face on it? Or is it just Blackface?