Why Harriet Tubman on A $20 Is Just Symbolic

Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman

Good afternoon folks. Maybe I am a contrarian, but I have to come out and say that this latest news about Harriet Tubman being put on a 20 dollar bill isn’t that big of a deal for me. If I have to be one of the few to say it, then I will.

The fact that this kind of symbolism keeps happening shows that real change is hard to fight for. We can get Harriet Tubman on a 20 dollar bill, but can’t put away a cop for killing an unarmed Black person. Okay, America. When I say that, I mean no disrespect to the legacy of Harriet Tubman. Don’t put me in that Russell Simmons category.  It’s just that I can’t get “happy” about this when Akai Gurley’s murderer got off yesterday with 800 hours of community service and 5 years probation. I can’t bring myself to celebrate a symbolic “win” Talk about the commodification of the struggle. That’s a thought piece just waiting to write itself.




  1. I would hope that any recognition, win, victory amongst people of color will always be taken as strides of accomplishment. It is not worth your words or effort to tear down this day because of what you feel has not been resolved and is still a human stain in America. Yes, murder, abuse or beating of individuals for just being…is obviously wrong. But there are small victories that can be applauded while simultaneously working on other efforts.

    This is not a small effort but huge and should be celebrated. Just like the election of a Black president in the USA, this is another feat we all thought we would never see. Most of us have never dreamed this kind of dream.

    So take the time to enjoy this moment with the rest of us. It takes a lot of effort to be salty all the time. As Black people, our lives would be continuously filled with bitterness if we only thought of the things that have been done to us.

    We only slightly give ourselves credit for having the fortitude to go on with our lives, in spite of others. This is the resilience left behind by our ancestors of the slave area (my opinion). This, “I must go on” buried down in our bone marrow cannot be bought or sold. We are gifted this talent, as we watch our mothers, fathers and great people around us, forge ahead, mostly silently. Day after day after day…

    So when do we breath, enjoy our lives, have a moment of reverie. We need that so we can have the strength to go out again and fight the good fight.

    When the sun shines…let it cover you.

  2. Good morning, Angel. It’s a symbolic stride, and that’s about it. What I am saying has nothing to do with being “salty”. It’s about recognizing this “news” that will not even go into effect for another 4 years as just another symbolic win. Actually, bringing up the first Black president is a good parallel in this example, because even that marker didn’t really mean much materially for the majority of Black people in this country. If there were more real victories to cheer about then, that would be laudable. No one is tearing down this day, just pointing out the hypocrisy of commodifying Harriet Tubman when she freed many of our ancestors from the dictates of the market. As if there was no connection between capitalism and slavery. We as a people are so beaten down by a myriad of forces, that we are conditioned to accept anything that even resembles a victory, even if it is empty.

    Thanks for your commentary, but I respectfully disagree with your outlook.

  3. You should re-name your site, “It’s gonna be a bad day everyday and if something good happens, superficial or in-depth, I will not celebrate it because something bad is bound to happen any moment now. And because every plight of African American life has not been addressed and reconciled, let’s overlook anything that isn’t major.” Yes, that about covers it.

    SO WHAT if it wont’t take effect for a few years. This change is part of the government, so yes, understandlbly, we all realize, except you, the wheels of government turn slowly but they do turn. Budgets, equipment, authorizations. That is not reason enough to eliminate celebration. The release date is in the hopper.

    I don’t know how big your platform is but your are using it all wrong(my opinion).

    You need a hug.

    With Black people like you beating down sucessful milestones, why are we complaining about what White people do or say to us. This is a “If you’re not for us, you are against us” move. You can respectfully disagree as long as you’d like but unless you are saying something worth hearing, you are saying nothing.

    If your personality is anything like your commentary, you are miserable to be around.

    I hope you didn’t waste money on college for this kind of knowledge. Go get a refund.
    You were jilted. My public school education was worth every tax payer dollar.

    College grads and those who didnt get the email, it is highly encouraged to only speak when you have something important to say, to wake up everyday with fresh ambition, in life you will find, not all your expectations will be met but when something unexpected comes your way, relish in the moment because the next hooray may take time and in a triumph, if you have constrasting opinion, you can choose to just say – nothing. Practice, practice, practice. This way, you avoid looking foolish and unwise.

    Lastly, if you are set on being loquacious and having counter, down with the cause opinions, stick with the few people in your circle, who are amazed by you.

  4. Thank you for this long, screed of personal attacks that does nothing to answer any of the points I originally raised.

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