April 21, 2016

Harriet Tubman: Icon of Resistance

I got joy; I got reluctance; I got questions.

Having been denied full rights to too much for much too long there is the tendency to celebrate any and every recognition whether it genuinely validates my beloved people or not. Resisting requires my deliberate energy.

Photo: Getty Images

I will agree representation matters sometimes. I agree entirely that accurate representation matters every time.

Would abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who "would have saved even more" from slavery's auction block, want her image on an instrument used for said purpose? Would she consider being in slave-owning Andrew Jackson's stead a dethrowning, a victory? Is this decision a response to national push-back against anti-blackness? Is it pandering to our unrest? Giving that blacks have little economic power in America, could the move be read as an insult? Won't Jackson's image, to be move to the back of the $20 dollar bill, suggest  an equivalency, a shared worldview between the two for those unfamiliar with Tubman's uncompromising activism? In effect, does the system's positioning our beloved heroine in this way reflect meaningful change?

I got joy; I got reluctance; I got questions.

Such is the nature of the pathology of white supremacy and anti-blackness.

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