Society and Culture

Of Course There are Racist Responses to Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

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There are some truths I know to be absolute: gas station sushi is a bad idea, Betty White is a national treasure, and the internet is full of racist people. And if you need proof of that third claim, look no further than the internet’s response to the Treasury Department’s announcement that Harriet Tubman will be replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

First of all–this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Plans to redesign the most commonly used bills have been underway for some time, and the push to place a female face on American currency has been a longstanding effort. Additionally, Tubman won’t be the only woman to be featured on paper currency come the 2020 redesign–according to WIRED:

And so Hamilton will remain on the face (you can thank, or blame, the hit musical Hamilton for that), while the obverse will feature abolitionists and women’s rights activists Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul. The $5 bill is changing as well, to ‘honor historic events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in service of our democracy,’ according to the Treasury. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Marian Anderson, and Eleanor Roosevelt will appear on the bill.

However, it’s the Tubman addition that the internet is freaking out about, and while a lot of reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, there are plenty of jerks responding with bigotry, racism, and general idiocy. Here’s some examples:

The Wonkette collected some charming examples from the comment sections of articles written about the addition of Tubman to the $20; here are some particularly vomit-worthy standouts from an article written by Jim Hoft on the Gateway Pundit:

I would think the EBT card would be more appropriate.

Can you guess how many of them will be defaced… and how fast? As much as they try to rid the enword from our language, this will increase it’s use exponentially.

this will go the way of the sacagawea golden dollar. i will not accept a twenty dollar bill until it has jackson back on it. give me 10’s and 50’s…i’ll deal with it…you should too. these self serving racist do gooders must be stopped

Here’s, of course, a call for our future savior Donald Trump to step in and put an end to the malarky:

It wasn’t just the anonymous people on the internet getting involved in the debate. Talking head Greta Van Susteren went on a rant last night on Fox about how the addition of Tubman on our $20 bill and removing Jackson is “dividing the country” and “creating a completely unnecessary fight,” which is amusing given that she propagated a fight that didn’t actually exist by bringing it up on her show. 

And then, of course, you have Republican hopeful himself, Donald Trump, who came out against putting Tubman on the $20 as “pure political correctness,” suggesting that she be featured on the $2 bill instead. He also defended Jackson, the man who was responsible for the Trail of Tears saying that he should remain on the $20. 

America, this is why we can’t have nice things. 

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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