Harriet Tubman, The Face of Money

Yesterday’s Baltimore Sun What Maryland Thinks online poll question:

Should Harriet Tubman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill?

Yes 22%
No 76%
Not Sure 2%

(115 votes)

As is often the case, the poll question is a fluffy non-issue that really doesn’t lend itself to analysis. You would think that, since Harriet Tubman was a Maryland native, there’d be some significant support for ascending her to be the face on the $20 bill. Since there were more than 3 No votes for every Yes vote, there is something else at play.

It would be easy to suggest that racism is a factor — it certainly is. However, I don’t think that racism is the major factor influencing the voting. Rather, it’s primarily resistance to change. Why change the $20 bill? I suspect that many of the participants in the poll know that Andrew Jackson (currently the face of the $20 bill) was a president; at the same time, I think they’d be hard pressed to pin him down in an historical context or to name a single accomplishment of that administration. Assuming I’m right, there’s no admiration for Jackson driving resistance.

I think it’s simply a matter of not wanting things to change. Boring, but there you have it.

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