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Changing the face of money does not change the face of poverty

Most of you have heard by now that Harriet Tubman, a former slave, and abolitionist would have her photo placed on the 20 dollar bill.  She would replace Andrew Jackson, 7th US president, Native American persecutor and slave owner.

Many have celebrated this moment as a historical step forward.  Let’s slow down for a second.  This moment may not be as positive as some of us are lead to believe.

Now, I know some of you are already saying, “Hey, I’m not responsible for slavery so why is this a bad thing?”  Let’s take a look, shall we?

We are fast moving to become a cashless society

Let’s start off with an easy one.  As technology has become more prevalent in our daily lives, fewer and fewer of us actually carry less cash on our persons than we did, even twenty years ago.  A survey done in 2012 showed that 73% of Americans use less cash than they did 10 years prior.  So, why bother changing faces on cash when within the next 10 years we possibly won’t be using it at all?  Right now, credit card companies are changing the way we use credit cards with EMV chips ingrained in them (as used throughout most of Europe) and smart devices are now able to pay for most of our goods. By the reports made on the park view credit repair reviews, there are still deep issues concerning hacking and privacy but we aren’t carrying cash like we used to so, why bother?

Women still make less than men

Women in the US make less than non-Hispanic White men.  That is just a fact.  When you look a lot further into that, one can see that White women make 78% of what White men make and Black women make even less than that at 63%.   Diversity is great if people want to have a work place where employers see no color, but when it comes to the color green, there is still a disparity what is paid to whom. The pay gap is not a myth, so why put a Black woman or any woman on money if they still can’t be expected to make the same amount as their male counterparts?

Chart from the AAUW shows the pay gap between women and men

The US still won’t raise minimum wage

This topic could be its own narrative as one considers socioeconomic factors for and against minimum wage.  The bottom line is this hot potato that has been tossed around in our government for quite some time and no one seems to want to move on it.  According to the NWLC, the federal minimum wage still hovers around $7.25 and if you are a tipped worker, it’s just $2.13 an hour.  That means in nearly every state, women working a full time minimum wage job with kids are near or below the poverty line.  So really, what good is replacing a face on money going to do for them? This is what the Department of Labor’s blog site has to say about giving them a raise:

When it comes to the minimum wage, far too many working women in this country deserve a raise. Women account for less than half of the U.S. working population, yet nearly 6 in 10 workers earning the minimum wage are women. Many are working full time and are the sole breadwinners for their families – bringing in earnings of less than $15,000 a year. Consider this: a family of four trying to get by on that income is living 17 percent below the poverty line, even with tax credits. That’s unacceptable.

What it comes down to is this.  In a country where it became necessary for someone to have free slaves, the same slaves that made this country what it was economically; it’s not a good look to have her picture on currency.  It’s almost celebratory.  It’s being done when no other effort to increase wages for women to have equal pay or live above the poverty line.  This is being done at a time also when we are seeing heightened racist rhetoric aimed at anyone trying to make a living in the US and making much less that the crumbling majority. To paraphrase a friend of mine, it’s like seeing “to serve and protect” on police cars but who are they serving and protecting?  That is a story however, for another time.

Let’s not forget, Harriet Tubman died a destitute woman.  The government at the time even vetoed a bill that would have paid for her services rendered to the Union during the Civil War.   The so called honorific after the fact, does not make up for it nor does it make up for the inequities faced by women today in the US workplace.

About Armand (1275 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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