Trust me, I couldn’t make this up if I tried:
“Andrew Jackson had a great history and I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill. Andrew Jackson had a history of tremendous success for the country . . . I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic; I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if maybe we could come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or another bill . . .”
These were the comments of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump in response to the Today Show’s Matt Lauer’s question if putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill was a move of political correctness or long overdue. He reiterated how Andrew Jackson was really someone important to this country.
As an African American woman, this backhanded comment initially enraged me. However, before you go and start bashing Donald Trump, he just verbally expressed the ideologies and prejudices that so many Black Americans deal with every day. This is no different from the #BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter debates or the Affirmative-Action-Is-Racist viewpoint.
As an MBA graduate, I cannot tell you how many jobs I have worked in corporate, federal and public municipalities where I see the advancement of my white counterparts who have lower skill sets and a high school diploma. I cannot tell you how many times I am given the you should be grateful for a job or why can’t their kind just be happy for what you have instead of asking for things attitude. Nevertheless, my white counterparts are viewed as “assertive” and “career driven” when they ask for twice as much and receive it. All affirming Donald Trump’s viewpoints: in the eyes of so many that control the power in this country, the efforts/accomplishments/labor/
Donald Trump’s above statements are just the honest admission of what so many in White America feel and practice but won’t always verbalize. (Trust me, the verbalization isn’t necessary: their bias and prejudicial treatment is more than enough.) Even in the 21st century, after having our first Black president, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is far from materializing in totality. As a young, black working entrepreneur, it is my belief that I will never see a world where we are judged by our character versus the color of our skin in my lifetime. Especially if, in the 21st century, a black pioneer is only deemed worthy to be displayed on a $2 bill. (I am surprised Trump didn’t suggest perhaps putting her on pennies or other coins.)
By the way, I am not an angry Black woman and I embrace all races when it comes to friendships, partnerships and acquaintances. Rather, understanding the ignorance of racial bias and disparate treatment, inspired me to become an entrepreneur and work tirelessly to empower those others deem insignificant. You cannot always change the opinions of others but you can definitely not allow their opinions to define you, deter you or stop you from succeeding. If there’s no open door, create one of your own.