I knew it wouldn’t be long before the Black Feminist Brigades would be weighing in on the recent brouhaha over putting Civil War heroine Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, replacing US President Andrew Jackson. And, as always, Feminista Jones didn’t disappoint.
Writing in the Washington Post yesterday, Ms. Jones makes the case that Tubman didn’t play a pivotal role in the Underground Railroad freeing as many slaves as possible, to support good ole American capitalism – oh no – but to “subvert” it:
“On one hand, replacing the face of Andrew Jackson – a man whose wealth was made on the backs of enslaved black people – with Tubman’s image sounds like an idyllic reversal of fortune. But in examining Tubman’s life, it’s clear that putting her face on America’s currency would undermine her legacy. By escaping slavery and helping many others do the same, Tubman became historic for essentially stealing “property.” Her legacy is rooted in resisting the foundation of American capitalism. Tubman didn’t respect America’s economic system, so making her a symbol of it would be insulting.”
But, upon closer inspection, the historical record shows that the late great Ms. Tubman was very much the savvy American businesswoman.
Wikipedia Is Your Friend, Feminista
Let’s count the ways in which Harriet had no problems in the least with leveraging her life story to make a buck, shall we? Checking in with Wikipedia, it says the following about Ms. Tubman’s financial situation:
“Tubman’s friends and supporters from the days of abolition, meanwhile, raised funds to support her. One admirer, Sarah Hopkins Bradford, wrote an authorized biography entitled Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman. The 132-page volume was published in 1869, and brought Tubman some US$1,200 in revenue. Criticized by modern biographers for its artistic license and highly subjective point of view, the book nevertheless remains an important source of information and perspective on Tubman’s life. Bradford released another volume in 1886 called Harriet, the Moses of her People, which presented a less caustic view of slavery and the South. It, too, was published as a way to help alleviate Tubman’s poverty.”
Got that, folks? Tubman authorized a biography, twice, for the express purpose of making money – not exactly a ringing endorsement of striking a blow against good ole American capitalism, hmm? According to this calculator, $1200 USD in 1869 would be worth about $21,052.63 USD as of 2014.
Nice work if you can get it, right? Trust me, Feminista ain’t making that kind of money for her book, I can promise you that.
But wait, there’s more! Wikipedia also records the fact that Ms. Tubman was not above a good ole get rich quick scheme, involving gold at that:
“Because of the debt she had accumulated (including delayed payment for her property in Auburn), Tubman fell prey in 1873 to a swindle involving gold transfer. Two men, one named Stevenson and the other John Thomas, claimed to have in their possession a cache of gold smuggled out of South Carolina. They offered this treasure – worth about US$5,000, they claimed – for US$2,000 in cash. They insisted that they knew a relative of Tubman’s, and she took them into her home, where they stayed for several days. She knew that white people in the South had buried valuables when Union forces threatened the region, and also that black men were frequently assigned to digging duties. Thus the situation seemed plausible, and a combination of her financial woes and her good nature led her to go along with the plan. She borrowed the money from a wealthy friend named Anthony Shimer, and arranged to receive the gold late one night. Once the men had lured her into the woods, however, they attacked her and knocked her out with chloroform, then stole her purse and bound and gagged her. When she was found by her family, she was dazed and injured, and the money was gone.”
Again, I ask the readers out there – does the above sound like someone who has taken a vow of poverty to make a statement about the wicked American money making machine? To ask the question, is to answer it.
The Real Reason Why Black Women Are Broke
Jones continues in her Bizarro-styled rant, with the following harangue about why she thinks Black American women are in dire financial straits:
“American capitalism historically has been used to oppress and disenfranchise women and people of color. At various points in our nation’s history, women were forbidden from owning property, married women were forbidden from working, and black women were restricted to jobs as cooks and maids. Even today, economic injustice continues in the form of unequal pay, limiting women’s ability to reach their full economic potential. For every dollar a white man earns from his labor in the United States, white women earn 78 cents, black women earn 64 cents, and Hispanic women earn just 54 cents. This isn’t a result of a lack of effort to rise up. Even with a college degree, black women earn less than white men without one. Single black women have a median net worth of just $100.” (Last line bolded for emphasis by yours truly)
That’s right Feminista – single Black women have a net worth that’s in the toilet – and rightly so. Because the vast majority of single people, male and female alike, will never have as much net worth, equity and assets, as married people – and that, is the secret to success in America, as I’ve pointed out in my previous column, “Mo’Nique Proves That Diva Culture Is Ruinous To Black Women“:
“Speaking of economics, when topics like the one we’re currently examining comes up, it is rarely done so with the bottom line in mind. However, when one considers the facts, it becomes clear just how fiscally ruinous certain cultural norms and behaviors actually are in Black American life, and accounts much more for the state of things there than anything “racist”. For example, last week I made the case that a major reason Black women as a group have the lowest net worth of any group of American women, was due to the fact that they are the least partnered group of women – they have the lowest marital rate, the highest divorce rate, the highest rate of breakup and infidelity (both cheating and being cheated on) in relationships, and of course, the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates – and that this too, was due at least as much to the adherence to “diva culture” among Black women, than anything else. I stated a simple truth: that for most average Americans, a surefire way of upping your economic profile was to get married, stay married and work together with your spouse to build a better life. It’s something that has worked, and continues to work, and if anyone knows this, it’s the White feminists in our time who have successfully implanted the notion into the minds of millions of Black women that “they don’t need no man”. They’ve played a seriously cruel joke on their “sistas” – one that amounts to real dollars and cents lost on the ledger.
And, as Mo’Nique’s current situation aptly shows, it doesn’t stop there. She has lost numerous opportunities to act in what would become highly acclaimed (and financially successful) films that could have put her onto yet another Oscar track. How much has those lost acting jobs cost her? Could it be to the tune of millions?
You do the math.”
As to the idea that Black women couldn’t own property back in the day, Harriet Tubman’s own life proves such a notion a big fat lie, to say nothing of numerous examples of prosperous Black women businesswomen – my own grand mother was among them – throughout the previous century. Madame C.J. Walker is perhaps the best known but by no means was she alone. To attempt to suggest that Black women were somehow prevented from making money, owning and running businesses and the like, is to run roughshod over the simple historical record. To peddle this idea just beggars belief. This is the mind of Feminista Jones, y’all – and it ain’t pretty.
Feminista Jones, Hypocrite Extraordinaire
It’s always interesting to see Miseducated Negroes like Jones attempt to talk out of both sides of their mouths – bemoaning American capitalism and consumer culture on the one hand, while doing everything they can to reap the benefits of the same on the other. We see this on craven display by Jones herself, tweeted by her own ever-working fingers. There she is, spending much of the past month globetrotting, topping off her tour in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates – playground to the Rich & Famous, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Capitalism.
While Women of Color toil away in the nooks and crannies of the Cultural Capital of the world in Dickensian fashion, tending to the hands, feet and eyebrows of New York City’s Elite Ladies who really could use some feminist advocacy on their behalf, Ms. Jones flits around the globe, literally in the lap of luxury, tweeting at a rate of roughly a dozen an hour to dish on how palatial her lodgings are, how much she’s drank with her newfound buds overseas and chopping it up with her feminists in arms in foreign lands. Car 54, Where Are You?
So, miss me with your fakin’ the funk with a nasty dunk, crocodile-tear laden ode to keepin’ it real on the economic tip, Feminista. You very much love the dough.
And so did Harriet.
Neither of you would be American, otherwise. If you really want to do something and make a difference, you can start right there in your own hometown, at a nailery near you.
As feminists in general, and Negro ones in particular, continue to make themselves look an utter fool to say nothing of rank hypocrites, the mainstream media gonna learn, as Rolling Stone did, not to get so cuddly with these folks; doing so only degrades their brand and credibility among the reading public, at a time when trust in the media is at an all-time low, and when journalism is really taking it on the chin in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts fashion. I know that times have been hard for WaPo and Jeff Bezos has been trying to shake things up, but giving space to folk like Jones just ain’t the ticket. All it does is prove to the public that they, along with the rest of the Cathedral, have truly jumped the shark – after all, we’ve gone, in less than half a century, from Woodward & Bernstein, to Feminista Jones.
Oh, how the mighty, have truly fallen.
Suggested Further Reading: Pushing Feminista Jones’ Buttons: A Book Review
[Ed. Note: Featured image by Ron Cogswell “Unwavering Courage in the Pursuit of Freedom” — Tubman-Garrett Park Wilmington (DE) December 2012 has been cropped and is licensed under CC 2.0]