OneUnited, the largest black-owned bank in the United States, is accused of pandering to black consumers by culturally appropriating the Afrocentric “Wakanda Forever” pose in a limited-edition debit card featuring American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
The card shows Tubman with her arms crossed in front of her. Critics claim the pose is a rip-off of the gesture popularized by the blockbuster Marvel Comics film, “Black Panther.”
The Black Panther is a superhero who hails from the imaginary African kingdom of Wakanda.
OneUnited was immediately slammed on Twitter by black Americans, who accused the bank of pandering and misappropriating the Afrocentric pose from “Black Panther.”
One man snarked: “Wakanda isn’t real and even if it was, Harriet Tubman was an American and this not from this imaginary African country.”
Wakanda isn’t real and even if it was Harriet Tubman was an American and this not from this imaginary African country. Okay good talk.
— Surprised Face Guy (@SurprisedFace) February 14, 2020
One man tweeted: “Come on! You could have just had Harriet Tubman on the card and that would have been enough. Having her do the Wakanda sign is just pandering. And it’s insulting.”
Come on! You could have just had Harriet Tubman on the card and that would have been enough. Having her do the #Wakanda sign is just pandering. And it’s insulting. I’m still waiting for her to be on the $20 bill minus the Wakanda.
— TSgt Kevin Edwards (Retired) ?? (@KLE1967) February 14, 2020
One woman lamented: “Harriet didn’t die for this.”
Harriet didn’t die for this.
— Yesha (@YeshaCallahan) February 13, 2020
Another man tweeted: “I didn’t know Harriet Tubman was from Wakanda.”
I never knew that Harriet Tubman was from Wakanda.
— Andrew (@AndrewP04886690) February 14, 2020
In response to the backlash, OneUnited Bank doubled-down, saying the arms-crossed gesture is the sign language symbol for love.
“Harriet Tubman is the ultimate symbol of love – love that causes you to sacrifice everything, including your own life,” the bank tweeted. “The gesture is the sign language symbol for love. It’s so important that we love ourselves.”
As it is, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler previously revealed that the “Wakanda Forever” pose was indeed inspired by the sign language gesture for “love.”
Harriet Tubman is the ultimate symbol of love – love that causes you to sacrifice everything, including your own life. The gesture is the sign language symbol for love. It's so important that we love ourselves.
— OneUnited Bank (@oneunited) February 13, 2020
The manufactured outrage over this debit card underscores that some people will complain about anything. It also gives a taste of the kind of backlash that will undoubtedly occur once the new $20 bill featuring Tubman gets released in 2028.
Barack Obama announced in 2016 that the Treasury Department will replace the image of Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with that of Tubman, the abolitionist who helped free hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad.
In 2019, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that Tubman won’t be placed on the $20 bill until 2028, as the redesign is not a pressing issue.
“The primary reason we have looked at redesigning the currency is for counterfeiting issues,” Mnuchin said in May 2019 before the House Financial Services Committee. “It is my responsibility now to focus on what is the issue of counterfeiting and the security features. The ultimate decision on the redesign will most likely be another Secretary’s down the road.”
Predictably, leftist race-baiters like CNN’s Don Lemon immediately accused the Trump administration of racism for delaying the rollout.
Actually, it was a smart move because it’s a no-win situation. No matter what the redesign, you can be sure the Left will loudly complain about it and accuse whoever does the redesign of being a racist.
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