White Is Right for Canadian Money

Posted on August 17, 2012

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It happened with crayons.  “Flesh toned” used to mean pink, like White people’s skin.  Until recently, other people’s skins, black, brown and golden, didn’t come in “flesh tones.”

Well, they changed the crayon boxes after awhile.

Simone de Beauvoir discussed a related idea in 1949 in her book, The Second Sex.  She argued that woman is sociologically the second sex, because in a male dominated world, where men dominate the conversation, femaleness is merely an adjunct to maleness, maleness being primary.

I’m not entirely sure we’ve changed that yet.

Similarly, in conversations about colonialism, scholars from colonized groups are often treated as politicized, ideological, with European voices regarded as defining the neutral, unemotional truth.

They haven’t changed that at all.

So now with the Canadian $100 dollar bill.  They recently removed a picture of an Asian-looking woman looking through a microscope and replaced her with another woman who is obviously Euro-Canadian.  The official explanation is that they decided not to depict ethnic groups on Canadian bills.

Except Euro-Canadian is an ethnic group.  There may be mixed groups, mixed ethnicities, but there is no such thing as a neutral ethnicity in real life.

What the officials are really saying is that only images of White people will appear on Canadian folding money.

In order not to offend anyone.

Really.