Bank of Canada Re-Drafts Currency to Appease Bigots

The legal tender that Canada circulates in order to help its citizens believe that they exist in a social fabric where, rather than challenge each other to rock fights over limited resources, they can simply trade rectangles of paper amongst one another, recently underwent a redesign because people need a little variety. The first draft of the new $100 banknote, however, offered some bigoted Canadians a little too much variety, since it featured a woman of apparently Asian descent, which offended focus groups in Montreal and Fredericton so much that they clamored for the Bank of Canada to make the woman more "ethnically specific." The Bank of Canada, unfortunately, obliged.

The new $100 bill entered circulation in November, but when an early draft was shown to focus groups across the country in 2009, participants in Fredericton and Montreal objected to a scene on the back of the bill that included an Asian-seeming woman staring through a microscope (the $100 note is designed to celebrated Canada's contributions to science). The folks in Fredericton huffed that the image didn't represent Canada, while, according to documents from the Bank of Canada, "the inclusion of an Asian without representing any other ethnicities was seen to be contentious" in Montreal. Toronto, meanwhile, was fine with the banknote, probably because money is a social construct, just like race.

To be fair, some focus group participants were concerned that the image of an Asian woman staring through a microscope would only help perpetuate the stereotype that all Asians are good at science, so not all the objections to the banknote were necessarily bigoted objections...I guess. Whatever the reason behind focus group disdain for the note, the Bank of Canada eventually changed the image so that the woman's race was more ambiguous, a move that has ticked off Canada's Chinese community. The Bank, meanwhile, has said that the decision to amend the woman's ethnicity fell more in line with "with Bank of Canada policy of not highlighting specific ethnicities," i.e. making everyone seem pretty much white.

Bank of Canada slammed over ‘racist' move to scrap Asian image from $100 bills [Globe and Mail]