[photo above is of the original design – if you’re lucky, you can check your pocket for the new one]
“Some have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian,” says a 2009 report commissioned by the bank from The Strategic Counsel, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
“Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown.”
A few even said the yellow-brown colour of the $100 banknote reinforced the perception the woman was Asian, and “racialized” the note.
The bank immediately ordered the image redrawn, imposing a “neutral” ethnicity for the woman scientist who, now stripped of her “Asian” features, appears on the circulating note. Her light features appear to be Caucasian.
“The original image was not designed or intended to be a person of a particular ethnic origin,” bank spokesman Jeremy Harrison said in an interview, citing policy that eschews depictions of ethnic groups on banknotes.
Sometimes I like to have things laid out clearlym and this story is really helpful. Neutral ethnicity = white. Actual ethnic groups (non whites) not allowed on money. Colour of money should not match colour of skin of those depicted on the money. Thanks! Got it!
As my colleague just said to me, “so did they move her onto the blue note and have her playing hockey?”. I guess the helmet and cold weather clothes would let anyone masquerade as “neutral”.
This story is just too much. Didn’t anyone comment on the unfairness of showing a woman as a scientist?
[henceforth, August 17: the day the balance shifted in my thinking about focus groups]