Ideas for affirmative action $10 bill

The government says that you need to be a woman (definition? see below) to be on the $ 10 bill and also to be dead. I propose that the “dead” restriction be lifted. Let’s keep the focus on the future, not the unenlightened past.

Many countries select prominent authors. Given the limitation to a living woman I think that would have to be Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate.

Movies and music have replaced writing in a lot of Americans’ lives. Why not Madonna? Or a movie director or actress? Everyone feels elevated by Meryl Streep. How about Oprah Winfrey? I would be happy every time that I opened my wallet if I could see a portrait of Oprah.

The future may be an America where everyone can be a victim. The natural choice would then be Ellen Pao. She has been identified by the New York Times and other national media as a heroine to American women. She has demonstrated racial and sexual preference tolerance as well with her marriage to a gay black man. Actually if there were a dual portrait of the happy couple the $ 10 bill would thereby include a trifecta of American victimhood (female, black, gay).

Lenore Weitzman has perhaps had more impact on America’s children than any other woman. As noted in the “History of Divorce” chapter, her political work was instrumental in states adopting the current (highly profitable) child support guidelines. The economic incentives resulted in millions of additional American children living without two parents. Weitzman also enabled an adult American to tap into the resources of multiple adults simultaneously (formerly the money was in alimony rather than in possession of children and one could tap just a single alimony payor at any one time).

Caitlyn Jenner raises some definitional questions. What would it mean to be a “woman” for the purposes of this affirmative action campaign? Does she have to have two X chromosomes? A female-style body, whether naturally or artificially created? Simply a Rachel Dolezal-style identification with things feminine? Jenner was a great athlete and shows that it is possible to inspire Americans over many decades.

Ideas from readers?

[If the death requirement is not relaxed, my personal vote is for Sacagawea. Via her achievements as an explorer and diplomat she was instrumental in leading the expansion of the U.S. from a coastal nation into a continental one. She made a multi-thousand-mile road trip, a quintessentially American phenomenon. She did the trip on foot and while carrying and nursing a baby. The downside of choosing Sacagawea is that would encourage Americans to dream about our past as a sparsely populated frontier nation, not think seriously about our future as nation of 400 or 600 million.]

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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