On Tuesday morning, the country rejoiced when it was announced that Harriet Tubman, Underground railroad conductor and all-around badass, was going to replace Andrew Jackson, a slave-owning racist who engineered and oversaw a genocide, on the $20 bill and become both the first woman and the first African American on United States currency.
That hasn’t changed, but it’s gotten more complicated. On Tuesday afternoon, the Treasury Department announced that Jackson wasn’t being removed from the bill, just being moved from the front to the back:
I suppose you could make an argument that this is a fitting symbolism of America’s inability to shake its racist past—to forever have one foot stuck in the mud while another strides for something better—but mostly this is bad. If this is a compromise—and it certainly seems like it—it’s not entirely clear who it mollifies. Part of the reason why Tubman’s inclusion on the $20 bill was so widely celebrated was that Andrew Jackson, a racist prick, was being kicked off of it. Now that’s not true and what you have instead is a muddle.