The Bank of Canada purged the image of an Asian-looking woman from its new $100 banknotes after focus groups raised questions about her ethnicity.
The original image intended for the reverse of the plastic polymer banknotes, which began circulating last November, showed an Asian-looking woman scientist peering into a microscope.
The image, alongside a bottle of insulin, was meant to celebrate Canada’s medical innovations.
But eight focus groups consulted about the proposed images for the new $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 banknote series were especially critical of the choice of an Asian for the largest denomination.
“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.
“But obviously when we got into focus groups, there was some thought the image appeared to represent a particular ethnic group, so modifications were made.”
Harrison declined to provide a copy of the original image, produced by a design team led by Jorge Peral of the Canadian Bank Note Co.
Nor would he indicate what specific changes were made to the woman researcher’s image to give her a so-called “neutral,” non-ethnic look. He said the images were “composites” rather than depicting any specific individual.
The Strategic Counsel conducted the October 2009 focus groups in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Fredericton, at a cost of $53,000.
The Toronto groups were positive about the image of an Asian woman because “it is seen to represent diversity or multiculturalism.”
In Quebec, however, “the inclusion of an Asian without representing any other ethnicities was seen to be contentious.”
One person in Fredericton commented: “The person on it appears to be of Asian descent which doesn’t rep(resent) Canada. It is fairly ugly.”
Mu-Qing Huang, a Chinese-Canadian who has peered into microscopes for biology courses at the University of Toronto, called the bank’s decision a “huge step back.”
“The fact that an Asian woman’s features were introduced to the bill … I think itself is a huge step forward in achieving true multiculturalism in Canada,” Huang, 24, said in an interview in Ottawa.
“But the fact that the proposal was rejected represents a huge step back.”
She said the “overly sensitive” decision to remove the Asian features suggests prejudice against visible minorities persists in Canada.
“If Canada is truly multicultural and thinks that all cultural groups are equal, then any visible minority should be good enough to represent a country, including (someone with) Asian features.”
631 Notes/ Hide
- fenisoffended reblogged this from fuckyeahtoronto and added:
- ihatemontreal reblogged this from fuckyeahtoronto and added:
- mercurialmagic likes this
- noodledreaming reblogged this from millstone
- magic-neighbour reblogged this from citrusbergamia and added:
- ricashae reblogged this from nihlisticalchemist and added:
- nihlisticalchemist reblogged this from agooddaytowhy and added:
- fluterr reblogged this from asiansnotstudying and added:
- adventureswithphil reblogged this from ehalcyon and added:
- problematize reblogged this from fuckyourracism
- inappropriatelaughing reblogged this from fuckyeahtoronto
- s133py likes this
- tablepunk reblogged this from shuf
- exitpursuedbyasloth likes this
- shota-boy-tell-em reblogged this from saltysalmonella and added:
- beytwerk reblogged this from stopwhitewashing
- asongofsexandsociety likes this
- rollapoid likes this
- saltysalmonella reblogged this from rosezemlya
- odd-spirit likes this
- acomebackstory likes this
- pencilhappy reblogged this from potassiumhydride and added:
- djspk reblogged this from kaligraphics
- ffeimo reblogged this from asiansnotstudying
- mizmlee reblogged this from fennekinthosedrawers
- danystormborntargaryen reblogged this from fuckyeahtoronto
- endymions-hawk reblogged this from destroyezioauditore
- fennekinthosedrawers reblogged this from ai-yo
- luxraygun likes this
- the-d-f-g likes this
- samstrident reblogged this from afewcleverspiders and added:
- whatshewanted likes this
- dodicesimo likes this
- afewcleverspiders reblogged this from frailspells and added:
- boshtits reblogged this from ghostferry
- potassiumhydride reblogged this from eccentricandfantastic
- kachinaa likes this
- ninaprettyballerina likes this
- frailspells reblogged this from oyveyzqueer
- spicy-cuzza likes this
- insertcoolusernamehere6 likes this
- skinnychicksandpornoflicks likes this
- kid-scholar reblogged this from kr1ssss and added:
- kr1ssss reblogged this from -ehna
- heymillioncents reblogged this from -ehna
- burngrotesque reblogged this from thingsforsharing
- -ehna reblogged this from realityimpaired
- transc0sette reblogged this from seizure7
- transc0sette likes this