A Canadian money controversy is brewing after the nation’s central bank gave into racial pressure to change an image on its $100 bill.
The bill originally featured an Asian-looking scientists peering through a microscope, but that came under fire from eight focus groups conducted across Canada, AFP reported. The bank changed the image to a woman with neutral racial features — one who appears Caucasian — but this week revealed its original design.
The Canada money controversy was fueled by Asian-American groups, which chided the Bank of Canada for giving in to what they see as “racist feedback.” The image was meant to celebrate the innovation of scientists from Canada, but, instead, the money controversy has generated bad press for the Bank of Canada.
“That was not the bank’s intention and I apologize to those who were offended — the bank’s handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us,” said Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney in a statement.
The focus groups had found that the original image was “an inappropriate stereotype, i.e., Asians have an affinity for the sciences.” This stereotype was reinforced by the brown and yellow color of the money, which focus group members thought reinforced the perception that the person depicted was Asian.
But not everyone is buying into the Canada money controversy.
“Personally, as one of Asian heritage, I find this entire discussion silly,” said Ken Wong, professor of marketing at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, reacted. “The person on the bill is a Canadian regardless of ethnicity: it should never have been changed,” he said. “If Carney needs to apologize for anything it is for being overly sensitive to political correctness run amok.”
After the Canada money controversy, the bank will be changing its design process, The Canadian Press noted. Carney said, “Our bank notes belong to all Canadians, and the work we do at the bank is for all Canadians.”