Canada likes females on the new $100 bill to be “white-washed” and racially-neutral?

Female image on $100 plastic bill – is “Too Asian” for the Bank of Canada

Earlier in August, a great debate started… and I commented lots on Facebook:
I posted the article on a few Facebook walls, as well as my own with the comment:
Todd Wong “I am thinking of Asian Canadian women who are valid and important scientists… and Dr. Hilda Ching was the Ruth Woodwyn Chair of SFU Women’s Studies – click this link to see her final report
There were lots of comments about the importance of promoting science, and since the $100 bill has a picture of insulin, people asked why are Banting and Best on the $100 bill?
But wait… Harper’s Conservative Government is putting an end to Canadian Science by muzzling them… so that can’t be true….
Feds muzzle scientist over salmon study
Yes… sadly… I had learned that the Canadian Conservative government was muzzing federally paid scientists.  This was all revealed during the Cohen Inquiry concerning the missing salmon in the Fraser River.  Federal scientists were told NOT to speak to the media or “others”.  What kind of country or society, would try to suppress information and knowledge?
But then I got a FB reply from Dr. Hilda Ching:
“This is Hilda Ching responding from Hawaii. Thanks Todd for your comments. I am amazed that the Woodward report is available. Since 6 of us founded SCWIST (Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology) in 1983, the profile of women scientists has changed considerably. The women are young professionals with Asian, Indo-Asian and European origins. We value their diversity, complexity of backgrounds and images. The change of the woman’s complexion to ‘white’ on the banknote reinforces the image that science as a white male and female’s elitist community. The white guy in a lab coat is history; so it would have been appropriate to have kept that image on the bank note as a ‘typical’ Canadian woman in science. In other words, ‘white’ is not ‘typical’ in the science community anymore.”
Then my friend Zarah Martzposted toTodd Wong
Your name was just dropped on CBC .. thanks for weighing in a Vancouver opinion on the $100 bill issues. Sad only people of European ancestry are deemed ‘neutral’ enough to be seen on a bill (by the focus group). Looking around at the vast diversity of people of all backgrounds celebrating multiple cultural heritages – it seems a step in the wrong direction. Let’s embrace Canada as mixed and representing our many cultural and ancestral roots.
I replied:

Todd Wong

huh? what was the context? I have been hanging out in Vernon with my non-Asian “in-laws” and their beloved daughter. Just spreading the awareness that Adrienne Clarkson and Michalle Jean were deemed worthy enough to be appointed the Queen

‘s highest representative in Canada – and racial “neutral-ness” was not a deciding quality. I met Hapa-Canadian Chad Soon for breakfast, and we plotted nominating hockey pioneer Larry Kwong, the first non-white to play in the NHL, to the BC Sports Hall of Fame… too bad, I didn’t get to also meet with my friend Betty Chan, the first Chinese-Canadian to be a national Highland Dance Champion – her father was Ernest Chan, the first Chinese-Canadian male to receive the Order of Canada.

21 August at 01:42 ·

Then I discovered that the Georgia Straight had published this story on their blog:

Chinese Canadian National Council applauds Bank of Canada’s apology

Prior to the apology, Vancouver cultural activist Todd Wong, organizer of the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, sent the Straight a revealing note from Hilda Ching, a former Ruth Wynn Woodward chair in SFU’s women’s studies department. It concerned the Bank of Canada’s design of its note (and it was emailed to Wong after he included a link to her report on his site).
All the pieces began to fit.  I had posted the original Yahoo news story on the Facebook Group “Not Too Asian” which is administrated by Victor Wong, executive director for the Chinese Canadian National Council.  I had also sent the Hilda Ching quote to Victor, so he quoted both myself and Dr. Ching in an interview on CBC Radio – which is where Zarah heard my name dropped.  Hmmm… interesting how a few emails and FB posts went from Vancouver to Victoria to Hawaii, back to Victoria and Vancouver, over to Toronto, then out to the rest of Canada on national radio.
This issue of the new Canadian $100 bill is much deeper than physical representation of white or asian.  It’s also not an issue of whether Banting or Best should be pictured with insulin.  What has been more revealing is all the racism that has filled the comment sections of the news media that discount the equal representation of women of colour, that was nixed by the so-called focus groups of the Bank of Canada.  This is what makes the comments by Dr. Hilda Ching so insightful. 

Todd Wong But what if the original picture was of a woman who was only “Half-Asian” like environmental scientist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the daughter of David Suzuki, finalist for CBC’s tv show “The Greatest Canadian” of famed Canadian scientist, David Suzuki, Severn Cullis-Suzuki develop…See more

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