Topic: Image of Asian-looking woman scrapped from new $100 bills  (Read 11921 times)
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« on: August 17, 2012, 10:37:10 am »

Image of Asian-looking woman scrapped from new $100 bills after complaints 

Dean Beeby
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Aug. 17 2012, 6:52 AM EDT
Last updated Friday, Aug. 17 2012, 8:51 AM EDT

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.”

Mr. 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.”

Ms. Huang, now pursuing an MA at the University of Toronto, came to Canada from China with her family at age 12, living in Toronto and Ottawa.

The 2006 census found that Canada’s population included more than five million people from visible minority groups, of which 1.2 million were Chinese and another 240,000 with ancestry from southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos.

The Bank of Canada introduced the new series of banknotes largely to thwart counterfeiters, though they are also expected to last much longer than the old versions. New $50 notes went into circulation in March, with $20 notes still to come in November.

The $50 and $20 banknotes feature a research icebreaker and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial respectively, with no images of ordinary Canadians. Some members of the focus groups said the Vimy memorial looked disturbingly like New York’s twin towers, brought down by terrorists in 2001.
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2012, 12:08:41 pm »

That's a very interesting story. I had no idea there was such a thing as "neutral" ethnicity. Learn something new every day.  ::)

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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2012, 06:37:13 pm »

There is an Asian child on the back of the $5 bill so I don't understand why it should have been a problem on the $100.  What I don't understand is why there is an unknown scientist on the bill.  What can there been a famous Canadian like Banting.  Other countries go out of their way to have brilliant mind on their banknotes.

UK has Newton.  Israel has Einstein.  France did a whole series on scientists and mathematics.

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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 10:02:23 am »

Statement by Governor Mark Carney on the $100 Bank Note

The $100 bank note celebrates Canadian medical innovation. In the early stages of developing the themes of all the bank notes in the polymer series, focus groups were used to test what types of images best evoke the themes. One of these was a photoshopped image based on an original photograph of a South Asian woman looking through a microscope.

As is always the case, in the subsequent design of the actual $100 note the designers created an original set of images from the ground up. On the actual bank note the researcher was drawn so as to not to resemble an actual person. Therefore, the final image did not look the same as the photoshopped image shown to the focus groups.

All of this occurred in the early design stages before the final design was presented to, and approved by, myself and the Senior Deputy Governor.

In the development of our $100 bank note, efforts by the bank note designers to avoid depicting a specific individual resulted in an image that appears to represent only one ethnic group.

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. We will be reviewing our design process in light of these events. Our bank notes belong to all Canadians, and the work we do at the Bank is for all Canadians.
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 12:20:58 pm »

I think the issue is being blown out of proportion...
People are too sensitive these days...Who cares??

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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 09:15:43 am »

Design of new banknotes to capture Canada's 'diversity,' says apologetic Carney

TORONTO - The governor of the Bank of Canada personally apologized for the way the image of an Asian woman was erased from the initial design of new $100 banknotes, saying future designs will capture Canada's "diversity."

"On behalf of the bank and personally, I apologize for the offence created by that sequence of events," Carney said Wednesday at a news conference.

"That's not the standard that Canadians expect of the bank and steps have to be taken to ensure that there's not a repetition."

The bank came under fire from Chinese-Canadian groups and others after The Canadian Press revealed an image of a Caucasian-looking woman was substituted for that of an Asian woman in early draft designs of the new polymer banknote.

The bank made the move after some people in focus groups raised questions — and objections — about the appearance of an Asian on Canada's money.

Carney suggested it's too late to revise the currency now, with some 150 million notes already in circulation since the new polymer $100 bills were introduced last November. But he noted that planning for the next set of redesigned banknotes starts in 2014.

"We have a good, proper window between now and then to do a proper review process of how we capture the diversity of this country in the design and distribution of banknotes," he said.

The bank will consult with a broad range of Canadian stakeholders and review how other countries depict diversity on their currencies, he said.

Carney's statement Wednesday appears to reverse the bank's policy of eschewing depictions of "ethnic" groups on Canada's currency.

A spokesman said last week that the bank seeks "neutral ethnicity" on its banknotes, but critics have said the image of a Caucasian woman was not neutral but merely the substitution of Canada's dominant group.

Spokespersons for the Chinese Canadian National Council called the decision to remove the Asian features "racist" and an attempt to erase a visible minority from Canadian culture and history.

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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2012, 02:27:09 pm »

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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2012, 10:58:25 pm »

Image of Asian-looking woman.

Am I right to say that none of you all have seen the image?

What is Asian to one may not be necessary Asian looking to others. What about the aboriginal peoples of Canada? Don't they too look a bit Asian too? Could that scraped image represents them too? Or perhaps those focus groups think that these people are not smart enough to get a Science degree.

This may not be an insult to the Asians in Canada, but a blow to the aboriginal people of Canada instead.

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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2016, 09:13:48 am »

Hi: Everyone: Just new to this forum. Saw this post about the asian-looking woman. would these notes have any increased value? If yes, does anyone know which bills were affected? I have some FKE, FKH, and FKV $100.00 bills... Just curious if these were in that time frame.
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2016, 04:20:12 pm »

The note in question was still in the prototype stages when this change was made. No notes with the "Asian looking woman" were ever printed, and to my knowledge, no images of the prototypes have ever been made public.

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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2016, 08:55:32 am »

Thanks for the information. Is there any value to having $100.00 bills in a numeric series?? When I got these bills I have one in a numeric series of 5 and the other in a numeric series of 7.  :-*
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2016, 12:21:51 pm »

Hi there,

I believe you are referring to 'consecutive' FKV3435732, 33, 34, 35, etc.
If so, there isn't really any extra value in these notes.

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