Harriet Tubman on a debit card received backlash
photo: Splash News

Twitter is going off on a bank for creating a debit card with Harriet Tubman on the front — the catch is that it looks like she's giving the "Wakanda Forever" sign from Black Panther

Everyone was seriously confused by the bank's decision to create a card using that image, but they explained their reasoning and it's actually pretty positive. However, it didn't stop people from calling the bank out for using the black icon for monetary gain. 

OneUnited Bank is the largest black-owned bank in the country, so it was even more surprising that the image of Tubman was used. While some people were extremely against the card, some people thought it was a positive symbol of representation. The card was meant to be a symbol for black empowerment for Black History Month, but unfortunately, it wasn't received that way. 

The limited-edition card was meant as a symbol of black empowerment. 

OneUnited Bank's president, Teri Williams, shared with TMZ that the company stands behind the card despite any backlash. Williams also revealed that the idea for the card started in 2016, when Tubman was announced to be on the $20 bill. The image of Tubman features the famous abolitionist with her arms crossed, similar to the symbol popularized by the Marvel film Black Panther. However, that was not the intent. 

The pose was meant as sign language for the word "love."

Tubman's pose on the card is actually the ASL symbol for love. The bank tweeted after the response, "Harriet Tubman is the ultimate symbol of love — love that causes you to sacrifice everything, including your own life. The gesture is the sign language symbol for love. It's so important that we love ourselves."

While representation is great ... this wasn't a good look.

Many accused the bank of using Tubman for monetary gain. "Let me guess. A white marketing executive from Beverly Hills came up with the idea of a Harriet Tubman Visa Debit Card doing the Wakanda Forever salute," one person replied to the tweet. 

Another called out the bank for using Black Panther's symbol. 

The bank conceptualized this idea in 2016, before Black Panther was released. While it wasn't the intent to use the "Wakanda Forever" symbol, it did look like that's what they were referring to. 

The bank is releasing a few cards with black women on the front to fight against the stigma that only white men are featured on money. 

Williams called OneUnited "unapologetically black." The bank works hard to lift up black-owned businesses and represent black people in the economy. Another card they released was the Queen card, which features an African-inspired queen on the front. "Step into your #royalty with the #Queen card and tap to pay at your local black-owned business. #BankBlack." 

The debit card feels different than Tubman being featured on the $20 bill. 

In 2016, it was officially announced that Tubman would be printed on the $20 bill, but that has yet to be seen. This debit card attempted to jump-start that process; however, it didn't land as well with people. One person responded, "It's amazing how differently the idea of harriet tubman on u.s. legal tender feels than putting her face on a debit card."

Representation really matters, but was this the right way to do it?

Some people are here for the representation, and the numbers are in. TMZ reported that OneUnited has seen a jump in applicants for the Tubman card, so it's clearly making a mark. Someone tweeted, "There’s about to be an avalanche of jokes behind this. Rightfully so because the art is ... yeah. However, I do think it’s fye that this is happening; (Wakanda salute notwithstanding). Especially coming from a Black-owned bank."