People are pointing out the lack of diversity in a photo of RBG's staff

Moya Lothian McLean
Friday 25 September 2020 13:45
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(Getty)

There’s no question that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an amazing woman.

Even Donald Trump had no problem acknowledging that.

So mourning for the Supreme Court judge’s death has been substantial.

At the time of writing, her body is on its second day of lying in state in the U.S Capitol – the first woman to do so.

RBG’s legacy is one that will be discussed and debated for decades to come but what she achieved was remarkable.

However, a photograph snapped of her casket arriving at the Supreme Court recently led to some online discourse about race.

Her casket was greeted by more than a hundred of her former legal clerks.

According to CNN, RBG’s clerks are one of her most “lasting legacies”.

She hired inexperienced lawyers and gave them a huge boost with the “unparalleled legal credential” of Supreme Court clerk.

Supreme Court clerks often become judges themselves or rise high on the legal world.

However, people on social media quickly noticed one disappointing element in the photo showing RBG’s former clerks waiting on the Supreme Court’s steps: they were almost all white.

Although RBG did hire non-white clerks who were of East Asian descent, she reportedly only employed one Black clerk during her entire tenure as a Supreme Court justice.

It was quickly calculated that this meant only 0.6% of her hires were Black.

This doesn’t, of course, mean RBG is “cancelled’ or that her incredible record should be discarded.

But it does add nuance to discussions about what it means to be ‘progressive’ and highlights areas of unconscious bias that can always be improved upon.

Reckoning with our weaknesses when it comes to equality doesn't denigrate our icons; it only makes us stronger.

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