Ruth Bader Ginsburg Could've Died in Peace If White People Were Better People

Illustration for article titled Ruth Bader Ginsburg Couldve Died in Peace If White People Were Better People
Photo: JOSE LUIS MAGANA (Getty Images)

Propped on the pavement, planted in yards, and sitting on stoops in every block in my neighborhood this morning are kaleidoscopic signs encouraging people to register to vote and reminding us, of course, that Black Lives Matter. I do not know which organization created them. Definitely one of the dozens (hundreds?) targeting Black, and Latino, and Black-ish communities, with the (accurate) presumption that the more of us who vote, the less likely Donald Trump wins a second term.

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Illustration for article titled Ruth Bader Ginsburg Couldve Died in Peace If White People Were Better People
Photo: Me!

The push to get more of us to vote is everywhere now: In our mailboxes, on the commercials airing during NBA playoff games, within every social media platform, accompanying Emmy acceptance speeches, likely in an ad above this essay, and, most notably, embedded in progressive media’s election narrative framing. If Trump wins, it’ll be because enough of us didn’t vote. If he loses, it’ll be because we saved the country. This is how the flaccid campaign of a rapper who really should just be on a porch somewhere playing with his kids instead of running for president, merits a New York Times profile. He might siphon enough Black votes from Biden to swing the election, the narrative holds, so we must take him seriously. (He won’t. But knowing that would require knowing actual Black people.)

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This hum reached a fever pitch Friday evening, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a woman who was considered, by white liberals, as less of a human being and more of a fascism-blocking levee—died. And the statement dictated to her granddaughter (“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed”) amplified the din.

Altogether, this just reminds me, again, that we (Black people) are expected to carry this weight because white people are too reliably bad at American citizenship—either too racist or too inert to prevent their friends and family members from being too racist—to be trusted with it. So we must vote because 90 percent of us can be trusted to hold our noses and make a republic-saving decision, while 55 percent of white voters can’t. Perhaps my math ain’t mathing right, but I think Trump loses if just 5.2 out of 10 white voters were white supremacists instead of 5.5.

So yeah, we need to vote and shit—and we will—but this is on white people. The millions of white people who prefer the preservation of whiteness’ status to their own livelihoods. And the millions of white people who allowed—either through apathy or vanity or sheer uselessness—the other millions to be that way. And this includes the white people so distraught over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Imagine how peacefully that woman could’ve died if the energy and bandwidth and money exhausted being sad and mad today was spent being less racist yesterday.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

I’m done.

I will vote for Biden in November but I have no faith in the Democrats doing what’s needed. They’re like Heath Ledger’s Joker’s dog chasing a car. They’ve shown time and again they wouldn’t know what to do if they caught it. The only way the GOP will respect them is to kick them square in the balls.

Hard.

GOP doesn’t care about threats and mismanaged half-assed Democratic effort. Those motherfuckers are focused like suicide bombers.

Fuck trying to block the existing court vacancy:

  • Beat TRump.
  • WIn the Senate.
  • Get rid of the filibuster.
  • Expand the court to 13 Justices (that’s right, like the colonies, patriotic).
  • Impeach Thomas & Kavanaugh.
  • Draft Appoint Barack AND Michelle Obama to the Supreme Court. WIth the new appointments that’s a 9-4 majority. Those remaining 4 better start juicing and doing yoga.
  • Make D.C. and Puerto Rico states.
  • Bring TRump, Pence, Barr, Pompeo, TRump’s miserable kids, and anybody else that illegally showed their ass the last 4 years up on charges.
  • Reverse all of TRump’s Executive Orders.
  • Figure out government rates for all the charges to TRump golf properties the last 4 years and seize the difference.
  • Melania and her parent’s path to US citizenship was paved with a fraudulent Einstein Visa. Deport they asses. I’m talkin’ ICE at the asscrack of dawn and Meliania,Viktor & Amalija butt naked on the tarmac at Bratislava Airport by 6:30pmEST.

GOP are a bunch of sadists. This is the only thing they will respect.