Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Colin Kaepernick’s protests are ‘dumb & disrespectful’

Modern feminists have embraced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg so much over the past five years or so especially. She has been nicknamed The Notorious RBG for her decades of outstanding work on women’s rights, reproductive rights and civil rights. Some people believe that RBG should have retired under Pres. Obama’s presidency just because no one knows when there would have been a better time for a Democratic president to nominate another liberal lion to the court. Of course, as we can see from Obama’s attempts to replace the late Justice Scalia, having a Dem president is no guarantee.

Anyway, RBG continues to not give a sh-t about much. She has a new book coming out called My Own Words, and she sat down with Katie Couric for an exclusive interview. Couric asked RBG about the Colin Kaepernick situation – where Kaepernick is now kneeling for the National Anthem to protest police violence – and RBG’s response was surprisingly… un-woke? Like, she didn’t put Kaepernick on blast, but she wasn’t complimentary either. Some highlights from the conversation:

On Kaepernick’s protest: “I think it’s really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

Whether Kaepernick & others are within their rights: “Yes. If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

On the constitutionality of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering America: “I think the question you ask is a question that could come before this court. I can’t answer a hypothetical question when it may turn into a real question. I can’t preview my decision…All I can say is I am sensitive to discrimination on any basis because I have experienced that upset. … I looked at that [“No Dogs Or Jews Allowed”] sign, and I said, ‘I am a Jew, but I’m an American, and Americans are not supposed to say such things.’ America is known as a country that welcomes people to its shores. All kinds of people. The image of the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus’ famous poem. She lifts her lamp and welcomes people to the golden shore, where they will not experience prejudice because of the color of their skin, the religious faith that they follow.”

[From Yahoo]

RBG’s comments on Kaepernick are being called out-of-touch and dismissive, but… just to defend her, she was making a delineation between what she thought of the situation from a legal standpoint and what she thinks of it from a personal standpoint. Legally, Kaepernick has every right to say and do whatever he wants and RBG says as much. But personally, she thinks it’s stupid and wrong. Which is her choice too. I do think she sounds out-of-touch and dismissive here, but that’s the thing about Kaepernick’s protests: older people f—king hate the protests. It’s a massive generational thing. Younger people are more likely to say “stop and listen to what the protesters are saying” where older people (like RBG) are more likely to just wave off Kaepernick and give him a lecture about how it’s not the right time or forum.

Photos courtesy of Getty.

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113 Responses to “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Colin Kaepernick’s protests are ‘dumb & disrespectful’”

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  1. Naya says:

    Oh Ruth.

  2. Nicole says:

    Yea no. Protesting is the American way. It’s not dumb when that’s your only avenue to get people’s attention.

    It’s baffling that so many people value a scrap of cloth over the very freedoms that cloth is supposed to represent.

    • Mike says:

      People are natural idolaters. Freedom is a concept but a flag of s a concrete reality. Just like crosses and certain books people are not bright enough to understand that you it is simply a physical manifestation of a concept.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Yes. People go overboard with things like the anthem, the flag, the cross, certain books, etc. to the point where showing those things honor becomes more important than showing a living person or entire groups of people basic respect, and anyone who doesn’t show those things ‘the proper honor’ or is lightly critical of them or some system that involves them in any way is seen as being against or disrespecting all Americans, veterans, religious people, etc. She has the right to her opinion of course, but when people who don’t show the right kind of submissive/worshipful attitude to any of those types of symbols get branded as ‘selfish’, ‘arrogant’ or some other character flaw, that seems like you’re ranking symbols above people and imposing your ‘worship’ of that symbol on other people. It carries a nasty kind of “Know your place/this thing we worship/pedestal is above you” kind of message when people put it that way.

    • Kelly says:

      He is a famous and wealthy athlete. In this case, he does have other avenues to make change. He’s brought attention to the problem for minorities, it would be nice to see him do something that would actually activate change, perhaps reach out to police and at-risk neighborhoods.

      • OutstandingWorldCitizen says:

        @Kelly do tell us what other avenues this famous wealthy athlete has? You naively believe he can have an audience w/lawmakers etc. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking. He’s put his career on the line. He’s financially supported organizations. You’re speaking from a place of white privilege & discomfort. BTW, it’s not Black people’s responsibility to fix racist white people or their systems. Get off your butt and do something.

      • Kelly says:

        I have and I do. I worked at a Title 1 school in Rimrock, AZ , population @ 5000 with a 50% Hispanic population, , took a 30% cut in pay as the school needed teacher that care about them. That does not include volunteer hours at animal shelters.

        Actions speak louder than words. And what do you do for your community from your high horse?

      • Shambles says:

        Kelly, It would be nice if he would use other avenues to make a change…
        But… here we are… still talking about it… several weeks later. I would say he’s doing a pretty damn good job of making a change. Maybe this is the best avenue because it speaks the loudest.

      • naughtycorner says:

        How do you know he isnt doing that as well?

      • OutstandingWorldCitizen says:

        @kelly, Boo hoo! Yet you still talk like a white savior. Stop. Stop. Stop. I do more than you know. Actually I pity the kids of color who are exposed to you. You sound like a bigoted piece of work. Your kids at risk sermon speaks the loudest. If you were doing the anything substantive you would’ve said at-risk. Bye!

      • MD says:

        “He is a famous and wealthy athlete. In this case, he does have other avenues to make change. He’s brought attention to the problem for minorities, it would be nice to see him do something that would actually activate change, perhaps reach out to police and at-risk neighborhoods.”

        Kelly’s above comment is in similar vein to the question of, “Why are there so many slavery films?”. I think the intended question really is, “Can’t we stop making these type of films?”. Bringing it back to topic: “Can’t Colin stop his public protest against saluting the flag/singing the anthem?”. My rebuttal is “Why should it stop? What is it about the truth of slavery and its ongoing legacy in our present time that makes White Americans uncomfortable and want to brush it aside so quickly?”.

        First of all, there aren’t “many” of them. Likewise with Colin Kaepernick, this is the first public protest I’ve ever seen coming from him and one of only very recent displays of social awareness/political statements coming from African-American professional athletes (“Black Lives Matter”). I think prior to that, the last display was the photo of black Olympians giving the Black Power salute back in 1968 (my memory may be a bit hazy so if anyone could inform me of any other incident I failed to mention, please do). Anyway, it’s not a common occurrence. Athletes everywhere are generally DISCOURAGED from expressing political views in favour of showing good sportsmanship and harmony. Kaepernick is taking a big risk for his stance (but he seems fine with that because he feels his cause is worthwhile).

        Secondly, why should we stop making certain films or stop a (peaceful) protest if it a) serves a purpose and b) is highly effective? Nobody asks “Why are there so many films about the Holocaust?” or “Why do we keep bringing up 9/11?”. Yet when it comes to addressing stories or issues that predominantly feature/affect the BLACK community, suddenly it’s “too much”. Suddenly, others are suggesting to African-Americans to try “other avenues”. Well, other avenues ARE being tried/explored but…wouldn’t you know it…Blacks continually face obstacles of hostile resistance, lack of support or being ignored at every turn. So when an opportunity arises where a previously unnoticed Black person takes centre stage in a public forum with a captive audience…yep, expect something to be done/said.

        African-Americans have ALWAYS been open to change in racial relations. They have begged for change. They have marched for change. They have prayed for change. They have campaigned for change. They have organized for change. They have sung for change. They have filmed for change. They have sued for change. They have fought for change. They have died for change. They have YELLED, SCREAMED, and HOLLERED for change. They’ve even gone as far as trying to change themselves (for better or worse) to usher in change. So tell me, Kelly…why is there so little change? Why is it that Blacks are instructed to “reach out” or “get along” with police yet no such requirement is similarly placed on nor uniformly practiced by law enforcement officers with equal urgency, integrity, respect and transparency? I’m not saying there aren’t efforts made to improve police-community relations but it’s hard to see any change when certain groups or members of society carry persistent fears, prejudices and mistrust which lead to an increase of racial profiling to control “the criminal element” (it usually–no, AUTOMATICALLY–translates to “Black folk” and other minorities. Girl, you need to watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary on Netflix called “13th”. I seriously insist on it.).

        Kaepernick’s protest is his way of saying, “I’m tired of going along with the program, being either invisible or taken for granted, and having the problem of racism not taken seriously”. Guess what. His actions have garnered A LOT of attention. Worldwide. He is forcing everyone to look at the festering cancer of racism and acknowledge its prevalence. He’s not flinching from it…so for those who are turning away their heads, acting dismissive or pleading for him to stop, ask yourself: WHY WON’T YOU LOOK? No passing glances allowed…I mean to really absorb through studied observation. Make yourself sit down and intentionally LISTEN to what Black people have to say. Instead of wallowing in guilt and shame, daily commit yourself to finding positive ways to interact and improve relations.

        Americans need to be continually educated on their own history–from all perspectives, not just the White European one. We need to acknowledge diversity, how we became shaped by it, and how we reacted to various adjustments because of it–documenting both the good and bad. If anyone wants progressive change, they have to confront the truth of their past. Denial will not solve anything!! Yes, there should be more than one “type” of film or protest method but we shouldn’t discount any of them just because it makes someone nervous.

    • LinaLamont says:

      I’ve never stood up for the national anthem at a sports event. With tens of thousands of people around me standing, at arenas around the country, no-one ever said a word to me about it.  It always bothered me. It always felt weirdly cult-like. It always felt as if I were being, tacitly, forced to do something. I don’t understand why it’s even a thing at these events (other than the Olympics, where, who cares if your hand is on your heart, or not). The only time I, probably, would have stood, would have been the few months following 9/11… it was too emotional and confusing.

      He’s taking heat because he’s attached a cause to his action. It’s not about the anthem…it’s about the problem in the country that he’s trying to shed light on. Take away the anthem, and, I believe, these same people (not, necessarily, RBG) would find fault with his cause somewhere else. People use whatever venue is available to them. There’s nothing more American than a peaceful protest. Yes, RBG is entitled to her opinion that it’s “dumb”, but, I think she’s skirting the real issue and being dismissive.

  3. tegteg says:

    I agree that it people’s opinions do seem to be divided generationally… probably because older generations don’t think racism is an issue or are often “casually” racist – I have grandparents and older relatives like this. So, I am not surprised (though I am slightly disappointed that such a highly educated and esteemed women thinks this) Ruth thinks like this, but I do appreciate that she keeps her feelings out of her decision making process for the SC.

    • Kitten says:

      It could be that.

      OR her opinion could be greatly affected by her profession as a SCJ. I assume that if you’ve achieved what is essentially the pinnacle of the legal profession, you probably feel very strongly about traditional American symbols like the American flag, the Pledge, etc etc.
      In the same interview, she gave context where she indicated she felt as strongly about American flag burning and brought up the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of American freedom that is clearly very meaningful to her.

      I don’t agree with her opinion at all and I fully support CK and others who kneel for BLM, but I’m not mad at RBG for her stance.


      • caitlinK says:

        Kitten: I feel the same way.

      • Nicole (the Cdn one) says:

        Sorry. Lawyer here and I cannot excuse her language. If she meant that she struggles with the form of protest because of her experience and history, it was incumbent on her to say so. She knows the influence of her position and to use such dismissive language was at best irresponsible and at worst intentionally prejorative. We need to hold our idols to the same high standards as we hold our detractors and ourselves.

    • Lady Mimosa says:

      I am not surprised by her at all, older feminist are showing their colors so to speak as they get older. They are all for themselves, why is she even commenting on this at all.

  4. QueenB says:

    white feminism in a nutshell

    • Katie says:

      This. She’s a brilliant Associate Justice and she’s been a very good ally for a certain class of women. But that’s it. White, middle class feminism is her lifelong cause. In her professional life she puts the law first, but in her personal life she has always been very tone-deaf when it comes to any social issues that don’t affect her or women like her.

      • caitlinK says:

        I don’t think that she embodies white feminism, actually. She recalls seeing signs, earlier last century, that said, “No Jews or Dogs”, so she has suffered for being a minority, an outcast, an outsider, herself. In her earlier days, to be Jewish was to be much more of a scorned, excluded minority than it is today, so she has certainly felt the sting of prejudice and bigotry. For whatever reasons, she may be less interested in BLM than other groups; I don’t agree w this, but it doesn’t make me automatically dislike her.

    • dodgy says:

      No lies told.

    • naughtycorner says:

      You may have a point, the only victimization that matters is that which affects white women
      For instance rape in the military is a HUGE problem i suspect if female soldiers started kneeling at the National anthem to get the Govt, Public and the military to do a better job with this issue , she would probably see them as “brave ”
      I was willing to give her a pass but I also see where you are coming from

    • fanny says:

      How can a non violent form of protest can become dumb and idiotic? When it’s the initiative of a black men that’s when. Even her us o the term “locked up” rubs me the wrong way.

    • Lady Mimosa says:

      Exactly, Queen .

  5. Lahdidahbaby says:

    I’m disappointed in RBG for this statement.

    And frankly, it’s too easy for her to say this. She doesn’t have a black son or husband to worry about every time he goes out the door that he might not come back.

    • HH says:

      Same here. I do find it dismissive.
      Also, I want to add that Black Women are also being killed by police in high numbers.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        You’re absolutely right, HH, and Sandra Bland comes to mind immediately. Thanks for your input. I mentioned sons & husbands because the killing of black males as young as 12 (Tamir Rice) is epidemic right now, but of course black females are also at risk. For RBG to be so dismissive of what Colin Kaepernick is trying to do (and keeps on trying to do despite all the shit he has taken for it) hurts and angers me.

    • Almondjoy says:

      Great assessment of the situation. I’m honestly not surprised. It’s very easy to not care about things that don’t affect.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        So damn true, Almondjoy. It seems all too easy to belittle even gravely serious life-and-death realities like this one if they don’t affect your own life. And it’s even worse for someone in RBG’s position to be so dismissive and insensitive — I find that shocking and terribly disappointing.

    • Santia says:

      It’s so infuriating when people don’t see this. People should not have to worry that they will be killed just for being who they are.

    • sanders says:

      I watched Ava Duvernay’s 13th on the weekend. It was an excellent documentary. She interviews a number of academics and activists. One of the things someone said was that many people today will say ‘ if I was around during slavery, I would have done everything to stop it’. The point he was trying to make is that there is something equivalent to slavery happening today within the criminal justice system and many people don’t seem to care, including Ruth Ginsberg. There really is no excuse for someone at her level of personal and professional status to be saying shit like this.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        Wow, that puts it in a larger and even more disturbing context, sanders, and the truth of it is clear. Thanks for the input. I haven’t seen 13th yet but will make a point to do so.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, she is entitled to her opinion but I was really surprised that she wasn’t more thoughtful or compassionate in her response.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        Me, too, Esmom. It was kind of a huge blow to me tbh, because she was one of my heroes. I don’t want to be ageist and say maybe it’s just dementia talking, so I’m left with a simple conclusion: my heroic Notorious RBG has feet of clay. There are so few authentic heroes left theses days, and this is just another one gone as far as I’m concerned.

  6. kri says:

    I think “older people” who are upset at the type of protest KC and many others are doing is because they remember WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. They remember the fear of a draft. They
    knew the people who died in the camps. Those who are still alive who fought in those wars can recall placing a flag on a piece of land after a horrible battle. So, out of touch? No. She says it’s his right, and it is. It’s any American’s right. Does she like it? Nope. And she doesn’t have to. I have seen the RBG merch and all the love she’s gotten. Wonder how long it will take for people to turn on her for this.

    • I Choose Me says:

      I for one still think she’s awesome but then I don’t expect everyone I admire to be in lock step all the way with my ideas and ideals. I’m still deeply disappointed in Jesse Williams, for instance, for supporting Nate Parker and his film but that doesn’t mean I think he’s any less woke. Gawd I hate that word, so let’s change it to aware. Enlightened does not mean perfect.

      • kri says:

        @I Choose Me-you are amazing.

      • Kitten says:

        Just wanted to chime in with a +1 for I Choose Me’s awesomeness.

      • Marny says:

        I agree with Kri and I Choose Me. I support what Colin Kaepernick is doing but I’ve also never lived through any big wars or lost any loved ones who were fighting for our freedoms. She has a lifetime of experience and is entitled to her opinion.

      • Trillion says:

        I feel a little better now. I put her up on a pedestal and that’s not realistic.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        I was just thinking that I must be too old for this site, and was about to shut it down. It’s sad because I’ve loved celebitchy for years, but the comments section has become, IMO, overly simplistic and reactionary at times.

        But I Choose Me….I just want to hug you right now. We can always count on you for a thoughtful and well reasoned comment. <3

      • LinaLamont says:


      • delorb says:

        We won’t all attack a problem the same way, which I think is great. I think that someone as smart as she seems to be should understand this. If it opens a dialog, then it’s smart. It got her to respond, didn’t it? But shutting it down with ‘dumb’ and ‘disrespectful’ means that things won’t change. It means that people won’t delve any deeper into what is actually going on. It means that people won’t look inward to their culpability (if any). ” It’s just dumb and disrespectful”, the end. Sad.

      • tracking says:

        Great points.

      • Shark Bait says:

        That is exactly how I feel about this, thank you!

      • Lady Mimosa says:

        Don’t know why people are going along with your comment, she is entitled to her opinion. So is Colin ,that is the point. I never thought she was awesome glad she proved me right.

    • Erinn says:

      But that’s what I don’t get.

      They knew people who died. They knew people who were terrified.

      They should be THANKFUL that this generation isn’t being drafted and having to earn every victory through bloodshed.

    • ash says:


      you know some of those older people who fought were black and of color too, right? and when they came back from POW or just war in korea, japan, vietnam, etc. they were treated like SECOND CLASS CITIZENS without even the RIGHT to vote dealing with police brutality, etc.

      SOOOOOOOOOOO NO RBG is being dismissive, and almost passive aggressive (as most white people can be in these types of discussion on freedom of expression and protesting avenues) in her remarks…. The national anthem is a ridic song that in the verse glorifies the death of slave deemed treasonous (in fighting for the british—BEC they were offering freedom)

      “No refuge could save the hireling and slave
      From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave”

      So yea if KC wants to sit down kneel, whatev to get the narrative going that is patriotic if anything. The anthem is wholly contradictory for a lot of people of color (mainly black people), because we are continuously reminded how we are seen in a society who doesn’t really value us, our lives, our stories, etc.

      • kri says:

        Absolutely. I do know that. I also know that people of color have fought in EVERY single war, including the Revolutionary War. And I am grateful to them, and in awe of the blood they shed in a country that treated them like shit. I am in awe of those soldiers. And as I said, it anyone’s right to protest in any way they say fit , including taking a knee, sitting down or burning a flag. If you read my post, you will see that I already expressed that. I was simply answering from a possible perspective of an older Jewish woman who may have lost many family members in ww2. That is all.

    • Aren says:

      You would have to think those wars, killing thousands of innocent people, was necessary in the first place.

      • kri says:

        Some people think ww2 was necsessary Aren. Particularly those who had first-hand experience with Nazis. I myself do not think any war after that was a valid one, but people were drafted and sent to fight, people of every color, and they gave their lives. So..I don’t judge the men who were drafted. I judge the lying government that sent them to their deaths.

    • Trashaddict says:

      Define “older”. How old do you mean by “old”. What is that label? I am old enough to remember the Viet Nam War. It took a disproportionate number of young black (and poor) men’s lives. I respect Colin Kaepernick for engaging in civil protest. It is his right as a citizen of this country which was built on the backs of his forefathers. Whether I agree with him (which I do) or not, is immaterial.

  7. WTF says:

    Oh RBG Why? Why? Why?
    This is so heartbreaking. I don’t understand how people can see us being slaughtered in the streets and still talk like this. We should ALL be engaging in all forms of protest short of setting ourselves on fire to put a stop to the assault on Black and Brown people by our police.

    • Patricia says:

      Your comment makes me want to cry. I’m sorry it’s like this. You deserve all the support in the world.
      From a white woman who has made many white people in her life uncomfortable and angry by speaking up for protestors, for saying “black lives matter”, I wish there was more I could do.

  8. lvw2 says:

    DMX Voice: “Mind your business, lady!”

    • Blue says:

      Love you, lvw2. Best response ever. Made the pain and anger of all of this a little bit easier to bear.

  9. I Choose Me says:

    Disappointed yes. Surprised? No. And yes, I do think it’s a generational thing as well as a bit of cognitive dissonance which seems to be more and more common these days.

  10. eggy weggs says:

    That BLOWS. I just saw a clip of her on PBS’ news and she was talking about what she and Biggie had in common (both from Brooklyn). I like to think that BIG, were he still alive, would have been behind these young athletes who are taking a knee.

    • Desi says:

      Interesting that she would latch on to the NOTORIOUS RBG meme, considering that Biggie treated women horribly and beat up Lil Kim and Faith regularly.

  11. Tifzlan says:

    I’m surprised that RBG would take this view because she’s been very progressive in other aspects of social justice, especially women’s rights, that to explain this away as being “generational” makes no sense to me.

    In what way, shape or form is what ANY of what Kaepernick is doing arrogant or stupid? If you’re going to use those words to describe Kaep’s actions, then you better damn well explain what you mean thoroughly instead of leaving us to guess at what you’re trying to say. But i guess doing that would give away how these people REALLY feel about black Americans.

    • kri says:

      Tifzlan-she is not saying “how she really feels about black americans” that is a sweeping generalization, and unfair I think. She expressed her opinion on the form of his protest. I support him, but I don’t expect everyone else would (otherwise things would be alot better), but it is generational. People died carrying that flag trying to get across Europe and rescue Jews and europeans being slaughtered by Nazis. Trust then when those people saw that flag, they knew they were safe. Are all of our own people of color safe today under that flag? Nope. Obviously not, in many (too many) instances. I know that, as we all do. But each person protests in their own way, and I respect that.

  12. Rapunzel says:

    To be fair to RBG, she is not saying the protest is dumb, only its form. At least, that’s how I read it. And I can understand that. Mixing a social protest up with issues about the flag isn’t the smartest idea, really. It distracts from the real issues. I don’t think it’s out of touch to say CK could find smarter more effective forms of protest.

    • Betsy says:

      Also, to what end? His kneeling highlights a problem, but what, is he going to kneel for the anthem until….? It’s the same problem I had with Occupy Wall Street. Or like with breast cancer awareness. We’re aware. That’s not fixing the problem.

      • Mel M says:

        This is EXACTLY how I feel about it. I understand bringing awareness but now that we are all aware of why he is doing this what now? Is he out there trying to engage with police or the community about trying to achieve change? I’m not sure because I don’t read much about him.

      • LadyT says:

        It seem to me there’s been a lot more discussion about his right to kneel than police violence and how to fix it. Very ineffective protest.

  13. Gena says:

    Disappointing. But I’m not going to write her off for one dumb comment. She’s been an ally for decades.

    • Kitten says:

      ITA…But I REALLY wish she hadn’t used the word “dumb” and simply said she doesn’t agree with it on a personal level.

      It’s the description of a passive protest with the word “dumb” that feels very patronizing and dismissive IMO.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        I think it’s just Brooklyn vernacular. My parents say things are “dumb” all the time during casual conversation, but they don’t mean it literally. It can be shorthand for “I disagree”.

      • Kitten says:

        Hey Shannon-Yeah I have no doubt about that. At the same time, as an SJC she has to be really responsible in terms of choosing her words wisely when she speaks on loaded, controversial topics.

  14. Anilehcim says:

    Regardless of her or anyone’s opinion on Kaepernick’s protest, his right to protest is exactly that, his right, and any dissenter has every right to express his or her opinion on it as well. They’re both practicing their rights. No one is stopping him from doing it, but not everyone has to agree with him and it’s not right to try to silence those who don’t just like it would be wrong to try to stop Colin or any other person from joining him. If we’re talking about exercising American rights, everyone has a right to voice their opinion, point blank, period.

    With that being said, I am all for Kaepernick’s protest (and his right to do so). I don’t personally understand why anyone would find fault with his protest that hurts no one, but to each his or her own. I also don’t understand why people are flipping out and tearing RBG apart as if her having an opinion they don’t agree with means that she is terrible and wrong and no longer someone they respect. I mean, is this where we’re at as a society? “you have an opinion that I don’t agree with, so now I hate you”? Yikes.

    • perplexed says:

      I don’t get the impression people hate her, but are pointing out why her argument is flawed. I do think she could have been more articulate.

    • Dolphin7 says:

      Thank you for articulating my thoughts exactly!!! I totally support Colin’s right to protest police injustice against people of color. I don’t understand why so many people have an issue with it. It’s peaceful, he decided to kneel to show respect for the military, he is using his position to get attention for an important cause. But RBG has been an ally to women for so long I can’t hate on her for one comment, especially considering her age and the fact she has been through wars with massive loss of life and that flag was part of the liberation of the Jewish people from the Holocaust. I really wish she wouldn’t have used the word dumb though. What is it with some older people and racism? I’m worried because I foresee a conversation with my kids about their beloved (and only) grandpa in the future. He’s loving, great with animals, and a hard worker. But some of the stuff that he says!!!! I call him out on it as politely as I can (it’s my husbands dad, mine passed away). He does try and watch it around the kids (so far).

  15. Older people don’t hate protests! Those “older folks” were the original protesters in the 60’s. The issue many of us have is the way he is protesting, all people are talking about is if it is ok to sit thru the national anthem. This is not leading to the serious and necessary conversations about racial inequality. Protest away, just find a more effective way to do it please.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Kelleywinter- this is how I read RBG’s reaction. I’d like to add that I am from Kapernick’s hometown, and this area is full of ignorant, racist, Trump supporting morons, who have used Colin’s protest to justify NOT supporting his cause. It’s tragic.

    • perplexed says:

      I think Kaepernick’s stance does make sense after I saw lyrics in the anthem about the slave. His protest might not change police brutality, but it does bring about attention to the racism of the anthem, which I had no awareness about until he protested. The racism present in the anthem lyrically does suggest how racism came to be ever present
      today. I do think his protest has been effective in that way.

    • Aren says:

      I guess it’s just them who had the right to protest, and to say how it’s appropriate or not.

    • Ange says:

      I just returned from a month long holiday in America with my husband. We were in Vegas at a little off-strip casino watching football (actually I believe it was the above guy playing) and it was rowdy and super fun. After the game karaoke started and again, rowdy and super fun. Eventually this one white guy got up on stage and said that he didn’t agree with ‘what was going on at the moment’ and wanted to remind the crowd ‘what really mattered’ and started singing the national anthem. Everyone in the room meekly stood except for me and my husband and the lone, single black man sitting across from us. He was pretending to stare intently at the song list but we did catch eyes at one stage and you could tell he was intimidated. As soon as the song finished he left.

      We all knew what this guy on stage really meant, it was absolutely coded in what he said and why he did it. He decided to essentially force the whole room to stand and go along with him because he wanted to use the anthem as a weapon. So fuck this ‘oh the anthem should be respected’ nonsense. When it’s used like that man used it, as a tool for racism I see no issue with Kaepernick trying to use it for positive change. He’s only trying to balance the ledger.

  16. lightpurple says:

    I do wish that this was more than just a snippet and the article had explored more of her thoughts on this and her background. Back in an era when people were taking to the streets in protest against the war, for racial equality, for women’s rights, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not. Instead, she worked through the ACLU, searching for cases, to advance the causes she believed in and supported and because she did, the lives of all women are different today. Women could not have credit in their own names, women did not get trials of their peers because women did not sit on juries, women could not pass spousal benefits onto their partners. She does say that it is his right to protest, she doesn’t discuss the issue for which he is protesting – she does not demean or discredit the black lives matter movement in any way, she just does not see the value in this particular method.

  17. ... says:

    People who are not enduring what other people are enduring should be more thoughtful in the way that they express their opinions of how those persecuted individuals react. To use the words “dumb” or “arrogant” without offering what she believes is a better alternative is what makes her comments sound dismissive and inconsiderate. It’s simple — if you live in a country that does not respect the lives of those who look like you, why is it “dumb,” “arrogant,” or “disrespectful” to refuse to participate in the pledge or to stand for the national anthem? The pledge and anthem represent things that CK and other black people don’t feel they are being given. Protection. Freedom. A sense of solidarity with their fellow nationals. CK’s protest is a quiet but poignant way of getting this disharmony between ideals and reality across.

    I don’t begrudge RBG her accomplishments or the strides she has made for women, but as someone who is part of at least two groups who have been discriminated against, I would think she’d be a bit more understanding.

  18. Lindsay says:

    “RBG continues to not give a sh-t about much”
    She does though and that is what makes her amazing. Having no f-s to give for some reason is “cool” right now. She might be considered brave for stating her point of view and beliefs without worrying about public perception. It is kind of like the claim of Obama entering the “DGAF era of his presidency.” It is nice that he can be a bit more relaxed and candid because he doesn’t have to worry about his reelection or his impact on his party during midterms but he still DOES GAF. He isn’t content to sit back, relax and coast. He wants to leave the country in the best possible shape for his predecessor.

    When talking about the protest she said: “What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

    “RBG’s comments on Kaepernick are being called out-of-touch and dismissive…” because they are.

    She acknowledges the fact that legally he is allowed to protest but “personally, she thinks it’s stupid and wrong. Which is her choice too… It’s a massive generational thing. Younger people are more likely to say “stop and listen to what the protesters are saying” where older people (like RBG) are more likely to just wave off Kaepernick and give him a lecture about how it’s not the right time or forum.”

    She clearly states she has an issue with the POINT OF VIEW they are expressing. She never makes it about the appropriateness of the timing, forum and/or the responsibility of professional athletes that so many people like to hide behind. She is saying I have listened to the ideology behind these protests and I disagree with what he is standing up for. That is very disheartening to hear.

    Police culture needs to be throughly scrutinized and totally be revamped, police training needs to be changed (the cities who have done this have had tremendous success), there needs to be a system designed to hold police accountable that isn’t rife with conflict of interest – it erodes public trust in the system and puts the police and prosecutors in an inherently awkward (at best) situation of investigating their friends and colleagues that they may have to work alongside in the future, the thin blue line nonsense needs to go, police unions need to stop throwing temper tantrums and threatening not to do their jobs anytime they feel that police officers are being “disrespected” and “overly scrutinized by the public”, whistle blowers need to be protected, you should not lose your job because you were able to effectively use de-escalation techniques instead of shooting immediately that resulted in no loss of life for the suspect or the officers involved, public trust needs to be rebuilt and earned. The Supreme Court has a lot of power when it comes to making changes in the way laws and policies are written and enforced. They have the advantage of being able to make changes and not worry about a political opponent seizing the opportunity to start pointing fingers and saying they “are soft on crime.”

  19. Whatwhatnot says:

    She said that she doesn’t agree with the way CK is protesting. She didn’t say she didn’t agree with his protest or that she doesn’t see a reason as to why he is protesting. She, like many older Americans have a very strong feeling about the flag and anthem. I don’t necessarily agree with her, but what I took from her comment is that she thinks there may have been better avenues to take in regards to bringing awareness and action to the situation, instead of disrespecting the anthem (though I wish someone would have mentioned the racist origins of the song to her, and see what she said about why many are kneeling for the anthem)

    • perplexed says:

      She says this though: “What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

      So it does seem she disagrees with their point of view, thus dismissing the very reason for why he is protesting. Her comments strike me as extremely un-nuanced, and shockingly inarticulate for a Supreme Court Justice.

      Nowhere am I saying that I hate her guts or want to have her beheaded for one comment, but I do think her level of articulation
      is questionable in this instance. If her articulation is this poor for a Supreme Court justice, then I suspect she hasn’t thought about
      this issue very much at all ( I’m going to assume she’s much more articulate on issues that she does actually care about to have reached this level?)

  20. LinaLamont says:

    I have such great respect, admiration and fondness for her, but, she said things that really bother me. RE: Kaepernick’s protests, abortion (shoud have been rolled out slowly… at what cost, though? How many women would/could have died? NO-ONE OWNS OUR BODIES!), and (although I agree) Trump (it wasn’t appropriate for her to state her position).

  21. Frosty says:

    Newp. Ya lost me, RBG. The legal foundation for why cops can shoot to kill for virtually no reason, based on how they “feel”, was provided by the Supreme Court. KMYA lady.

  22. Marty says:

    She really just compared CK’s NON-VIOLENT protest to flag burning and completely dismissed why he is protesting in the first place.

    This goes beyond disappointment for me.

    • LinaLamont says:


    • MellyMel says:

      Exactly! Very disappointing.

    • Kitten says:

      I think the parallel that she was drawing was that both are seen by some (and I guess by her) as disrespectful to the USA.
      But I agree that flag-burning is on a different level as it is actual destruction of an American symbol.
      To put it very simply and at the risk of repeating what I said up-thread, I think RBG views both situations as a rejection of the country she loves, which….it is, right?

      I would never burn an American flag but I also don’t give a sh*t if other people do. It doesn’t offend me any more/less than someone kneeling during the Anthem or refusing to recite the Pledge.


      Just different sensibilities, I guess.

      ETA: (Not trying to excuse, just trying to understand)

      • Marty says:

        It’s an unfair equivalency though. One that along with the other language she uses, shows how unbelievable ignorant she is on the issue. If she had just said she disagreed with it, but it was his right; that would be one thing, but her language here is reprehensible. And frankly, she should know better.

        She’s incredibly smart and even talked about how she experienced her own discrimination. That is why this goes beyond disappointment for me. How can I trust her as an ally when she rebukes an issue that seriously affects me and those I care about?

        Yes, she’s done a lot in her career, and I’m not trying to diminish that, but her views just prove the underlying prejudice that hinder black and brown people from receiving justice in an already fractured judicial system.

  23. Abbess Tansy says:

    Very dismissive and patronizing of her especially using the word “dumb”. I would think that as a Supreme court judge she would be aware of the racist lyrics within the anthem.
    It doesn’t change my overall positive opinion of her but I’m still disappointed in her view.

  24. Veronica says:

    Ugh, I know most people aren’t perfect, but I admire her so much in other ways that it’s disappointing to hear that from her.

  25. Sasha says:

    She is wrong. When people think that symbols of a country are somehow “sacred” and are more important than addressing the issues then it is a symptom of a rather deep seated nationalism. And nationalism is a very dangerous double edge sword, which can be used to a country’s advantage, but none of the politicians have the integrity to use it wisely. Nationalism always gets corrupted in the end.

  26. Jaana says:

    A pro black group came out and said that “rich white women” are the main reason race relations have not improved in America some time ago.

  27. bcgirl says:

    For a much better understanding of this remarkable woman I would highly recommend watching Charlie Rose’s interview with her, airing on PBS this week.
    Please don’t form opinions on Ruth based on this post. 🙁

    • HK9 says:

      I’ve seen her interviewed before and she knows her stuff. But I’m still giving her the side-eye hard because as a woman who has spent her life considering the rights of others (or lack thereof) this should be a no brainer for her. She doesn’t have to agree, but it shows her complete lack of understanding/knowledge of race relations in her own country-especially since she’s old enough to have seen & lived through things that most of us think are a “thing of the past”.

  28. Neil says:

    With all due respect to RBG, Kaepernik got a a nation wide dialogue started. Not so dumb on his part but kind of dumb for any Supreme Court judge to make ANY disparaging comment about a citizen exercising their constitutional rights, especially when it is the First Amendment right of free speech done in such an effective way. Impressed with Collin and disappointed with RBG

    • Saraya says:

      “With all due respect to RBG, Kaepernik got a a nation wide dialogue started.”

      No, he didn’t. Nothing’s being said now that wasn’t being said before he started kneeling.

      • Betsy says:

        The largest dialogue he seems to have gotten started is among conservatives about how un-American kneeling during the anthem is. Minds shut. The indiscriminate killing of unarmed black citizens deserved better, not some opened ended semi-protest.

  29. Cali says:

    So this woman is supposed to be so intelligent that she can only use “dumb” and “stupid” and equate legitimate protests of police brutality to flag burning? She sounds like an idiot to supposedly be so smart.

    • Betsy says:

      The equation was between flag burning and not paying appropriate respect to the national anthem.

  30. Payal says:

    Shouldn’t a Supreme Court Justice maintain some distance from current goings on. RBG is getting pretty free with her opinions.