Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg weighed in Wednesday on the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., saying that the turmoil stemming from the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer there illustrated a “real race problem” in America.
Ginsburg made the comment in a wide-ranging interview with the National Law Journal. She said New York City’s disputed stop-and-frisk policy was also indicative of that “race problem” and lamented that recent rulings on voting rights and affirmative action haven’t helped the nation resolve its issues with race, either.
She told the publication that public acceptance, or “familiarity,” remains an obstacle for black Americans, contrasting their experience with that of LGBT individuals.
“Once [gay] people began to say who they were, you found that it was your next-door neighbor or it could be your child, and we found people we admired,” she told the National Law Journal. “That understanding still doesn’t exist with race; you still have separation of neighborhoods, where the races are not mixed. It’s the familiarity with people who are gay that still doesn’t exist for race and will remain that way for a long time as long as where we live remains divided.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.