RBGI want to start this blog post by saying that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant not just for women, but for our nation as a whole. Liberties that we couldn’t fathom living without today would not be possible if it weren’t for RBG. She should absolutely be celebrated, her death should be properly mourned, and we should all continue to work every day to preserve her legacy and fight her fight.

I received a lot of comments and personal messages back in January when I posted about Kobe Bryant’s death – mostly from a specific demographic, and mostly unwilling to accept his legacy as a complicated one of growth and redemption. In these comments and messages, there was no grace for Kobe’s mistakes in the time of his death – despite all of the positive accomplishments from his life, personally and professionally. There certainly was not a “time and place” etiquette installed in the wake of his death. I heard from a lot of feminists so quick and loud in their expression of disdain for Kobe that they forgot to pour love and support into the women (namely, his wife and daughters) that loved him most dearly and will tremendously mourn his death for the rest of their lives – which is what I thought feminism was about.

Here we are, collectively mourning RBG. A phenomenal woman who changed this world for the better, undoubtedly. And also, if you’re a person of color, have been disenfranchised by the judicial system, or come from a marginalized community, there’s a chance you have been negatively affected by her actions (or inaction) and decisions. Yet, nothing like that has popped up on my timeline. The same people upset about Kobe being heralded as a legend, the same people who resurfaced records and articles from 17 years back to find all the reasons why he doesn’t deserve to be mourned or celebrated, don’t have the same lens of scrutiny, despite RBG’s legacy being arguably just as complicated. For me, it begs the question of why that is the case.

I probably already know the answer in a lot of cases, based on some of the messages I received and posts I read back in January. My overall point is this: human beings are complicated and most of us will leave this earth having done some good, and having done some wrong. What matters is how we hold ourselves accountable, grow, and evolve so as not to continue a cycle of wrongdoings. Does our legacy – as complicated as it is and will be – ultimately make this world a better place. In my opinion, in the case of both Kobe Bryant and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the answer is a considerable yes.

At the end of the day, it is probably a good question to ask ourselves: why we are willing to apply grace to Justice Ginsburg’s legacy at the time of her death, but not Kobe Bryant’s at the time of his. Again, I think I know this answer for some. Regardless of what I think I know, it is definitely an individual gut check that, if honest about our respective biases, could very well further RBG’s efforts to make this world a better, more equitable place for *everyone*.

By Nya Mason
Board Member