Did Forced Busing Work? Does it Matter?
Several Democratic candidates for president have let it be known that they would support the forced desegregation of inner-city, minority schools by forcing white students from the suburbs to be bused to mostly black schools. Liberals claim that even though it was hugely unpopular -- with both black and white parents -- it actually worked.
Historically in this country, the removal of racist legal barriers has often come without any real effort to cure the inequality the now unconstitutional laws and policies had created. This was different. Led by Chief Justice Earl Warren’s Supreme Court, federal judges were mandating desegregation plans that did more than simply strike down segregation on paper the way past courts had. A series of rulings called for a fundamental destruction of caste schools in this country. Segregation had been forced, so integration would have to be forced as well.
To do so, the courts understood that desegregation required an arsenal of tools, the same arsenal that white families, school boards and politicians had deployed for a century and a half to segregate black children. They included assigning students and neighborhoods to schools based on race, selecting sites to build schools based on the racial makeup of neighborhoods, assigning teachers and administrators to schools based on race, allowing children to transfer into schools based on race and using buses to carry students to and from schools for integration.
So, they did it too, only worse? Really? That's the justification to force a public policy on people of both races who oppose it? Democracy just ain't what it used to be.
And despite the constant assertion that “busing” failed, busing as a tool of desegregation, and court-ordered desegregation in general, was extraordinarily successful in the South.
The author of this piece, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has a predictably liberal perspective on most racial issues and, in addition, has picked up the annoying habit of conveniently omitting vital pieces of information from her analysis that might make her case more balanced.
For instance, Bruce Murphy from Urban Milwaukee:
Busing was certainly a political failure. It was never popular with Americans. A Washington Post story notes that a 1972 national poll found only 20 percent of Americans favored “busing schoolchildren to achieve racial balance,” and a 1978 poll found only 25 percent agreed that “racial integration of the schools should be achieved even if it requires busing.” By 1999 a Gallup poll found 82 percent of respondents said letting students go to their neighborhood schools would be better than achieving racial balance through busing. But African Americans were considerably more supportive, with 44 percent supporting busing.
The political reality is very simple. Democratic-run city schools are failing -- and failing students catastrophically. In the grip of enormous union power wielded by teachers, Democratic politicians are helpless to make the admittedly hard choices to radically improve the education of children. All of the racially charged rhetoric comes down to one simple truth: Democratic policies adopted by city schools have not only failed, but are detrimental to the education of children of all colors.
It is not a question of race. What Ms. Hanna-Jones and Democratic presidential candidates are attempting to do by resurrecting the monumentally unpopular and stupid policy of forced busing on little kids is foist their problems of educating students of all races and ethnicities on better-run school systems that are located in mostly white suburbs. Make no mistake: This is a political decision, having nothing whatsoever to do with culture or race.
Democrats have hit upon a strategy for the 2020 election that involves smoke, mirrors, and misdirection to distract people from the fact that they lack ideas and vision. They are counting on anti-Trump hysteria and further dividing Americans by race to win the 2020 presidential election.