Is busing to integrate school still necessary?
July 14, 1998
in this forum:
Shouldn't qualified teachers at all schools end the busing debate? Does busing solve inequities or promote resentment? Can people in racially separated areas still work in a diverse environment? Should schools and students be placed in schools according to merit instead of racial background? Does busing allow kids of different races to learn to work together? Julia Morton of Huntersville, NC asks: If busing is necessary for integration when people live in basically separate areas, are people in areas like the Midwest and some areas in the West and Northeast automatically prejudiced because they attend(ed) basically all-white schools? Can these people deal with diverse groups once they are on the job, since they didn't attend diversely populated schools?
Bill James, Mecklenburg county commissioner, responds:
You bring up a good point. The "south" suffers from quota's and busing because of the sins of the past. Yet the South today has people from all over the U.S.. 30 years ago the U.S. government instituted busing because Southern elected leaders (all Democrats I might add) didn't want to treat blacks fairly. Now 30 years later it is liberal Democrats who can't seem to give up the idea that a Black kid must sit next to a White one to learn.
It is a reverse sort of "Jim Crow" liberalism that forces all children to get a lousy education at the expense of ideology. Polls show that Black parents hate busing. Even so, they fear that without it their children won't receive an equal or fair education. It is that fear that liberals exploit.
If white children in the North are in predominately white schools and are not racists, then their is no reason to expect children in Charlotte's schools would be racists either if busing was stopped. Charlotte's school board does not accept that a child's education is the highest priority because they continue to believe that Black children can only achieve a good education if they sit next to a white one. That is, in my opinion, a decidedly "racist" viewpoint in and of itself. As long as liberals and Democrats hold that belief and are in positions of power nothing with change without court action.
Dennis Rash, NationsBank senior vice president, responds:
I agree with your implicit observation that the school system can instill the value of learning to deal with diverse populations. Surely, that is more important in the work place today than ever before. In the Charlotte busing case, the Court seemed to day that busing is a permissible tool for breaking down patterns of governmental actions that cause segregation. If government hasn't implicitly or directly caused the segregation, I would hope alternatives to busing could be found to encourage the value of diversity.