And… here it is! Nikole Hannah-Jones on the “busing” debate.
“That we even use the word “busing” to describe what was in fact court-ordered school desegregation, and that Americans of all stripes believe that the brief period in which we actually tried to desegregate our schools was a failure, speaks to one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the last half century.”
“The term “busing” is a race-neutral euphemism that allows people to pretend white opposition was not about integration but simply about a desire for their children to attend neighborhood schools…. This allowed white communities and politicians to deny the role of racism and therefore give respectable cover to their resistance…. It was the educational version of arguing that the Civil War was about states’ rights rather than slavery — one could uphold racist practices and systems while arguing that race had nothing to do with it.”
“Media and politicians blamed busing for the white flight from many cities, even though cities with large black populations suffered extensive white flight whether they instituted busing or not. They said busing stoked racial tensions, as if race relations had been just fine when black people stayed in their place.”
“By 1988, just two decades after it began in earnest, desegregation in this country had peaked. Our one real effort to bring the promises of Brown to fruition withered amid the belief that we had tried really hard and failed…. But to say busing — or really, mandated desegregation — failed is a lie…. Busing did not fail. We did.”