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1 Political Atheist  Apr 5, 2014 6:43:17pm

My parents were anti busing advocates and I was caught up in it as high school student. My location was the SF valley in LA though. Same perceptions and politics.

My lasting objection is how forced busing disenfranchised middle class parents from voting with their feet for the benefit of their children educational opportunities. The far better answer was to improve the schools in minority neighborhoods. That and to not use students as devices in social engineering.

Still a good topic for a Page.

2 Dark_Falcon  Apr 5, 2014 6:45:24pm

re: #1 Political Atheist

My parents were anti busing advocates and I was caught up in it as high school student. My location was the SF valley in LA though. Same perceptions and politics.

My lasting objection is how forced busing disenfranchised middle class parents from voting with their feet for the benefit of their children educational opportunities. The far better answer was to improve the schools in minority neighborhoods. That and to not use students as devices in social engineering.

Quite Concur.

3 palmerskiss  Apr 5, 2014 6:57:59pm

re: #2 Dark_Falcon

Quite Concur.

Here in Boston you still see the lingering effects of the busing affair. I did not grow up here, and despite living here 7 years, I still have no easy answers as to how to navigate the tricky, deeply contextual issues around race during this period of American social history.

There were racial issues in the British Isles, but they were akin to swimming through water - there is some friction and everyone gets wet, but it does not feel intractable.

Even here in Boston it is more like swimming through syrup, you get everywhere slowly, and the syrup is impossible to get off.

This busing issue left a giant searing recent memory for Bostonians, I struggle with why it is so intractable. Today, Boston is a mostly tolerant, diverse, progressive city, which I suppose highlights the ironies to a greater degree.

4 sauceruney  Apr 5, 2014 6:58:11pm

My parents and many others bailed on our inner-city Cleveland neighborhood and moved to the suburbs. It took me many years to truly understand what had happened, because it isn’t anything anyone talks about.

I’m not proud of it. It seemed to me the whole concept was flawed if it disrupted communities and left them looking like a war zone some 40 years later. Instead of integration, we got more segregation. We have closed shopping malls. Three closed amusement parks. Closed schools. Streets and bridges in disrepair. Small enclaves of rich white folk protected by overzealous police forces. I could go on but I don’t have any answers. All I have is an account of the illusion we’re living in, from the perspective of another white guy who had things easy because of my skin color.

Even now, I look at the billboards that show who’s wanted by the police and FBI. I know that criminals are predominantly white, but they always have a black person’s photo on display. It disgusts me that this bias greets me as I cross the border from Cleveland into Parma every day on my way home from work. That the cop car everyone is changing lanes to get around has yet another black person pulled over.

Knowledge of white privilege isn’t anything you can just tell another white person about. They have to want to see it. It certainly isn’t pretty.

5 Dark_Falcon  Apr 6, 2014 7:27:45am

re: #4 sauceruney

But it wasn’t just white people that ran from many parts of large cities, that’s the thing. Up until circa 1990 the CTA’s 63rd Street branch of what is now the Green Line (but which back then was connected to the line north to Howard St, instead of west to Harlem Ave in Oak Park) ran to Dorchester, which from the 1920’s onwards had become a shopping district for African-Americans, run by a black middle class. When Chicago started to see rising crime and serious civil disorder in the second half of the 60’s, that black middle class largely fled Chicago for the suburbs, as did similar black storeowners, doctors, and other professionals. Dorchester was left desolated, so much so eventually even its CTA ‘L’ station was closed.

What is often called “White Flight” was really “Middle Class Flight”. In Detroit and Washington DC as well, the black middle class fled urban areas that were experiencing rampant crime and disorder. What else could they do? Their actions were short-sighted in many ways, but people have to live in the short and medium term. A good long-term plan is great, but you’ve got to live long enough to reach it.

6 palmerskiss  Apr 6, 2014 12:05:19pm

re: #5 Dark_Falcon

interesting that here in Boston, Dorchester and southie- white, Irish areas, since bussing have become a multicultural diverse area (which leads some people to call it ‘a ghetto’ - which it is not) this pushed the irish further south, out of boston proper, into quincy and down into the south shore - scituate, humarock, marshfield, which today remain bastions of irish whiteness.

I do not know how bussing turned Dorchester into a diverse, colourful, non-white neighbourhood, but the timelines correlate.


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