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Member since: Mon Apr 22, 2019, 02:26 PM
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Lee Atwater on the power of the term "forced busing"

"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'

(From an interview with Alexander P. Lamis (8 July 1981), as quoted in The Two-Party South (1984)‎ by Alexander P. Lamis; originally published as an interview with an anonymous insider, Atwater was not revealed to be the person interviewed until the 1990 edition; also quoted in "Impossible, Ridiculous, Repugnant" by Bob Herbert in The New York Times (6 October 2005)) https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater
Posted by StarfishSaver | Sun Jun 30, 2019, 09:45 PM (5 replies)

She never claimed she benefitted from court-orderd busing

She said she benefitted from busing and said Biden opposed busing.

Biden then tried to differentiate between "voluntary" and "court-ordered" busing and claimed he opposed the latter but supported the former. That's not true.

He opposed both court-ordered and voluntary busing and court-ordered busing and, in fact, introduced legislation that would have defunded and otherwise undermined the kind of voluntary program Harris participated in. His amendment didn't just target voluntary busing - it targeted only voluntary busing and didn't affect court-ordered busing at all, as Biden explained at the time.

Biden's amendment passed the Senate - with the help of Eastland and other segregationists - but fortunately, the House stripped Biden's anti-busing measure out of the final bill.

Posted by StarfishSaver | Sun Jun 30, 2019, 12:05 PM (2 replies)

Here's the thing about opposing "forced busing"

"Forced busing" - the pejorative and intentionally inflammatory term for court-ordered desegregation - was actually not the issue during the busing controversies in the 1970s - it was just a convenient and obviously very effective strawman.

Calling court-ordered desegregation "forced busing" is like referring to court-ordered recognition of gay marriage as "forced cake baking."

Millions of schoolchildren were bused every day for decades, often to schools miles away from their homes (even when other schools were closer). The bus was simply the mode of transportation used to take children to school.

The real issue was school reassignments ordered by courts after local school districts refused to comply with the constitutional requirements to stop segregating their schools based on race.

Many districts did this voluntarily. Because they did so on their own, there were no lawsuits, no court litigation and no need for judges to order them to do anything. They just did it.

But many districts refused to desegregate, rebuffed black parents' entreaties to provide equal educational opportunities for their children, dug in their heels, retrenched and said 'hell no." So the black parents had to go to court and sue for their children's civil rights.

The result of many of those suits was the courts ordering the school districts to develop plans to reassign students in order to overcome the long pattern of educational and housing segregation and discrimination that kept black children trapped in segregated, inferior schools.

The school districts and many white parents were furious about this. But most of them weren't upset about the buses since there was no requirement that their kids ever get on a bus to get to school. They were upset about desegregation. Many were also angry that their children might have to attend a previously all-black school they seemed inferior - a clear, if tacit, acknowledgement that black children were being being subjected to conditions that were viewed as unacceptable for white children.

But here's the thing. "Forced busing" i.e., court ordered school desegregation was ONLY "forced" because school officials, with the full support of many white parents, openly defied the law. If they had complied with the law and stopped discriminating against black children, there would have been no need for the courts to step in and "force" them to do anything.

So this distinction between "voluntary" desegregation and so-called "forced" busing is pure bull, nothing but subterfuge and obfuscation of the real issue that was at play.

What we're really talking about is the difference between local government officials obeying the law and local officials breaking the law in order to continue denying constitutional rights to their black citizens. A court order to follow the law isn't "forced" anything and a court isn't out of line or overstepping or "interfering in local matters" when it requires local government officials to obey the law. It's what they're SUPPOSED to do.
Posted by StarfishSaver | Sun Jun 30, 2019, 11:54 AM (58 replies)

One good thing about the sudden (but surely coincidental) spate of anti-Kamala threads:

It's given us a break, however brief, from the anti-Pelosi threads.
Posted by StarfishSaver | Sat Jun 29, 2019, 10:19 PM (12 replies)

Were there any OPs here attacking DeBlasio for saying he's the only candidate with a black son?

“Something that sets me apart from all my colleagues running in this race and that is for the last 21 years I’ve been raising a black son in America. I have had to have very, very serious talks with my son…including how to deal with the fact that he has to take special caution.”

Since Kamala Harris is being jumped on for saying she was the only person of color on the stage and wanted to weigh in when race was being discussed, I'm wondering if the people who claim to be so upset with her for saying that showed similar upset when de Blasio said this the night before. Was he the subject of several OPs accusif him of playing the race card or whining or using his son's race inappropriately or any of the other criticisms that are being lobbed at Harris?

If he was, I missed it. And if he wasn't, why wasn't he? And if he didn't merit such a response here, why does Harris?

Just wondering.
Posted by StarfishSaver | Sat Jun 29, 2019, 09:28 AM (17 replies)

"Look at US! Aren't we awesome?! We're so diverse. We have women, a black guy, a Hispanic guy

a gay guy, a black woman ..." We should get so much credit for having this much diversity.

"Ok. Now, let's talk about racial issues."

"As a black woman ..."

"How DARE you try to play the race card!!!"
Posted by StarfishSaver | Sat Jun 29, 2019, 12:47 AM (42 replies)

"History Rolled in on a Yellow Schoolbus'

Boston Globe

The administration had been preparing for this day since US District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr.’s decision in June to end public school segregation and bypass an intransigent elected School Committee that had long resisted doing anything about it. Garrity’s ruling had been hailed by many as a long-overdue civil rights victory. Black residents had fought for better education and schools, and thought of this as one way to achieve that goal. But many parents vehemently rebelled, especially in South Boston, one of several neighborhoods picked for the first phase of the desegregation process.

(The driver of the bus carrying black children into South Boston) emerged from the rotary and turned right onto Dorchester Street. As soon as he made the turn, he saw the crowd in the street. At least 100 people blocked the way, yelling and gesturing in anger. Before he could react, he heard a thud, the sound of something heavy striking the side of the bus. A second later, glass shattered behind him. And he heard the children on his bus start screaming. What the hell is happening? ... Now, it seemed he was entering some other, uglier world. The kind of hate he’d seen on TV, in the South but never in his city – it was here now, right in front of him. But there wasn’t time to dwell on his shock. He had to get the children out of harm’s way, as fast as he could.
He kept rolling up the street, more bricks slamming into the sides of the bus. They’re tearing us up, he thought. People on the street were at the back door of the bus now, trying to pull it open. “Hold the door!” Richardson hollered at the kids in the back of the bus. “Hold on, don’t let them open it!”

He could hear people outside yelling racial slurs. He could hear the children on the bus, crying harder. He took a left, trying to find a way out. He drove to the end of West Eighth Street and ran into D Street. There, at the corner, he realized his mistake. They were surrounded by another crowd, bigger and more furious than the first. Bricks were flying, with few windows left to stop them. Richardson told the kids to lie down on the floor, but the kids were lying down already.

He turned left on D Street, left again onto Dorchester Avenue. At Andrew Station, the MBTA train stop, he saw other school buses gathered. He wasn’t the only driver who had been forced to turn back. The police were there, and ambulances, medics pulling shards of glass out of children’s heads.

“Niggers go home!” “Here we go Southie!”

“Why are they yelling at us?” someone on the bus said.

The petrified students walked in single file or rows of two through a gauntlet of police, news cameras, and photographers, and finally passed through the front doors. Phyllis did not hear the teachers saying “good morning” as she entered the building. She clung to the other black students. In a single bus ride they had been forever linked. They were in this together now.

This wasn't Little Rick, Arkansas in 1957 or Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. It was Boston, Massachusetts in 1975.

And these people weren't attacking these black schoolchildren because they were worried about their children having to ride a bus across town.

Posted by StarfishSaver | Sat Jun 29, 2019, 12:28 AM (4 replies)

My busing story

As a junior high school student, I participated in a busing program that required me to take a bus to a school more than two miles from my house, although there was a school less than half a mile away

But my busing program wasn't done for integration. It was done to prevent it.

My family was one of the first black families to move into the white section of our small suburban community. The town's black families lived close to and on the other side of the tracks. Many of these families had been the domestic servants of the town's white households and, thanks to rampant housing discrimination, remained trapped in the neighborhoods they'dbeen relegated to for nearly a century.

Our town had two junior high schools. One school was on the side of town where the black families (and many less affluent white families) lived and although there weren't enough minority students to make it predominantly black, the school had a high percentage of black students. The other school was almost all white, with just a tiny handful of black students, including me.

The racial makeup of the two schools was the result of careful and intentional drawing of the school lines to ensure that the town's black students all went to one school while the other school stayed virtually all white.

When my family moved in, my parents were surprised to find that, because of the way the school lines were drawn, I wasn't assigned to the school within close walking distance of our house, but was instead assigned to the school more than two miles away - and that I would have to walk several blocks to catch a bus to the school on the other side of town.

Every day I rode the bus with white kids, many of whom had to travel even farther than I did to get to school, even though the other junior high school was much closer to their homes.

But you know what? None of those white families complained about their kids having to go out of their way to attend a school so far away from their homes when they could have attended a school just a couple of blocks away. Those white families didn't stage protests or try to tip over buses in a rage because their children had to ride buses to get to school. And they certainly didn't seem to mind that their children were required to spend up to an extra 90 minutes per day to get to and from school.

When the busing controversy raged in other cities in the 70's, I asked my father why it was such a big deal. After all, half the kids in our town were bused all over the place and no one seemed to mind. He told me that "Busing is as American as apple pie. It's been used for years to keep schools segregated and nobody said a word. It's only now that it's being used to help undo that segregation that it's a problem. It's not the bus. It's us."

Posted by StarfishSaver | Fri Jun 28, 2019, 10:48 PM (6 replies)

Biden on busing in the 1970s

To be clear, this is NOT an attack on Biden, whom I like immensely and could very well support in the primaries.

But since there has been so much back and forth about his comments tonight and accusations that Kamala Harris mischaracterized his position on busing, we can use some context.

Biden said tonight that "I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed." But is that true?

In the 1970s, he expressed opposition to busing, in general, regardless whether done voluntarily at the local level or through federal mandate.

"Biden attempted to defend his position on the grounds that racially mixed schools were not essential to quality education. Black children could get a high-quality education in an all-black school. In an interview with the black journalist William Raspberry, Biden criticized pro-busing advocates, ‘What they are saying is that your black, curly-haired son has to be in class with my white, straight-haired one before he can get a decent education. I might add that I don’t feel responsible for my father’s sins – only for my sins’. Biden sent his own children to private schools.

"Biden called busing ‘a bankrupt concept’ and argued, ‘The educational system does not have as its primary purpose the integration of society’. His amendment barred the use of federal funds ‘to assign teachers or students by race’. Edward Brooke lamented that the Biden amendment was ‘the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights’ in years. ‘It’s just a matter of time before we wipe out the civil rights progress of the last decade’. In the end, the Biden amendment was removed in conference committee, but the Delaware Senator had established himself nationally as a leading opponent of busing.

"In 1975, US News & World Report paired Brooke and Biden against each other in parallel interviews: Biden represented the forces opposed to busing, Brooke represented those in favor. Biden vowed, ‘I would eliminate forced busing under any circumstances’, while Brooke argued that racially mixed schools were an essential element in building a healthy, racially integrated democratic society. While Biden had attended an overwhelmingly all-white private school, Brooke had been educated in segregated, all-black public schools in Washington, DC."


Biden needs to clean this up or, at the very least, figure out a way to reconcile his past positions with where he stands now. He can do it and I hope he does. Tonight may have been a wakeup call.

I also have to wonder how well his staff prepped him on this. I find it difficult to comprehend that, knowing that his record on busing was an issue, his campaign staff didn't know or brief him on the fact that Kamala Harris had been bused as a child. This should not have been a surprise and he should have had a much better response to this.
Posted by StarfishSaver | Fri Jun 28, 2019, 01:03 AM (67 replies)

Before attacking Kamala Harris for "mischaracterizing" Biden's views, please look at what she said

Following is the entire exchange on the topic of race between Sen. Harris and VP Biden. There is nothing in it in which Harris in any way mischaracterized Biden's comments about working with segregationist senators or his record on busing:

Senator Kamala Harris of California sharply criticized former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the Democratic presidential primary debate on Thursday, talking about her personal history with busing and calling his recent recollections of working with segregationist senators “hurtful.”

Below is a transcript of the exchange.

[Here are the highlights of the debate.]

HARRIS: And I’m going to now direct this at Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe — and it is personal, and it was actually very hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputation and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And you know, there was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly. As attorney general of California, I was very proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents wear body cameras and keep those cameras on.

BIDEN: A mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists, that is not true. Number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I’m happy to do that. I was a public defender. I didn’t become a prosecutor. I came out and left a good law firm to become a public defender when, in fact, when, in fact, when, in fact, my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King. Number one, number two. Excuse me — as the vice president of the United States, I worked with a man who, in fact, we worked very hard to see it to, we dealt with these issues. And in a major, major way. The fact is that in terms of busing, the busing, I never — you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That’s fine. That’s one of the things I argued for, that we should not be — we should be breaking down these lines. So the bottom line here is, look, everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights. I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights. And those civil rights, by the way, include not just African Americans but the L.G.B.T.Q. communities.

HARRIS: But Vice President Biden, do you agree today, do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then? Do you agree?

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.

HARRIS: It’s a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was a part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California, public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.

BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision. It was a local decision.

HARRIS: That’s where the federal government must step in, that’s why we have the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. That’s why we need to pass the Equality Act, it’s why we need to pass the E.R.A. Because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.
Posted by StarfishSaver | Thu Jun 27, 2019, 10:51 PM (68 replies)
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