Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Busing Created the Tea Party | GOPLifer

Busing Created the Tea Party | GOPLifer

by Chris Ladd

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This fundamentally conservative adage has haunted efforts to break down racial barriers to public education in America. When impatience with the slow pace of school desegregation reached its peak in the seventies, liberal activists began a campaign fraught with unintended consequences.

Forget about taxes or abortion or immigration. Today’s Tea Party anger has its roots in the accidental destruction of public schools and the local communities they supported through the well-intentioned plans of the American left.

Forced busing changed the character of the Civil Rights Movement in ways that would destroy any hope of linking the fates of low income whites and blacks. Campaigns to end segregation of lunch counters or hotels may have offended hardened racists, but the material cost to whites was minimal and the economic importance to oppressed black communities was enormous. Forcibly breaking up community school districts was an entirely different matter, with implications for whites and African-Americans that no one outside those communities anticipated.

School desegregation campaigns begun in the ‘70s were justifiably perceived as punitive and imperial. Punishment fell most harshly on lower-earning, white working families, people who had accumulated the least advantage from centuries of racism. Meanwhile, wealthier white communities escaped from forced desegregation almost entirely untouched.

Schools that had acted as the glue holding white communities together were destroyed. Schools that acted as the glue in black communities were destroyed right along with them. There were no winners, and the losers did not deserve their fate.

When the campaign was finally abandoned our public schools were more racially segregated than they had ever been. To make matters worse, now those schools and the communities around them were also intensely segregated by income as well. The quiet compact that once held white communities together was broken and working whites were left to fend for themselves.

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