posts 31 - 37 of 37
fancyclown
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation

Although I think that desegregation of the BPS system was absolutely necessary, I'm not sure that busing was the best way to go about it. Instead of forcing black students to wake up extra early to bus all the way from where they lived to the "better" schools in South Boston, I think it would've made more sense to also bus some white students to bus from their homes in South Boston or wherever they lived to Roxbury, or any other neighborhood that was also heavily segregated at the time. I think it's unfair to force these black students to "be the change" all by themselves, have to switch schools, and put up with extreme racism in a community they're not used to, while the white students get to stay in their neighborhoods and the schools they've known forever. As unfortunate as it is I also think that in doing this (busing white students to previously black schools), the quality of education in these schools would also rise, since it would prove that there was equality between all schools in Boston and better incentivize teachers to work there, not just the already proclaimed "better" schools elsewhere. I think change definitely did need to happen, as we saw in the documentary, the hate & racism towards black people in Boston at that time was absurd. It's definitely still present, but it's gotten so much better since then, and that never would've happened without the strides that were made towards desegregation. My grandparents lived in Scituate, MA while this was happening in Boston, and they were actually present on some buses on the first few days of busing black students to Southie, in an effort to show support and protection. I like to think if I were going to school during that time I'd be doing something like that too. I think it was definitely a scary time for everyone involved, regardless of your stance on the subject, just the uncertainty everyday of what violence might happen during the school day. Personally, I think the most visible affects still in BPS from the desegregation era are these same beliefs we saw then, unfortunately, a lot of people in Boston still carry a lot of these racist ideologies. While watching the documentary, I found it hard to not look at the people in the crowds yelling slurs at these students and not think about their kids. Their kids who probably carried on the same beliefs.

fancyclown
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

Originally posted by johndoe on October 27, 2022 19:13

The ends most certainly did not justify the means. There was so much unnecessary violence and hate for the simple reason that they put busing into effect.

Desegregation was a very worthy goal. It is crucial to the well functioning of a community.

Change needed to happen. The levels of racism were completely intolerable, and seemingly nothing could fix it. However, this was not the way for schools to go about it. I could not tell you what the ideal solution may or may not be, but I know that this could've been handled in a better way than causing fear and terror into people's hearts.

I cannot imagine having to go into a such a hostile environment like that every single day. I think that almost nothing would be tolerable, and that I, even as a white male, would be on edge every time I stepped foot in the building. I think that the intolerable would have been the violence and the slurs, and I think that everything else would seem very minuscule in the moment.

I think the most visual effect is the amount of racial divide in BPS schools. We learned that after the busing incident, white children were being taken out of Boston public schooling to be put into private schools, and they never returned. This completely effects the racial divide we have in our school today, because many parents who go through private education also put their child into private education.

I agree with what you said about the racial divide in BPS schools, the number of MA white kids in private school vs in public is insane. In supporting private schools, people actually make public schools worse. Private schools get so much funding from alumni or external foundations and BPS is left with only government funding, which there isn't a lot of. This creates the same kind of issue they were originally dealing with in 1975, the public schools in majority black neighborhoods being severely undervalued by the government, because the ones in Southie were considered better.

EyeAin'tNoGrinch
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

The Boston Public School system absolutely needed a change and desegregation was a worthy goal that needed to happen. It was with good intentions that the court ordered that busing would be how they desegregated schools, but that obviously wasn't the best nor the safest solution. Segregated neighborhoods/ redlining is an extremely bad issue and got so much worse after busing. Instead of busing, simply segregating neighborhoods more and legitimately welcoming all races to all public schools may have resolved the issue in a better and less abrupt way. But also, clearly white people were very very not fond of having black people go to their school, so who knows if there would even be a correct way. All that is known for sure is busing did so much damage and there needed to be a more well thought out way to desegregate out schools. The extreme red lining issues we have in the city are heavily due to the desegregation of schools because it caused a ton of black families to be driven out of their homes in white neighborhoods. Before bussing, school was segregated, but neighborhoods were not. After busing, neighborhoods are extremely segregated and although we don’t acknowledge this much, so are schools because public schools in predominantly white or black or hispanic neighborhoods will have mostly students of that race. So bussing may have, in a kind of unrecognized way, made segregation worse in a modern sense.

Overall it was all a really crazy and controversial situation and there would have been no 100% supported way to go about it but the way everything was handled during desegregation in 1974-1975 was not okay. I can’t imagine how crazy it must’ve been to be a student in schools experiencing busing during that time. I know for a fact I would have no problem “tolerating” black students starting to attend my school that’s mostly white, and what would be completely intolerable to me would violence of any kind because especially in a school with young children, that will NEVER resolve what you want it to. The way white people were so threatened by black people joining their schools that they were inclined to use violence, is just completely irrational and crazy.

EyeAin'tNoGrinch
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by FlyingCelestialDragon on October 27, 2022 16:55

The desegregation of Boston public schools did not justify busing. It was necessary for the desegregation of schools because of the negligence and unfairness of schools in the Black community. Overall desegregation of schools was a worthy goal since it opened a new pathway for Black children and their education. But the busing situation was not the best step for reinforcing the desegregation. The busing led to many more problems and created a larger barrier to desegregation. I think change did need to happen in the Boston Public Schools but it should not have started with busing first. Instead, I think the schools in the Black community should get funded with better materials and teachers. With this, these schools could be on somewhat the same level as the schools in the White community. Additionally, they should break down the housing barriers where one community would live in a specific area. If I went to school in the environment of 1974-1975, I don’t think my parents would let me go, since it would be too dangerous. I don’t think there would be anything tolerable about it. The most visible effect today of the desegregation era of 1974-1975 is that Boston is called America’s most racist city and no matter what we do now, the name won’t go away.

I definitely agree that busing shouldn't be the first step and that's an interesting way to think about it. It should have been a more gradual process to attend to the needs and wants of everyone and then eventually lead to busing, but I don't necessarily know if starting with simply giving black schools better materials and staff would be the best first step. People needed to be exposed to more diversity and subtle desegregation in some way so that busing wouldn't be so abrupt. It's really stupid that they would have to be so delicate and gradual in desegregating but unfortunately in order to avoid violence (especially from white people who don't want it), everyone needed to understand desegregation before it was thrown at them.

Bolt
Posts: 8

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

Yes, I think the ends did justify the means. The original goal of busing was so that black students would have equal access to resources in their school. This is obviously very important and would ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities. Although the goal was important, busing also caused many problems especially when it was first implemented. It forced learning to be paused and caused black kids to be harrassed. Fights broke out over race, and in the video we watched, it seemed like no one was happy with busing as a solution. With all of those downsides considered, I think that desegregation was something that needed to happen in the Boston Public Schools system (and everywhere), but I don’t think busing was the only option. I’m not sure what else they could have done, and I think that there was always going to be backlash about whatever was decided, but I think that there are other ways that this could have been approached. With busing, it was also pretty easy for white people to blame their protests on other things, like how far their kids had to go, but what they were really angry about was that there were black kids in their childrens’ schools. I think that going to school during this time would have been difficult, especially if I was black. This added a whole additional layer to both getting to school and learning. Feeling welcome and safe is also really important in actually being able to learn, so I think that it would have been hard for me to learn and enjoy school. The most visible remnant of this era to me is the amount of white kids in private schools. During busing, there were a huge amount of white parents (who could afford it) that took their kids out of BPS and put them into private schools, and we still see that happening today. Many white families also move just outside of the city, chasing “better schools”.

Bolt
Posts: 8

Originally posted by johndoe on October 27, 2022 19:13

The ends most certainly did not justify the means. There was so much unnecessary violence and hate for the simple reason that they put busing into effect.

Desegregation was a very worthy goal. It is crucial to the well functioning of a community.

Change needed to happen. The levels of racism were completely intolerable, and seemingly nothing could fix it. However, this was not the way for schools to go about it. I could not tell you what the ideal solution may or may not be, but I know that this could've been handled in a better way than causing fear and terror into people's hearts.

I cannot imagine having to go into a such a hostile environment like that every single day. I think that almost nothing would be tolerable, and that I, even as a white male, would be on edge every time I stepped foot in the building. I think that the intolerable would have been the violence and the slurs, and I think that everything else would seem very minuscule in the moment.

I think the most visual effect is the amount of racial divide in BPS schools. We learned that after the busing incident, white children were being taken out of Boston public schooling to be put into private schools, and they never returned. This completely effects the racial divide we have in our school today, because many parents who go through private education also put their child into private education.

I agree with almost everything that you said, especially about how much change needed to happen. It is interesting that you said all of the hardships of busing were not worth it, even though this change was so important and was needed so badly.

Sharka
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 6

Desegregation and Busing

To put it simply, I do think that the ends justified the means in regards to desegregating the Boston Public School system. However, I have to say, the means could definitely have been managed better. The ends, desegregation of BPS, was absolutely necessary, vital, and overall a worthy goal in need of working towards. I think that even the nightmare that was Bostonian busing was worth a desegregated school system. It had to happen at some point, and we still have a long ways to go; the generational setback of inadequate education would have exacerbated Bostonian segregation in every aspect. On the other hand, busing was executed terribly. To be fair, there wasn’t much to be done about wealthier white families being against racial integration within their schools. At the same time, the process was far too rushed; I truly believe that if the communities involved were eased into the idea of desegregation and it were a lengthier process, there would have been much less backlash. People from both black and white communities complained about the suddenness of it all, feeling almost like the world was turned upside down in the blink of an eye. On top of this, I think that there should have been more extensive procedures put in place to protect the children. I would not feel safe sending my child into a crowd of screaming white people across town. I doubt the parents of the black children sent into white schools, or even the black children themselves, felt any modicum of safety. I think the process was far too complex to be rushed in the time frame that it was, and I think that the disaster emerging from busing stems from a lack of organization.


I can imagine being a child going to school in 1974-1975, and I can tell you for a fact that I would not be the one to bus across the city. The children of color, the black children, who were sent into white schools were under the unwritten expectation that they would be completely cordial and amicable to their peers and teachers no matter what the circumstances. Any kind of acting out, any kind of lashing back, any kind of fighting would only prove the point of the white people screaming for you to get out. There was no sympathy in light of circumstances. I personally could not live up to such insurmountable expectations. I have faced racism and bullying as a result of my race in the past, and I have never been the type to be able to take it. Even when faced with consequences, I have never been strong enough to bite my tongue or keep it in my cheek. I have been in fights, screaming matches, detentions, and principal’s offices for lashing out towards those who treat me unfairly. As a child, no level of dehumanization, degradation, or violence was considered tolerable. I can imagine being a child in 1974-1975, and the only conclusion is that I cannot in good faith consider myself as someone mature enough to endure busing.


I can see the effects of desegregation and busing in the present day because of how racism exists in Boston. Another classmate, @babybackribs, mentioned how other countries and other states or cities view Boston as one of the most racist cities in America. From personal experience, I can attest to this. Most people see Boston as a racist city. On top of this, I feel like our schools are still segregated to some extent. Boston Latin School, for example, was 44% white. It was only when we instated recent implementations to our admission process that we started to have more even demographics, but we are for all intents and purposes a “white school”. When I found out I was accepted into BLS, my classmates bust out laughing, because I was going to the “white school”. Isn’t it interesting that one of the best public schools, one of the most prestigious public schools, is considered “that racist school” or “the white school” by students from other schools? Isn’t it interesting how many white students had tutors, went to private schools, attended ISEE prep courses, or learnt Russian Maths or Kumon prior to BLS? Isn’t it interesting how many white students knew about the ISEE in the first place, or how many knew what an exam school was, compared to students of color? I think that while we have come far, BPS still has much to work on in terms of racial equality and desegregation. I think that the fact that these questions permeate my mind as I attend this school attests to the fact that the impact of busing and 1970s desegregation pervades our educational system to this day.

posts 31 - 37 of 37