posts 16 - 30 of 45
Avatar
MichaelAfton
Posts: 28

Personally, I believe desegregating BPS justified busing because there weren't many other ways to make both races interact with each other besides forced intermingling. After watching the video and seeing the extreme amounts of violence, to me it's clear that these people wouldn't send their kids to schools dominated by black kids unless they were forced to. Was busing the correct solution to this problem? Possibly not. After reading Farah Stockman's article "Did busing slow Boston’s desegregation?" and learning about Junior's story and everyone involved with him, it leads me to believe that moving so quickly was not the best solution. From threats of harm to stabbing to firebombing homes, it's clear that busing had a lot of influence on the racial tensions in Boston. But even then, I still believe that this was one of the better ways to solve the desegregation issue because I see no other circumstances where these two racial groups would talk, period. I think the vitriol that resulted from all of this would have never existed if busing wasn't around because these groups would not push for real desegregation unless otherwise pushed to do so.

I think desegregation was a worthy goal because children deserve the right to broaden their world view, regardless of what their parents think. When I was a 6th grader approaching 7th grade, my parents wanted me to stay in my old school rather than go to Boston Latin because our family all graduated from the school we went to. This wouldn't have been as huge of a problem, if it wasn't for the fact that the class size was about 18 and would be around 6 or 7 in the 7th grade since so many students leave after the ISEE testing. If I stayed in that school, I don't really know how I'd turn out now. 7th and 8th grade were such key times of my life because it introduced me to all these new people (students and faculty alike) that would shape me into the type of person I am today. By going to a new school, it opened up my entire world view and I think that's what's so important to teens growing up. I understand that the parents of the teens who were forced into busing were scared and angry for their children, but at the same time these teens deserve to experience life with more than one color in their life.

I believe change in BPS was an urgent thing that needed to happen because kids, regardless of race, deserve an equal opportunity for schooling. It's so important that children be educated because they're going to be the base of the society that comes after the generation before them, and depriving children of valuable experiences and knowledge that come from education is a disservice to future society. I understand why Judge W. Arthur Garrity implemented busing, though. Fixing predominately black schools is a good idea on paper, but at the same time it takes time and money to fix every school that isn't up to par with predominately white schools. I believe these schools still should have been fixed because it's not fair to the kids to sit at broken desks with books in terrible conditions, but at the same time the change had to be so much more immediate than implementing plans to eventually fix the broken schools.

In the school environment in 1974-1975, I don't believe much would be tolerable only because of how tense it was. Any action that could be seen as a transgression against another race could erupt into violence. For example, if a white person were to bump into a black person or vice versa, that could lead to a huge fight inside of the school. But this is only what's not tolerable INSIDE of the school. Outside, it's a whole different ball game. It was tolerable to throw bricks at buses, like what happened James "Little" Richardson's bus that he drove as mentioned in "History rolled in on a yellow school bus" by Meghan E. Irons, Shelley Murphy, and Jenna Russell. It was tolerable to coax people into throwing said bricks at the homes of black people, like with the boy in Farah Stockman's article that I mentioned earlier. Would these be tolerated now? No. Back then, I'd be hard-pressed to say that these were truly tolerable in Boston. I believe these actions were only tolerated because if they were more actively stopped, it could erupt into so much more than just bricks. It could have gone much farther than firebombs through a home, but rather firebombs through school windows or more explosive riots in the streets. I know this is a hypothetical, but without giving these people some form of way to throw their tantrum the risk of it going further than what we saw would be huge.

The most visible effect of the desegregation era in 1974-1975 would have to be the amount of minorities in BPS. However, the fact that BPS has more minorities compared to back then still saddens me because it means that there are more white children going to private schools rather than public schools. That in it of itself is putting a bandage on a wound that requires stitches. There's no fixing of race relations going on when one group isn't willing to try to work it out. It's similar to plugging your ears and closing your eyes and thinking that everything is fixed just because you can't see the results of your actions.

Avatar
LD75019
Posts: 29

Boston's Legacy

I believe that the result of the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools justified the means of busing because I do not think gradual change to integrate African-American students into the BPS system would have worked as cleanly and without a lot push back. There was already, clearly a huge amount of opposition to integration although from Farah Stockham, “Whites have a vested interest in believing that equality is already here. Why else did we go through the pain of court-ordered busing?” And to answer that question, I believe that radical reform is sometimes needed to force and demand change. Gradual pushes towards integration would have been a slow process to desegregate and to keep in mind-Boston’s public housing didn’t desegregate until 1988! A recent phenomenon in our city.

Desegregation is no doubt a worthy goal because it is an opportunity to learn about different cultures and perspectives. Education is breaking boundaries of ignorance to knowledge not on an academic level, but also being informed on the lives and experiences of others to better understand the world that we all live in. This is a worthy investment for the future so that students can better get along with people of other races.

I can only imagine that tensions would be palpable and high if I were to attend school at that time. In this day and age, politics has become very important and controversial (as it always has been) for the developing youth of today. I think these differing views are tolerable because usually most youth are very civil and willing to have conversations rather than get into a fight about. Me as a person of color, I can honestly say that there would be a possibility that I would be involved in fights. I’m not someone who usually fights nor am I confrontational, but I can see myself being on edge and when push comes to shove I’d be throwing the second punch. I don’t condone violence and I cannot justify my actions if I were to do it.

One of the most visible effects of the desegregation of the Boston public schools is that most of the schools in the BPS system are very much full of minorities. My old school in Dorchester is distinctly different than it was post desegregation and different now from when I was there. The same could be said for mostly all BPS schools-there are big populations of people of color in relation to white students which shows a pretty good integration of different races.

Avatar
LD75019
Posts: 29

Originally posted by ilovechocolate on December 05, 2018 21:16

Hello!

Wow, intense questions! To start, I want to fully support the idea that desegregation was a worthy goal for the residents of Boston. Equality is a human right, and although the idea of equality is a rocky one that proves extremely hard to enforce in all aspects of our world, I find it disrespectful to those who fought so hard, for so long, to say their goal was out of their reach.

However, I wish there was an alternative to busing. Throughout the entire time that we have been focused on this topic, I have been trying very hard to come up with a somewhat realistic alternative, but have come up very empty handed. I now sort of sympathize with Judge Garrity, because while his decision may not have been the best, something had to be done, and he did choose to take some form of action. Change needed to happen in the Boston Public Schools. Was this the best way to procure change? Who knows. There was no other plausible, well known, alternative to achieve desegregation at the time.

All in all though, I do not think the ends justifies the means, referring desegregating the Boston Public Schools to busing. This is because I do not find the Boston Public Schools nowadays to be as diverse as they possibly could be, due to the evident consequences of redlining. School placement is decided by a lottery, one that heavily weighs where you live and whether you have siblings at a school, into the count. But if the lottery takes into account home placement, and the ramifications of redling are still visibly seen today, then in some way, doesn’t the lottery take into place socioeconomic status and much more that ‘defines’ a neighborhood, like race or ethnicity? One of the articles commented on Batson, saying desegregation was partially a “tragedy, because the things she fought for — equality and racial integration — elude us to this day.” This resonated with me.

There are SO many effects I see literally daily of redlining and busing. Oh so recently, with the death of Whitey Bulger, South Boston got rowdy. My own peers posted ‘Rest In Peace Whitey’ on all types of social media forms, making me question whether or not they really knew his history. Southie still has a reputation of the “us-against-them” mentality that MacDonald speaks of in Whitey Bulger, Boston Busing, and Southie’s Lost Generation. It didn’t matter to my peers that Whitey played God over hundreds of peoples lives, choosing to send them to their graves in various ways. It only mattered that he had united Southie, even if it was over a racially corrupt idea. And despite the public attention that busing got in the 70s, Whitey kept a iron first ruling over Southie, something little Americans have known about until fairly recently. So many factors in Boston, things kept under wraps, “ produced and maintained segregated neighborhoods, as well as the policies regarding school siting, districting, and student transfers that produced and maintained segregated schools.” These are still felt today. So many schools reflect exactly their neighborhoods demographics. At BLS, our special entrance exam shelters us from this phenomenon (although not really because demographics can give you a better chance of being accepted into BLS based on your prior education), yet it still picks ‘the best of the best’.

To try and finish this up a bit faster after my rambling, I could not imagine going into the BPS system at this time. The violence and intensity was dehumanizing to POC. It must have been emotionally exhausting to be on edge at all times to be concerned for your safety. And although this is a bit superfluous, to be concerned about one issue for so long (a whole year!) is also mentally exhausting. This question made me think very hard about what I would do if I was in the same position as some of the children. Would I be an upstander?


I agree about going into BPS at that time. as a POC myself, I had the luxury of not experiencing a lot of discrimination and I can only imagine how I would have dealt with the impending stress of riots and fighting. I probably would be on edge all the time.

Avatar
Bakedfacecrepe
Posts: 22

Inevitability

Did the ends of desegregation justify the means in regards to busing? I think a more pressing question to ask is if desegregation even happened in Boston Public Schools. But to answer the first question anyway, I don’t think the ends justify the means, because really, the “ends” hasn’t really been reached in the past years. Not to downplay the noble goal of desegregation that the blacks have fought for decades and centuries, because I believe in their right to it, and it highlights our Boston’s pride and refusal to self reflect. Like we reviewed in class with the giant maps of Boston color coded basically by how wealthy each area was, where the wealthy were, there were large numbers of white families, large homes and cleaner streets, and where the poor were, there large numbers of black families, increased crime rate and poor living conditions. The same goes for the quality of public schools.

While I believe busing was a very poor way of desegregating an entire city that has been split up in so long, I can’t deny it was an attempt made, as opposed to no action. As the article by Matthew Delmont points out, the busing incident was used by white families to have a reason to preserve their status and express racism without explicitly stating it. Of course, not all white families felt that way; some were really worried about the safety of their children in an unknown territory and perhaps harbored unintentionally racist sentiments. To quote from Shelly: “I feel like that even though bussing should have not been the only answer, realistically, it was the only way for the schools to be desegregated. Nobody wanted to leave their schools, and if the people in charge of the money distribution were to give more money to the poorer schools, this would improve the quality of education in these schools, but it still would not end the segregation in Boston. The bussing forced people to go to these places, and as a result schools now are more racially balanced. Though Judge Garrity’s decision was problematic, it was the only way for this to happen.” While I would like to disagree about the decision being the only way for desegregation to happen, I can definitely see Shelly’s point about busing being a realistic attempt made given the time.

For years, the education system hadn’t given a darn about the state of schools, the quality of resources and funding provided for the good and poor schools. It wasn’t until leaders, activists like Ruth Batson, what a woman, it’s a shame she hadn’t been mentioned once until I read the articles, who decided to take measures into their hands to see to it that their children receive the best. When a large force of black parents filed complaints to the school board and to the court, it was only then that a decision was being made, and the blacks firmly insisted that change happen immediately. Immediately it sort of happened, what with Judge Garrity’s decision being constructed on short notice and him executing it just before school started in September. In this case, if given time to plan it out, the busing plan probably would not have seemed so sudden or rushed to imperfection, but black parents could not wait for action, and who knows what opposers would do in response to the news of inevitable busing? So I think given the pressure exerted onto authority and the education system to change, Judge Garrity’s busing decision was needed, but it ended up hurting everyone. It didn’t make the white people happy, much less the black people.

And while busing didn’t make anyone happy, it did bring some “good” effects with it, if you can call it that. To many white families, busing at the time seemed like a threat to themselves, their children and to their comfort zone. The resulting animosity toward the efforts to bus black students to white schools and vice versa highlighted Boston’s most ugliest underside that no one would have acknowledged. The racism, the doubt, the fear and refusal to accept someone different from them. If only neighborhoods and schools weren’t so separated by economic status and race, integration would be smoother. Perhaps Judge Garrity should’ve adopted underhill44’s integrated public building plan to have friendships grow and get students of all races to know each other.

Just from watching Eyes on the Prize, I bet going to school in 1974-1975 was terrifying – actually that’s a no brainer, anyone would be! I’ve lived in Boston all my life, I’ve gone to school by buses with the same kids everyday, and I’ve never had to fear and duck from rocks chucked on the windows. It’s already bad enough that black students who rode the buses would get insulted, mocked, jeered, and even had the bird flipped in their face, but being stoned and physically abused crosses the line for me. Violence and casualties are the last things that anyone can take. And it’s not just the blacks suffering, I’m sure many white individuals suffered during this period for different reasons than news would say. I heard from my interviewee for the Oral History project that many white adults were eager to riot in mobs and attack. And the article by Farah Stockman on Junior’s betrayal by a white friend suggests that his friend might’ve been coerced to throw the cocktail to fit in. White youth were likely convinced to hurt their black neighbors and turn on each other if they agreed with busing or not. Truly tragic.

The busing period has passed, or so I’d like to hope, but surely some aspects of it persist today. I’m not sure if this is the right way to look at it, but I think the continued existence of segregated neighborhoods and large numbers of white students who pulled out from the public school system says a lot about the state of things today. Not to mention, this was mentioned in class about how busing is one of the highest expenses that the school committee has to pay, and over time, the costs are being cut down, so buses are probably less frequent compared to before. With the MBTA, older students would adapt to coming to school on their own, and as a student who was first introduced to this new way of commute since seventh grade, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this budget cut. Would it affect students in other schools? I don’t know, really.

Avatar
Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

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

Desegregation is vital, no matter what. Busing though was a terrible way to go about desegregating. But as long as there was segregation you can be assured of the fact that children of color did not have the same education opportunities as white children. Before the order children in Roxbury attended schools that were less than adequate conditions, receiving hardly any funding and therefor providing students with a poor education. Busing may have "desegregated" schools but it came at a much greater cost. There were better solutions than busing to fix the problems in the Boston Public Schools system. The first thing that should have been dealt with was the lack of funding and opportunities for kids attending school in predominantly non white neighborhoods. Then once the education gap was fixed it would have been time to actually integrate schools, but still not with busing. The system that should have been used instead is a random one where kids wouldn't necessarily need to go across Boston just to get a suitable education(I don't really have this part figured out, Im sure judges and the people in charge could have come up with something much better than busing and this if they actually had the interests of students in mind). All in all you can not entirely blame the busing order for the way people reacted to it, busing would have been a very different issue if the residents of South Boston had decided not to harass the minority children and instead kept their opposition peaceful. People tend to look at busing as a huge problem that was simply black and white. But thats not true, kids both benefited and were hurt by busing. It gave students from Roxbury a chance at a better education, but also put them in harms way. I can hardly imagine what it would have been like going to school in the environment of 1974-1975. Present day southie to me is somewhere foreign that I have no connection with, therefore hearing about the reaction of its residents to busing wasn't that shocking to me. But seeing it on video and reading some of the articles, brought to life what a completely different world it really was. What people in southie did to the kids who were bused to southie high was inexcusable and nobody should have to go through what those kids did. If it were the black parents and community members being violent towards white children, I am positive that people would have been killed by police and the harassment of the students would not have lasted nearly as long as it did. There were seemingly little to no consequences for the perpetrators of the crimes that took place during busing, and I certainly wouldn't want to live in an environment where this was a common practice. Schools are still incredibly segregated and neighborhoods are as well so despite all of the commotion and supposed effort put in by busing not much in Boston has really changed. Ok well thats not completely true, at least now white people aren't lining the streets and throwing bricks through the windows of buses at little kids right?
Avatar
MichaelAfton
Posts: 28

Originally posted by Spaceman on December 05, 2018 20:32

Busing is tough. For some reason, that is one of the few things I can say about busing, without feeling like a hypocrite. To say busing was, in the long run, good or bad, to me, just doesn’t make sense. Busing is a multifaceted issue. It’s an issue about race, pride, education, safety, and so much more. Did the ends justify the means? I mean, sort of. Schools were entirely segregated, and then they weren’t. So, I guess it’s job was done. But, most white people decided to leave BPS, or even the city entirely, so it kind of flip-flopped. Now, schools in Boston are 4% white. Clearly, desegregation wasn’t really achieved. Rather, white students and families fled, leaving tens of thousands of less people in BPS.


Today, any issue about BPS seems to be surrounded by a lot of vitriol, or a lot of polarization. I’m sure this is a result of busing. It really did split the city down the middle. Neighbors began turning on eachother, like the case of Robert Lewis Junior. His friends made up the crowd who firebombed his house. People who he had gone to camp with turned against him. The racial atmosphere before busing in Boston was not good, but busing seemed to add literal tons of fuel to that fire. People felt like they were being pushed by the government. So, in Southie, whites started throwing stones at black students, and expressing much more racist sentiments than at least what they would have said out loud before. Poor families were pitted against each other by a greater gubernatorial system.


So, the big question, did the ends justify the means? To me, no, not really. In effect, busing brought white and black kids from low performing neighborhood schools to other low performing neighborhood schools, white people got angry, and proceeded to just leave the system entirely. They fought, and then they left. Southie High was no Library of Alexandria. It had one of the highest rates of Welfare for students in the country, and was located in a neighborhood with 3 of the highest poverty rates for white people. Is this an excuse for the absolutely appalling actions of the residents of Southie? No, not at all. But, it provides some insight on to what was really going on.


Putting it like this makes so much sense to me. When you look at it as an outsider to the situation, it seems that this is more of a racial issue rather than an economic burden. I didn't really consider Southie's economic status at this time when writing my post, or over these past few days. Thank you for bringing up this very valid point. I do have one question, though. If Southie was facing a lot of economic issues, why did so many white kids go to private schools? In my eyes, private schools cost a lot more than what people from Southie could afford (since you said the neighborhood Southie High was in had the highest poverty rates for white people), so why did so many move to private schools?

Avatar
Torino
Posts: 35

Open letter to the City of Boston

A precursor to my post:


I tried to do a different format, I’m not sure if it worked but enjoy!


Torino.


Dear Boston,


Busing. Busing was one of your biggest mistakes and best decisions. Your faithful servant Judge Garrity made one of the most controversial decisions in Boston’s history. The only problem with his decision is that he didn’t know you like I do. He didn’t know your complex history, he didn’t know what to do, but with his limited knowledge of you he did the right thing. You have a rich history of racism and prejudice, you are the shining beacon of liberty for white people and the shining beacon of oppression, racism, and prejudice for everyone else. Your sister, New York, a shining beacon of diversity, she is the melting pot, and you’re just the fire under that pot. I often think that the Greek god Ares feeds off of the pain and suffering that you have inflicted upon all the minorities inside your bounds.

History rolled in on a yellow school bus, desegregation was your Achilles heel, however busing was your savior. If god had chosen a way to unite and divide you, he would have chosen busing. This decision united your black population and divided your white population. This was the only way for the city to heel from the decades of segregation that have been forced down your throat, there was no other solution, but your southie could have been better, been less resistant.

Your true nature was revealed with busing, we got to lift the rock and see the snakes crawling in your depths. Boston, you are rotten to the core, but rot can be removed, chipped off, or even ripped off with force. This busing crisis was the latter, ripping rot out of you by force. This removal made environments within your schools very toxic, I don’t think I could have been in your schools, education would have been very different, your schools were a lot worse than they are now. I think I could have handled the commute but I don’t think I could have handled the fights that would undoubtedly break out. I don’t know, a city must be broken apart to be reunited stronger, and that’s exactly what happened.

You were shaped by this busing crisis, desegregation was the perfect way to shake you up. However you weren’t shaken up enough, most of the things are very similar. Your diversity hides in the shadows, too afraid to show its head, I went ice skating this weekend, I saw a net of two minorities, this was not at all surprising because you hide everything away, you want to be a northern city but your not. You are so prejudice that shake up was not enough to stop you from pushing diversity to shadows which is what you do, and what you have always done best.


Thanks,

Torino.

Avatar
Creation-Myth
Posts: 18

Ad Perpetuo

Did the ends (desegregating the Boston public schools) justify the means (busing)?

The first thing that I noticed in addressing this question, is that there was no optimal or even permanent desegregation. I went to an all black school with one white kid in my graduating class. At BLS the acceptance and attendance rates in minority groups are so low that the black community is forced to become a tight knit and personal community. Today, prior to high school most enrollment is done by location. This is before parents are comfortable with children taking the MBTA or traveling long distances. These children are thus put into neighborhood schools and lo-and-behold, these neighborhoods still remain very segregated. It is a sort of de facto segregation, where the system of housing and construction forces certain economic classes to move around, and that class is often decided by money, which as we all know has a link towards race and ethnicity. That, I feel, goes without saying.

I do not believe that the intended means were met, therefore making busing an invalid and, in the end, and unsuccessful approach at desegregation. In theory, it could work, but in practice busing could never go well within a racially divided system.

Once high school begins, kids can take the MBTA and have the opportunity to go somewhere less segregated. Even so, the white BPS enrollment is staggeringly low, with minority groups taking the lead. Several writers have commented that whites have fled Boston. Instead, these wealthy (note: wealthy) white families simply moved into private schools, which are on there own a form of systematic segregation. The private schools are closed off from low-income students - who tend to be minority - and opens a loophole in busing. Public schools thus become a gathering space for minorities and middle class white students, while the private schools are gathering spaces for very wealthy white student's.

It is a system that allowed itself to be screwed over.

Was desegregation a worthy goal or not?

Shelly managed to say so eloquently what I was thinking, that without desegregation, “children would only ever see people of their own race. This is not right, since then when these children grow into adults, they will have problems with the other race due to this lack of contact with others when they were young”, thus perpetuating the racial issues seen across the US. Integrating schools means that not only will students have the ability to gain friendships with people who look like them, but also feel safe and natural branching out.

Having people who look like you plays a major role in your own self worth. It shows young minds that they are NORMAL, they are not strange, or odd, or out of place. They should not feel shame in their difference. Having mixed communities forces people to recognize their own worth, while also the worth of people who may be different. By forced interaction from the very start, we see people as human rather than in racial groups. Integration promotes the idea f egalitarian equality (to an extent) that being removed simply does not accomplish. We see other races through news stories and rumors that like don't hold solid reasoning, and thus form distorted views of people. These distorted ideas carry on into our daily lives: friend groups, job decisions, trusts, all of which are taught to a younger generation and thus the cycle is continued ad perpetuo.

Did change need to happen in the Boston Public Schools or were there other solutions to the remedy prescribed by Judge W. Arthur Garrity?

Change did need to happen, however the way Garrity went about it was heavily flawed. That isn't to say he did not try, he did. Like any plan I could propose, there are flaws.

Had busing been the only option, I hold a firm belief that students should have been moved either going into middle school and going into high school. These transition points are exactly when this are changing: new school, new people, new challenges. Having schools change mid-education is unfair, Transferring kids as sophomores, juniors, and seniors creates an even deeper social disadvantage for kids who are already being stoned. Entering a class new like everyone else leaves less room for animosity. It also leaves time for people to get used to the idea, rather than desegregation being head on and rushed, resulting in severe pushback.

This idea is not totally unfounded. Julie Hanigan wrote in her essay that in her school the two races get along. They had traversed the hell that is high school together, entered together, and grew as a class. The fight was not black against white, but student against a high school system that, if it was anything like today's’, is designed to screw kids over.


Nevertheless, busing was not the only option. It was the most realistic, but it was not the only one. The Whitey Bulgar article brought up a good point that much of Southie was still poor white families, and the desegregation created a divide between two poor communities. Neither side greatly benefited, and so instead of busing, reallocating funds was a possibility. Another is promoting after-school programs, city wide sports teams, STEM competitions that required black and white enrollment. There are ways to slowly incorporate the idea of segregation that 1) does not screw over an entire generation and 2) prevents the massive backlash caused by fear and mistreatment. Tearing kids from their schools was not the right thing to do, and in a way the riots were justified. The violence of the riots was not. That leads me into the next question...

Can you imagine going to school in the environment of 1974-1975? What would have been tolerable? What would have been intolerable?

underhill44 brings up an interesting point, saying “How do you study when you’re petrified?” which is unfortunately accurate in today's school system. I can’t imagine having to study in such an environment, where the threat of survival is constantly looming. You know that your peers are glaring at you, that you are not welcome,and yet at the same time a student is expected to function and perform properly, adaquetly. It just isn't possible. Even today with school shootings as an ever-present reality, it is hard to focus and not jump at every sound. Unfortunately our school system remains a political aid and means for public opinion to be vocalized. During busing, schools reflected the views of society, and student's suffered for it. Education was put second to retaining power and human rights.

Were parents justified in removing their children? Yes, yes they were, 100%. The inconsistency, uncertainty and fear that spread like wildfire spurred on violence and hatred which clouded the minds of Bostonians, leading into a violent stupor which we still have not fully recovered from.

Desegregation is not over. It may never be. There are deep-rooted systematic issues that enforced segregation, and changing those laws may prove impossible without once again screwing over an entire generation.


Avatar
Miss Day
Posts: 26

well crap

Hey everyone.

I just wrote a super long response to these questions and when I went to click post all of it got deleted because I timed out of my session. So rather than spend the next 4 hours trying to recreate everything here's just the TL;DR version


Busing was not the correct way to desegregate the schools but rather proved to be a statement about segregation within Boston and served to upend the brewing hatred within the city.

It was a worthy goal as equal education is the most influential aspect of creating an equal, just, and kind future for everyone.

There were most definitely methods by which people could have opposed Judge Garrity in a positive and constructive manner, and in fact needed to. His court ruling itself was irresponsible in nature,. Although he had incredibly noble intentions the implementation essentially ensured that nothing would be solved and everything would be made worse.

After hearing the stories of individuals like Junior it would be increadibly difficult for me to imagine myself living at the time. It all sounds like a horrible night mare. I know I would do my very best to attend school for as long as I could but just the constant media coverage, protests, violence, and chaos could have been too much for me.

To name a few, the clear bush beating that is seen when this topic is brought up to city officials or to most citizens of Boston, as well as the treatment of schools like the O'bryant, which itself was essentially uprooted from its original location of where BLA is now into its current, Roxbury location and its transformation to the feeder school for MIT and prominent tech school, to the most underfunded and distressed exam school in the system.



dang I despise this platform so much now after that happened, wrote for so long but oh well, I guess I'll take and "L" as the kids say for not copying my work before posting it :/

Avatar
Miss Day
Posts: 26

Originally posted by Spaceman on December 05, 2018 20:32



I think that one of the most visible effects is the fact that Boston schools are now only 14% white. They went from being about 60% white, to 24% white, to just 14%. A lot of people fled Boston after busing, and even more white people just pulled their kids from the system. And, I mean, the fact that busing is basically Boston’s biggest education dispense is another one. The BPS system is so affected by busing, even 40 something years later, that it’s almost impossible to grow up in the city and not see something that has immediate ties to busing.

incredibly important point you raise here, and a common theme throughout most of the interviews with parents that were anti-busing. This idea that they had to flee the public education system to keep their kids safe is just the most preposterous idea that created the disparity we see today. It seems almost like human nature to flee from any situation you don't like rather than staying and trying to create a meaningful diologue to resolve issues and fix what we already have as a society instead of just discarding it.

Avatar
underthesea
Posts: 27

How do I fit all my thoughts into one post?

The history of busing in Boston is a rich and complex one, that we could spend years studying. I want to acknowledge that our study of it has only scratched the surface, and thus any commentary I have is coming from a place of limited education on the issue.

The ends, as mentioned by someone else, aren’t achieved yet. Students around the city attend segregated schools with limited and inequitable resources in 2018. The Build BPS campaign is a demonstration of the willingness to ignore the needs of minority students and to restrict access equitable education. The Advanced Work Program, in which many BLS students participated, is majority white, with testing and design that favors white students. Despite the fact that the BPS is segregated, inequitable, and struggling to this day, I must recognize that in the early 1970s, something had to be done, and what Judge Garrity did was the only way to achieve quick and major change. Black parents and leaders in Boston had been organizing for an end to segregated school systems for a long time, and nothing was working. Judge Garrity did the right thing in exercising the power of the judiciary to uphold the rights of citizens.

Although busing ripped communities apart, and there was extreme violence, in that moment, it was the only foreseeable solution. Hindsight is always 20/20. We can see now how that action had some negative consequences, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was necessary in the moment.

In my interaction with this period of Boston’s history, I have particularly interested in Ruth Batson. She was a hero in many ways, someone who, in the words of one of the articles “stood up to the political establishment in Boston, and won” (something like that at least). A member of the NAACP, she wanted the best for black students, and was incredibly brave. But she seemed to be more complex than I originally thought. In one of the articles, she was quoted as saying that she didn’t want to interact with the bad whites in South Boston - she wanted the best that white people had to offer, those in Newton and Brookline. She was supportive of METCO. I thought this was particularly interesting. Although it makes sense that she would be holding some hostility towards the people of South Boston who were violently and vehemently resisting integration, this statement seemed to ignore the fact that white people in the suburbs, would be unwilling to do it as well. They also had internalized white supremacy, and many would be racist. This tendency to see South Boston whites as ‘worse’ than others was particularly fascinating to me. It tied in to Michael Patrick MacDonald’s article, which I found very thought - provoking. He painted the conflict as a much more class-oriented one. Although my first reaction to this is to cringe, because it is often a strategy used by white people to deflect issues of racism, his argument had some very valid claims. The people of South Boston were overwhelmingly poor, and being failed by the system in many cases, just like the people of Roxbury. Could politicians not see this glaring fact, or did they choose to ignore it? What would have been the result of busing into a more affluent white district? Would people have reacted even more negatively, or perhaps would their frustration be dampened by their comfort with their current situation?

It feels really hard to think about other possible solutions to school segregation and inequity without thinking about how closely the school system is linked to other systems. The system of white supremacy is held intact by the interaction of many systems - housing, health care, prison, etc. Redlining undoubtedly played a role in the segregation of the public schools. But forcing everyone to move homes definitely couldn’t have been a solution. It’s scary to think about how deeply connected everything is,, and bringing it back to now, how difficult it is to remedy the current problems in the BPS system given its history and complexity.

I feel like I could write about and learn about and think about this forever. I can’t imagine going to school during this time. Hearing the essays from the sixth graders in which one of them was describing the ordinary and fun activities that a 12 year-old would be thinking about, like going roller skating, and going to the movies, made me think about the strength and resilience of all the black students then and now. They are fighting a system that is built to work against them, trying to find joy in the simple things. The brave black students who rode into South Boston High were incredibly brave. And the white upstanders were brave too. Even when it feels depressing to think about how entrenched we are in these horrible systems, it provides some comfort to know that there have always been and will always be brave people fighting for what is right.

Avatar
underthesea
Posts: 27

Originally posted by Miss Day on December 05, 2018 22:50

Originally posted by Spaceman on December 05, 2018 20:32



I think that one of the most visible effects is the fact that Boston schools are now only 14% white. They went from being about 60% white, to 24% white, to just 14%. A lot of people fled Boston after busing, and even more white people just pulled their kids from the system. And, I mean, the fact that busing is basically Boston’s biggest education dispense is another one. The BPS system is so affected by busing, even 40 something years later, that it’s almost impossible to grow up in the city and not see something that has immediate ties to busing.

incredibly important point you raise here, and a common theme throughout most of the interviews with parents that were anti-busing. This idea that they had to flee the public education system to keep their kids safe is just the most preposterous idea that created the disparity we see today. It seems almost like human nature to flee from any situation you don't like rather than staying and trying to create a meaningful diologue to resolve issues and fix what we already have as a society instead of just discarding it.

Yes. THe dynamic of white flight is a very important one that can be in some ways traced to busing. One thing that also startled me, though, was a statistic that 45% of students enrolled in charter, parochial, and private schools in Boston are students of color. Thus, many students of color over the years have also felt compelled to leave the school system. I think that the current debate about charter schools becomes much more complex when paired with the context of busing. Many parents feel that charter schools are the only option for their kid becuase they aren't receiving a good education in the Boston Public Schools System. Thus, people claim that we must fund more charter schools. It poses the same question. Do we focus our funds on improving BPS, which takes years and sacrifices the education of some children, or do we offer funding to these third-party schools that have mixed outcomes, high disciplinary rates, and few accommodations for special needs or ELL? I am anti-charter schools. But the question is hard. And it is an echo of the one that parents and legislators were asking themselves in the age of busing? Here and slowly or outside the system and quick?


It's also interesting that as Boston is being gentrified and many families of color are being forced out. THe oppostie of white flight seems to be happening now. What will this mean for our schools?

Avatar
Orange Juice
Posts: 23

Busing and Desegregation

Upon first hearing the term "busing," I had thought that it was something that greatly helped desegregation. However, after reading the true stories of people who partook in busing, the idea of busing became foggy. According to many white families, it did not make sense for their children to be sent miles away to a school in a neighborhood foreign to them. This makes logical sense. Black families, too, were worried that their children would be targeted for their skin color. It is reasonable for families to choose the safety of their kids before racial balance. Desegregation might not have justified busing, as the process was confusing and dangerous for all parties involved, the students, parents, principles, police and bus drivers, but I can not think of a different solution for desegregating schools at the time. Discussing the issue to white and black families throughout different neighborhoods seemed ineffective as no one truly saw the benefit of busing white and black kids to schools in different parts of Boston. Desegregation using busing might not have went as smoothly as planned, which was to be expected, this was definitely a worthy goal that took a first step in mixing the diversity of schools. I can imagine going to a school in the environment of 1974-1975 as I have personally experienced being the only student of my race in the entire school. In addition, a lot of students attending BLS have experienced some sort of diversity so it would be easier for this generation to adapt to the environment forty years ago. With this being said, violence would definitely still be intolerable. The most visible effect of desegregation since then would be the statistics of who is attending school in Boston. Only 14% of the entirety of students in the Boston school system attend school. That is a 10% drop from 1988. History proves to be intertwined and desegregation had to have happen in order for our schools now, at least a lot of them, to be diverse.

Avatar
Orange Juice
Posts: 23

Originally posted by Torino on December 05, 2018 22:33

A precursor to my post:


I tried to do a different format, I’m not sure if it worked but enjoy!


Torino.


Dear Boston,


Busing. Busing was one of your biggest mistakes and best decisions. Your faithful servant Judge Garrity made one of the most controversial decisions in Boston’s history. The only problem with his decision is that he didn’t know you like I do. He didn’t know your complex history, he didn’t know what to do, but with his limited knowledge of you he did the right thing. You have a rich history of racism and prejudice, you are the shining beacon of liberty for white people and the shining beacon of oppression, racism, and prejudice for everyone else. Your sister, New York, a shining beacon of diversity, she is the melting pot, and you’re just the fire under that pot. I often think that the Greek god Ares feeds off of the pain and suffering that you have inflicted upon all the minorities inside your bounds.

History rolled in on a yellow school bus, desegregation was your Achilles heel, however busing was your savior. If god had chosen a way to unite and divide you, he would have chosen busing. This decision united your black population and divided your white population. This was the only way for the city to heel from the decades of segregation that have been forced down your throat, there was no other solution, but your southie could have been better, been less resistant.

Your true nature was revealed with busing, we got to lift the rock and see the snakes crawling in your depths. Boston, you are rotten to the core, but rot can be removed, chipped off, or even ripped off with force. This busing crisis was the latter, ripping rot out of you by force. This removal made environments within your schools very toxic, I don’t think I could have been in your schools, education would have been very different, your schools were a lot worse than they are now. I think I could have handled the commute but I don’t think I could have handled the fights that would undoubtedly break out. I don’t know, a city must be broken apart to be reunited stronger, and that’s exactly what happened.

You were shaped by this busing crisis, desegregation was the perfect way to shake you up. However you weren’t shaken up enough, most of the things are very similar. Your diversity hides in the shadows, too afraid to show its head, I went ice skating this weekend, I saw a net of two minorities, this was not at all surprising because you hide everything away, you want to be a northern city but your not. You are so prejudice that shake up was not enough to stop you from pushing diversity to shadows which is what you do, and what you have always done best.


Thanks,

Torino.

Very unique and well written post, Torino. I like the direct dialogue to the readers as Boston as it makes it more personal. I agree that desegregation had to have happened and that diversity is still scarce in the modern time. Boston still has much more room to grow, as other states and countries as well.

Avatar
C1152GS
Posts: 24

Desegregation??

Ruth Batson recalls, “The teachers were permanent. We’d see wonderful materials. When we’d go to our schools, we would see overcrowded classrooms, children sitting out in the corridors, and so forth. And so, then we decided that where there were a large number of white students, that’s where the care went. That’s where the books went. That’s where the money went.”This was an injustice to black students in Boston who equally deserved an education. Desegregation was important because going to inferior schools also affect job prospects and ultimately social mobility. By sending blacks to do underperforming and underfunded schools, it leads and reinforced a cycle of poverty, crime, and poor literacy and numeracy skills all of which limit job chances. All students regardless of skin color deserve basic and fair education, thus, desegregation was a means to ratify those injustices. Busing was the sensible answer to years of de jure federal segregation of neighborhoods in the city of Boston. The order by Judge Garrity caused a quicker integration than the untimely and non-complaint response by the BSC.

However, Busing was not well implemented, and the city officials lacked unity in their decision. The city of Boston should've been more complaint, and provided more information to families because it would have been extremely beneficial. The integration of Boston’s two poorest neighborhoods shows the lack of understanding of the makeup and struggles that these neighborhoods faced. Michael Patrick MacDonald brings up an interesting point, “Clearly, there are white people and there are not-quite-white people. In my neighborhood, we always knew there were two Southies—and that while some people in Southie “knew people,” most of us had absolutely no connection to power. I knew the term “white n*****” applied to “project rats” like me and my neighbors, the very people who populated an already decrepit South Boston High School.” This clearly shows that policymakers at the time they were unaware of the socio-economic landscape. This statement by MPM balances the stances because it shows that the outcome of busing was not simply a race issue but also a class issue. Judge Garrity lived in Wellesley and was not familiar with the two neighborhoods he was trying to integrate. The outcome of busing was fear, violence, and disturbing protests. Many of these black students went to school scared and afraid of what could happen. Schools are supposed to be a haven and well adapted and conditioned for optimal learning the outcome of busing did not provide that security neither for white nor black students.

In the end, Boston’s white student population decided to attend parochial schools or dropped out. Michael Patrick MacDonald says, “And who ran the streets? In Southie’s three large housing projects where he reigned supreme, busing gave Whitey a large population of poor, unemployed teenage dropouts, a lucrative market for the drugs he brought in, and a source of recruitment for all the Southie-based criminal enterprises that brought Whitey a cut...and our unemployed busing dropouts were most readily swept up into criminal activity, whether bank robberies or truck hijackings, most of which also lined Whitey’s pockets.” I think MPM statement is significant because it shows the ramifications of busing for a poor and already struggling Irish community.

The segregation of housing and Boston’s modified busing proves that there is a slow but steady reversal the neighborhood schools. The city of Boston has less white students and diversity is shrinking in many of its schools. The buses getting students to school are delayed, or they never show up.

One of the recurring themes in the letter was uncertainty fear and confusion about the whole busing situation from both black and white students. Many of the students were scared and confused about a sudden change of the school they thought they were going. Although, busing or a solution to the racially imbalanced school was taking too long Judge Garrity’s hastened decision was not well received. Another thing I noticed was how many of these students were afraid because they did not know who they’d be friends with and had a stereotype about what black students were like. Their lack of exposure is definitely cause. For these very reasons I think it would’ve been difficult for me to go to school in 1974-1975. Like these students, I would’ve been scared and confused. I would not have been able to tolerate racial slurs, violence, and tensions.

posts 16 - 30 of 45