“A contentious conversation over busing as a tool to desegregate schools began last week during the first debates of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season and has continued onto the campaign trail this week. That debate has also reignited the most resilient and pernicious myths about busing and school desegregation, myths that continue to thwart this country’s efforts to fully achieve the goal of school desegregation. That busing has long been presented as an independent evil worthy of bipartisan resistance in both white and black communities represents the triumph of a false narrative packaged to excuse one of the ugliest and most destabilizing realities of American society: the extent to which raw racial prejudice and the protection of white supremacy have divided the nation since its founding through today.
It is critical that this renewed contemporary debate deal forthrightly with the hard truths about segregated schools in America. That means confronting the ubiquitous, government-driven residential segregation that forcibly divided communities on the basis of race in virtually every U.S. city and town through much of the 20th century, and which remains a defining characteristic of our nation today. The history of how we became a nation separated geographically by race has been conveniently forgotten. It is this history that made busing essential to the desegregation of our schools.”
Read the full op-ed here.