Forced Busing's Cheerleaders
By: John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Under the righteous-sounding banners of “equal opportunity,” “inclusion,” and “diversity,” the political Left embraces racial discrimination as legitimate public policy -- so long as the discrimination is practiced on behalf of the minorities that the Left axiomatically considers victims of an irredeemably oppressive America.
Thus the Left reacted apoplectically to last Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling that public school systems may not achieve or preserve racial integration through measures that take explicit account of students’ racial backgrounds. Specifically, the Court’s split decision invalidated programs in Seattle and Louisville (Kentucky) that sought to maintain “diversity” in local schools by factoring race into decisions about which students could be admitted to any particular school, or which students could be allowed to transfer from one school to another. Both the Seattle and Louisville programs were representative of similar plans in hundreds of other school districts nationwide.
The bottom line is this: Under these programs, parents were not free to send their children to the schools of their choice. Instead they were obliged to abide by the quotas preordained by bureaucrats who had never once met any of the children whose educational lives they sought to micromanage. Consider how America’s self-anointed “liberals” -- a term rooted in the precept that the defense of individual liberty ought to rank as a free society’s highest ideal -- characterized the Court’s decision:
According to Senator Hillary Clinton, the decision has “turned the clock back” on the history of hard-won gains in the realm of civil rights; it is “a setback for all of us who are on the long march toward racial equality and the building of a stronger more unified America”; and it demonstrates the John Roberts-led Supreme Court’s “willingness to erode core constitutional guarantees.” “At a time when our nation’s schools are increasingly re-segregating,” Mrs. Clinton pontificates, “we should be championing local efforts to pursue integration and reduce racial inequities in schools.”
In Senator Barack Obama’s calculus, the Court’s “wrong-headed” ruling is “but the latest in a string of decisions by this conservative bloc of Justices that turn back the clock on decades of advancement and progress in the struggle for equality.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reports that she is “extremely disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s “retreat from our nation’s commitment to opportunity and equality in our schools and a retreat from the fundamental values of our country.”
Jesse Jackson calls the decision “a major step backward in achieving racial inclusion and an even playing field for all Americans.” “The conservative right-wing has always disagreed with federal intervention to secure racial justice for all Americans,” Jackson adds. “They continue to chip away at the nation’s legal precedents that struck down Jim Crow segregation.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd laments that “the shame of re-segregation in our country has been occurring for years.”
Senator Joe Biden of Delaware complains that conservative judicial appointees “have turned the [Supreme] Court upside down.”
Ted Kennedy impugns the Justices for “their votes to block voluntary efforts to achieve racial integration in public schools.”
Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings calls the ruling “a major setback for this nation’s movement toward diversity.”
The ACLU whimpers that civil liberties have taken “a beating,” and the organization’s National Legal Director asserts that “[t]he Roberts Court has moved with lightning speed to roll back fundamental rights.”
Incredible though it may seem, self-identified “liberals” and “progressives” are opposed to the reintroduction of freedom in school choice, viewing the Supreme Court’s defense of such freedom as nothing less than an assault on liberty, opportunity, equality, integration, and racial justice.
Many critics of the Court’s decision contend that the current ruling undoes the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling of 1954.
As NAACP National Board Chairman Julian Bond puts it: “At a time when school segregation is increasing, in the half-century since the Brown decision, a plurality of the current Court has condemned minority children to a back seat in the race for life’s chances.”
“As President,” Hillary Clinton pledges, “I will fight to restore Brown’s promise and create an education system where all children have an equal chance to learn and excel together.”
According to Congressional Black Caucus Chair Carolyn Kilpatrick, “this heinous ruling not only topples more than half a century of progress achieved under the [Brown] decision, it encourages separation and segregation in private industry and government as well as in education.”
But are these charges true? What exactly did the 1954 Brown decision say? Simply put, the Brown case addressed the issue of mandatory racial segregation in America’s public schools, an issue which had become an international embarrassment for the United States. The case centered around a black third-grader named Linda Brown who had been denied admission to an all-white school located just a few blocks from her home in Topeka, Kansas, and was forced instead to take a bus to an all-black school in a more distant neighborhood. Because millions of other blacks nationwide faced the same dilemma, her case had far-reaching, monumental implications.
Miss Brown’s father successfully sued the Topeka Board of Education on grounds that, contrary to a previous Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), segregated schools were separate but not equal and thus failed to fulfill the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the laws. On May 17, 1954, the Court handed down a 9-0 decision which stated unequivocally: “Where a State has undertaken to provide an opportunity for an education in its public schools, such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”
In other words, Brown overturned the racist notion that it was permissible to use race as the basis for denying students the right to attend the schools they preferred. Like the 1964 Civil Rights Act that would become law ten years later, Brown was intended to remove barriers to integration by outlawing de jure segregation, but it issued no mandate for measures (like busing or racial quotas) to forcibly integrate America’s schools or workplaces. Leftists -- or “progressives” and “liberals,” as they like to call themselves -- now wish to “turn back the clock” in their own way, to a time of assigning students to schools on the basis of race was common practice. Is that not the very definition of “reactionary” -- the term with which “liberals” routinely smear modern-day conservatives who oppose race-based double standards?
Today’s “liberals,” of course, drape their arguments in the gaudy garments of noble intentions. Their particular brand of double standards, they assure us, do not constitute racism at all, but rather a pure-hearted effort to protect the vulnerable. Without forced integration, they warn, black students who attend all-black or mostly black schools will be consigned to an inferior educational environment. The psychological and educational benefits inherent in integration, we are told, are compelling justifications for instituting such policies.
The high-profile disciples of this view are many. Hillary Clinton, for instance, tells us that “all students benefit from racially diverse classrooms.” “Recent evidence shows that integrated schools promote minority academic achievement and can help close the achievement gap,” she cheerfully elaborates.
Barack Obama concurs that “a racially diverse learning environment has a profoundly positive educational impact on all students,” and thus he remains “devoted to working toward this goal.”
According to Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, “Since the Brown decision, increased integration of schools has benefited students of all backgrounds. Research shows that a diverse learning environment improves the problem solving and communication skills of all students, which better prepares our nation to succeed in the global economy.”
Notwithstanding the optimism that resonates from these foregoing assertions, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, and Mr. Cummings are merely three empty-headed know-nothings with regard to this topic. As politicians are wont to do, they have perfected the art of using self-serving rhetoric and elaborate exhibitions of moral preening as substitutes for actual facts. That way, they can dazzle the masses without actually having to cultivate even the barest shred of knowledge about the subjects of their sermons. And who can blame them? Shooting one’s mouth off from brightly lit podiums situated in front of television cameras and microphones offers self-absorbed egomaniacs a far greater psychic reward than the painstaking work of private study and pursuit of truth.
One of the great scholars of our time, Thomas Sowell, who has actually devoted his professional life to intellectual rigor, candidly explains that the “‘compelling’ benefits of ‘diversity’ are “as invisible as the proverbial emperor’s new clothes”; that “[n]ot only is there no hard evidence that mixing and matching black and white kids in school produces either educational or social benefits, there have been a number of studies of all-black schools whose educational performances equal or exceed the national average”; that “[s]ome black students -- in fact, whole schools of them -- have performed dramatically better than other black students and exceeded the norms in white schools,” and that this phenomenon dates back as far as the late 19th century; that black students who have been bussed into white schools have seen no discernible rise in their standardized test scores -- “not even after decades of bussing”; and that “[n]ot only is there no hard evidence” for the dogma “that there needs to be a ‘critical mass’ of black students in a given school or college in order for them to perform up to standard,” but that “such hard evidence as there is points in the opposite direction. Bright black kids have benefited from being in classes with other bright kids, regardless of the other kids’ color.”
But stating mundane truths like these does not win anyone points for being a champion of the underdog, thus we will never hear them flowing from the tongues of leftists who call themselves “liberals.” Leftist dogma has a long tradition of turning a deaf ear to “inconvenient truths,” since convenient fictions are so much more useful to the cause of political prostitution.
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