Busing: Constructive or divisive? — with Nathan Glazer (1976) | ARCHIVES
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Busing: Constructive or divisive? — with Nathan Glazer (1976) | ARCHIVES

Announcer: From the nation’s capital, the
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research presents “Public Policy Forums,”
a series of programs featuring the nation’s top authorities presenting their differing
views on the vital issues which confront us. Today’s topic “Busing, constructive or divisive?” Peter: Over the years, the word busing has
come to stand for much that is disturbing to American communities. In some areas, court-ordered
school busing, which began as a well-meaning method of desegregating schools has turned
sour. Both blacks and whites in many communities now feel that busing is not the answer. But
what is? Are there viable alternatives to busing, which would desegregate classrooms?
What has busing done to the quality of education? Has busing, as its inventors had hope, actually
broken down race barriers? Welcome to another roundtable discussion presented by AEI, The
American Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization.
Our topic for discussion is “Busing, Constructive or Divisive.” Four experts in the field will grapple with
that subject. Nathan Glazer, professor of education and sociology at Harvard University.
He has written extensively about ethnic groups and social problems in America. Robert L.
Green, Dean of the College of Urban Development, Michigan State University. Dean Green is an
expert on public school desegregation. He is the chief consultant on education to the
staff of the NAACP. Charles Morgan Jr., National Legislative Director, American Civil Liberties
Union. Mr. Morgan, an attorney, has been an activist in civil rights and civil liberties
cases for many years. Orlando Patterson, Professor of Sociology, Harvard University. Professor
Patterson holds a doctorate in sociology from the London School of Economics. He has authored
many books and articles on black history. Moderating our discussion will be Virginia
Trotter, Assistant Secretary for Education at the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare. Dr. Trotter spent nearly 25 years on the faculty of the University of Nebraska,
rising to the position of Vice-Chancellor. Now, here is Dr. Trotter. Dr. Trotter: Thank you, Peter Hackes. Welcome
to another program in the series of Public Policy Forum presented by the American Enterprise
Institute. We are pleased you could join us for what we expect to be an informative and
provocative discussion of controversial public policy issue that is school busing. The arguments
surrounding this topic has not arisen because of any dangers or difficulties caused by best
transportation per se in terms of the students. It has often arisen and does arise because
of what busing represents, and that is the desegregation of the public schools by forces
beyond the direct control of parents. The conflict between the obligation of the court
to eliminate segregation and the desires of the parents to control the institutions and
the social forces affecting their children is a topic of our discussion here today. To illuminate the questions before our panel,
is busing constructive or is it divisive? Let us first turn to Robert L. Green. Dr.
Green, I’d like to know is busing productive or counterproductive in terms of educational
quality? Dr. Green: I think there’s a body of data
to support the point of view that busing can be productive and supportive of a high degree
of educational quality. I think also we should be very clear and point out that although
20 million American children are bused annually, a very small minority, less than 4%, are bused
for the purposes of racial integration. So I think we should make that clear. But in
the instances, in cases in which there has been school desegregation, in which busing
has been a mechanism to facilitate that process, there’s a body of data to support the point
of view that when parents do not interfere and community groups are not organized who
are opposed to the integration of schools with busing as a factor in mind, that school
children, given the opportunity to learn, to grow and develop together do so with a
very minimum of conflict. Dr. Trotter: What do you think of that, Dr.
Glazer? Dr. Glazer: And I wouldn’t disagree with Dr.
Green, but I would to this extent that I think busing, a term which I find as unpleasant
as he does, so what I have in mind when I talk about busing is not busing, which is
obviously unobjectionable but involuntary assignment of students by schools on the basis
of race. This is what I mean, and this is what I object to. I think, on the whole, it’s
been irrelevant to issues of education. It’s neither facilitated as such, nor made it more
difficult. It’s been dependent on all sorts of other circumstances. It has not been instituted
to improve education and one wouldn’t expect it to. It’s been instituted for other reasons,
which I suppose we’ll get into. And I think in many circumstances, it’s been sufficiently
disruptive, combined with other forces to say, “Well, it certainly hasn’t been a good
idea.” Dr. Trotter: Now, Mr. Morgan, is there a difference
between the North and the South in terms of the appropriateness of busing as a means of
desegregation? Mr. Morgan: I think there is. I don’t think
there’s a southern, or white, or black who all during the years of the civil rights movement
didn’t think. Justice George Wallace said that once it got to South Boston and the souths
of the north, the white liberals would retreat. Dr. Trotter: Dr. Patterson, to what extent
do you think the blacks have benefited from school busing? Dr. Patterson: Well, the problem here is benefits
in what respect? I think part of the confusion lies in the fact that there’s little agreement
concerning what the exact goals of busing should be. To some extent, most people are
concerned with the direct educational benefits. Increasingly, however, people are asking,
even assuming that there are educational gains. It seems to me, too, that one has to consider
the benefits in social terms. One could make a good case for busing as a means of increasing
the level of communication between the races in United States. As someone who is a non-American,
I find it really quite extraordinary that the races, after being together for several
centuries in this country, there should be such awkwardness even on the public level
in terms of racial interaction. So, there are different kinds of benefits, and quite
often these benefits conflict, contradict with each other and one has to be clear which
one you have in mind and which you consider the most important. Dr. Trotter: Do we have… Mr. Morgan: Let me add. In a society where
blacks, unlike Jews and other ethnic groups, you know, with respect to Professor Glazer’s
experience, came to this country as slaves, were subjugated as slaves, were made the subject
of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments which were not written even though I’ve used them
for the rights of women and others, which were written solely for the rights of blacks
as an affirmative mandate on government to correct racial inequality and its results.
Now, I pose that because you’ve raised, you know, certain questions about blacks and whites
don’t interact and that sort of thing. Does that not take, out of the context of ethnic
minorities and ethnic group thinking, the whole problem of blacks in America, and is
any of the rhetoric we hear with respect to busing that compares the plight of the Jews,
or the Polish, or the Italian-Americans, does it apply to blacks at all? Dr. Green: I think the other critical point
to in response to Professor Glazer, much of the desegregation and litigation nationally
has had as its focus the improvement of educational quality. And as a part of that, strategies
related to remedy have been sought. And in order to bring young people together for the
purposes of racial integration in order to improve quality, namely, one in terms of achievement,
academic achievement, and secondly in terms of communication and the breaking down of
racial attitudes that negatively impact on how young people view each other very early
in life and in later life, there has been a very specific focus. And busing simply is
only a strategy to bring that process about. And I think the critics of busing should come
up with an alternative. And I’ve discovered that those who are opposed to utilizing busing
as a strategy to desegregate American schools have brought forth no other strategy. Terms
such as involuntary assignment, terms such as busing only become prominent in the minds
of Americans when race and social class is raised. So I think somewhere along the discussion
we need to focus upon race, race bias, and social class bias too. Dr. Glazer: I’m glad you added the social
class issue… Dr. Green: The social class bias as we see
it in Boston, until the issues are honestly addressed, then we will focus on matters that
arerelatively unimportant. And we can’t ignore that busing in America is widely accepted,
widely endorsed, widely approved. And in my State of Michigan, we endorse and support
busing to the tune of millions, but very little is done for the purposes of racial integration. Dr. Glazer: Well, I think we will address
those questions. But I wanted to take up just briefly Mr. Morgan’s point about the special
position of blacks, which I fully agree with, I mean as you put it. However, how do you
deal with the following problem, that once you hit the North or the West, where you have
very large minorities aside from black, no order it seems can limit itself to blacks,
no order can say this happens to be a group with a special legal status in the United
States, the status of having been slaves and having had laws addressed against it, and
that’s all they’re concerned with. In other words, we are really dealing, to
my mind, with a spreading plague, in which ethnic and racial categorization is more and
more fixed on people through governmental action, through the action of courts. Now,
admittedly, this is not the reason why South Boston is up in arms. I don’t believe that
they are concerned about theoretical constitutional issue. And I would accept that. I must say
I am. I am concerned about a nation which more and more brings into its law ethnic and
racial category for public action. I thought we got rid of that in ’64, and I would have
hoped to live with it. But admittedly, there is a second issue that we have to get to that
Dr. Green is raising. Well, I mean, if that’s not the reason people are up in arms, what
are the reasons and the race and social class issue? Mr. Morgan: Let me add. Let me go to that
just a moment. We talk about busing, I think what you’re referring to now is the use of
racial statistics identification, those kinds of group identifications or individual identifications
in our society by government. Am I correct? Dr. Glazer: Yeah. Mr.. Morgan: When we began in 1879 or 1880
to strike down statutes which excluded blacks from juries, the Supreme Court said those
statutes are no good. Immediately, white public officials in the south, out of which this
problem arises, white public officials started practicing exclusion and they just left blacks
off. Over the years, as blacks were convicted, they raised the question of systematic exclusion
from juries. They couldn’t prove it. They couldn’t prove that they were left off for
any reason because the white officials came in and said, “We didn’t do it for that reason.”
Now, the way statistics came up was as follows. The court said, “Look, if you’ve got 80% of
the population in this county that’s black, and no black has ever served on a jury, the
burden of proof shifts to the state or to the county, and now they have to prove what
the reasoning process is.” They never could do that. So it became a technique approved. Dr. Patterson: There’s still the assumption
in this discussion that busing is good per se. And I think one ought to recognize that
it works in certain circumstances, it doesn’t in others. And I think even more important,
we should now reach the point where we begin to specify exactly what this thing is about.
One has to begin to think in cost-benefit terms. Now, there can be no doubt, let’s take
the issue of busing as a means of simply creating a more civilized situation between the races,
which I think is, for me, one of the major justifications for busing. Does it work? Is
the cost too great? Now, let’s take the Boston situation. I find
it extraordinary that blacks, among the most impoverished group in Boston economically
and socially, should be bused to the most impoverished group among the whites socially
culturally, economically. What seems to me would have been a more rational approach would
be to bus blacks, if you’re going to bus to the middle-class community. Mr. Morgan: Of course. Dr. Patterson: One of the problems it seems
to me is that the white lower classes, who are the most impoverished culturally and socially,
are being asked to bear the burden of busing. And frankly, I can’t see what are the benefits
for the black child. Mr. Morgan: That’s precisely correct. I don’t
think you’re going to get any disagreement out of either of us on that. Dr. Patterson: Now, the next question is assuming
that you, on turning on this businss of social benefits, assuming that you do bus children
into middle-class neighborhood, is there proof that busing improves the nature of relationship
between…now, I have always assumed that it does but I also read data… where it doesn’t… Dr. Trotter: There is the research.. Dr. Green: There is some civil rights data
from 1966, indicating that blacks and whites who attend integrated, multiracial classrooms
very early in life are more likely and are more willing to select friends from the opposite
perceived racial/cultural group as adults. I think we’re at the point now where we have
a very unique opportunity to collect data in a wide range of school districts, North,
South, East, and West, looking at not only race, but social class as well, in terms of
attitudinal change over time. The difficulty that social scientists very
often encounter, unlike their natural science counterpart, is the fact that very often data
surrounding school desegregation must be collected in a very tense, highly conflictual situation.
And so the collection of data related to assessing attitudes often is very difficult. But looking
at it from another standpoint, there is a body of data that supports the point of view
in several schools districts from California to Michigan that the desegregation of schools
does improve educational quality. And I think that’s another cost-benefit. Dr. Glazer: Under what circumstances though?
You know, I recall, for example, the New York private schools in the early ’60s were all
concerned about having black children. They would give out scholarships here and there
and… Dr. Trotter: Everybody wants one. Dr. Glazer: Well, they got up to two, three,
ten, and so on. And it was great, you know, fine. You know, whites met blacks, and blacks
met whites, and some of these kids maybe had better opportunities for getting into colleges
and so on. METCO [SP] in Boston, you know, we talk about the Boston thing, has been in
existence now for seven/eight years I suppose. And about…I think, what is the figure, either
1,500 or 2,500 black kids go to suburban schools. They go voluntarily because they want to go
or their parents want them to go. The communities they go to accept them, are happy to have
them. And as a matter of fact, because something…I think maybe you’ll agree with me, because
education research is so difficult, I must say in that circumstance, I don’t care what
the educational research shows. It’s very complicated and disputed. On the other hand, my guess is when it’s on
a voluntary basis, it has to work out, I mean, whatever temporary negative or other effects
there are. And because educational research is so ambiguous, and I say here, even though
I’m a professor, I overrule it and say, “That’s a good thing.” But in other cases and cases
particularly where there is…and I know we get to our constitutional issue, great resistance,
where people say, “I don’t like it, I don’t want it, nothing’s gonna happen as a result
of it, and I didn’t do it…” Dr. Trotter: All right, then what… Dr. Glazer: That’s very important… Dr. Trotter: All right, then what is the proper
role? Dr. Glazer: Then it’s not gonna work out very
well. Dr. Green: Well, I think too, when we speak
about voluntary transfers, freedom of choice, voluntary desegregation, the burden is very
typically put upon the limited minority, the small minority, who are always at a disadvantage.
And I don’t think we can talk about 2,500 youngsters in an experimental program in Boston,
black children being bused out to upper-class white schools. I think we need to talk about
a quarter of a million in Detroit, the vast numbers in San Francisco, New York, Chicago,
Pittsburgh, and so forth. And also 2,500 youngsters typically, on a voluntary basis, have no impact
on national public policy in the area of education. Dr. Glazer: You also take the situation where
there is no history of legal segregation of the races. When you take a situation where
people are not aware that anybody is doing anything to them, the whites are not particularly
aware that anyone is helping them keep out the blacks, I’m giving…in Boston it might
be a little different, and the blacks they speak… I don’t know what they’re aware of… let me just finish the story. Dr. Green: All right. Go ahead. Dr. Glazer: I’ll just finish the story in
a sense. The fact is it is a much more mixed situation. When you talk about Selma, I think
you’re talking about the situation of the acknowledgment of injustice, a radical effort
in the case of Selma to keep blacks from voting. There is no radical effort to keep blacks
from voting in Boston. I think there never has been, or if there has it’s so long ago,
nobody remembers when it was. Dr. Green: Voting is like… Dr. Glazer: So I mean, that’s the Selma case.
And if it means violence to give rights to blacks to vote or to break down the legal
segregation of the races, then you need violence. But what is the violence in Boston for? Dr. Green: But you must remember that efforts
must be made to control violence at every level, irrespective of who’s involved in perpetuating
violence. I think the de facto, the jury argument that’s being questioned, that’s being raised
now is basically an artificial one. It doesn’t matter that schools in Selma and other parts
of the South were segregated by law. We find that the behaviors and policies of officials
in cities like Detroit and states like Michigan, states such as Illinois bring about the same
result. And when the argument is made that parents,
white parents in Boston are not aware of the fact that there is a systematic effort to
deny blacks due process, then they’re not very literate and they’re not reading because
realtors, bankers all engage in a process to make sure that blacks yet live today in
racially segregated residential districts. And they need not hanging out signs anymore
saying, “No blacks wanted.” There was a CBS special, NBC special one a very short time
ago looking at redlining, and the systematic effort even yet today to maintain blacks irrespective
of income. And I read a piece of yours in which you stated that income determines where
blacks live. Sir, there’s a tremendous body of data, part of which I have access to and
would be willing to share with you indicating that not income, nor education, but race and
ethnicity are the most volatile factors in determining where blacks live in the United
States of America. Dr. Glazer: Let me add. I think the argument
on that is that income certainly determines in part, and the question is how big the part
is. Mr. Morgan: Well, you see, and we can argue
over one or the other. We can say it’s income, or jobs as Professor Patterson said, or it’s
something else, or its housing, or it’s this or that. Whatever it is, doesn’t much matter.
You just start, and you go, and it works out or it doesn’t. If somebody wants to work on
jobs, that’s fine with me. Wanna work in housing, fine, but I think I hear what I refer to and
have for years is Albert Schweitzer liberalism. And I grew up around that sort of thing. It’s,
“Send your old clothes and Albert Schweitzer to Africa and worry about the poor, starving
Chinese.” I have gained more pounds worrying about the poor starving Chinese in later life
than anything else. I know Selma is the poor, starving Chinese to the folks at Harvard,
and I know the same thing exists all across this country… Dr. Green: And I think this is especially
true because… Dr. Glazer: No. I would still make a radical
distinction. Dr. Trotter: Yeah. But we’re all talking about
the social issues that are involved in terms of rate of the problems that we’re facing.
But really, what I’d like to ask us to do is get back to the point of really what is
busing doing to us. Is it divisive, or is it constructive? Is it necessary…? Dr. Green: Busing is a neutral construct. Dr. Trotter: All right. Dr. Green: People are divisive. Policies that
are not enforced are divisive. Individuals who must understand others, the motivation
of others, blacks and whites in South Boston and Roxbury, who do not understand the fact
that their welfare rate is the same, that the high school dropout rate in South Boston
is equally as high as it is in Roxbury, that during one specific month in the latter part
of last year the welfare rate in South Boston was slightly higher than the welfare fair
rate in Roxbury. Blacks and whites have to understand that their plight is a common one.
So, busing… Dr. Patterson: But it seems to me, I mean
on that issue, that the only thing that busing has done is to make them aware of… Dr. Green: Busing hasn’t done that… Dr. Patterson: there’s a dividing line… Dr. Green: Busing hasn’t done that. Busing
is a strategy hopefully that will lead to a re-education and the kind of learning process
that you refer to which will lead to open minds. Mr.Morgan: Integration by the nature of the
word brings people together. Busing and all sorts of things like integration makes some
white folks very mad. When it makes them mad, then they say it’s divisive. The fact is it
just makes them mad. Dr. Glazer: Well, I think divisive among…I
mean…may I suggest it’s divisive among blacks, too. I testified in the suit that’s just been
completed in Cleveland, the judge has not given down his order, on the school integration
issue. He’s trying to find out if there’s segregation. And… Mr. Morgan: He can look and see. Dr. Glazer: Well, he’s trying to find out
if it’s segregation caused by actions of the school committee. The school board is headed
by a black man, Arnold Pinkney. He’s run for mayor twice, lost, second time came closer
the first time. They had a black mayor in Cleveland before that, Carl Stokes. I looked,
they’re talking about divisive and I looked at the two boards, you know, the two tables,
the defense, the plaintiffs and the defense. The plaintiff’s table was headed by Nat Jones,
NAACP, my friend, Tom Atkins, from Boston, I’d say a bunch of outsiders black and white,
who undoubtedly have some community support, arguing this case before a judge. The defense table, headed by a white lawyer,
a Cleveland lawyer, second in command, a black Cleveland lawyer, a white chairman of the
board, I mean, superintendent, Honorable Pinkney comes down, black school officials and so
on. Their feeling is…I mean, I don’t think it’s the greatest thing in the world, the
way things have developed in Cleveland, and I don’t think it’s all real estate. You know,
it’s the way things have developed… Dr. Green: It sort of naturally white and
black folks hang into each other. Dr. Glazer: No. Blacks came into Cleveland
on the east side of town and moved east. There’s a very long history of the expansion of areas.
The east side, and is divided by a substantial canyon, the Cuyahoga River has gotten mostly
black. The West Side stays white. The east side, as blacks moved up in the world has
middle-class black sections, where the schools are middle-class schools. And they’re, “Hey,
you know, what’s going on here?” you know, what’s going on here, somebody has decided
that half the people in the west side already bused to east side, and half the people on
the east side already bused to the west side, and the people of Cleveland, as far as I could
see, an awful lot of the people from Cleveland don’t see any purpose to this enterprise. Dr. Green: I know because things were seen
the same way in the South. I mean, when blacks in department stores in the South couldn’t
try clothing on, and black women had to purchase a dress and if they took it home and it didn’t
fit, they couldn’t return it, when blacks and whites rode separate elevators up in the
department stores in the South, everyone stated that when the NAACP began to file suit, when
Martin Luther King Jr. began to lead demonstrations, people were asking the same question that
you’re asking about… Dr. Glazer: Well, there is radical difference.
They are one group who feels subordinate to the other. Atty. Morgan: What you see…
give you an example. Dr. Green: But there are radical differences
in Cleveland in terms of reading scores… Dr. Glazer: Like the Harvard scores. Dr. Green: …in terms of academic achievement,
and also the radical difference is this, my colleagues at Harvard… Dr. Glazer: Probably not like if… class levels concept. Dr. Green: ….we were looking at the South,
my colleagues at Harvard, at Stanford…at Harvard, not Harvard, my colleagues at Harvard,
Stanford, and the leading Eastern institutions willingly join me in examining school desegregation
policies in Prince Edward County, Virginia, when I engaged in my research. Now that we’re
looking at northern urban institutions, now that we’re looking at home, many of the same
colleagues and I include many of friends we know very well, beginning to draw a very unfair
comparison, and the comparison is essentially the same. Dr. Patterson: If the ultimate objective is
to reduce inequality, then I say busing is not the best way to go about it, not because… Dr. Green: What option do you have? Mr. Morgan: Nobody ever said it was the best way. Dr. Patterson: What I’m saying is it does… Dr. Trotter: They’re talking about… Dr. Patterson: Let me finish… Dr. Green: What option as a historian, give
me some historical evidence that document the option. Dr. Patterson: There is a negative…wait
a minute, there’s a negative effect in the sense that I think it’s obscuring the basic
issues, that is a great deal of the energies of black leaders and liberals who should be
their supporters have been directed on this issue when it should be directed at other
issues. Mr. Morgan: Name one.. Dr. Patterson: Now, what are these other possible
issues… Atty. Morgan: Name one. Dr. Patterson: A growing concern with the
problem of the increasing, not the decreasing, unemployment situation… Dr. Green: We’re working on that. We’re working
on that. There’s a major full employment committee. Dr. Patterson: You’re not. I mean, there’s
too much…In terms of the allocation of like leadership energies. Dr. Green: I can give you evidence that it’s
being done. Dr. Patterson: But there’s no impact… Dr. Green: Well there’s no impact in the area of school desegregation. Dr. Patterson: …young blacks and young
ethics all over the country as a matter of fact is increasing. Mr.Morgan: The reason we’re all here is that
we got to go to school and got an education. That’s the reason you teach at Harvard. That’s
the reason that Dr. Glazer… Dr. Green: And it makes a difference in your
outcome too. Dr. Glazer: No, wait a minute… Mr. Morgan: It happens that education is a
weapon. I don’t believe it’s an end in itself, or it’s an answer. Dr. Patterson: I don’t think it’s an effective
weapon. I don’t think it’s an effective weapon. That’s why you are here… Dr. Green: And there are only a few like you at Harvard University. Dr. Patterson: But you’re committing a reductionist… Dr. Green: There’s only a very few like yourself
at Harvard so it’s been very effective for you. Dr. Patterson: But you’re committing a reductionist fallacy here.
The fact that…I mean what’s true of myself, I mean, I happened to be one of the lucky
few who, in a sense… Dr. Green: Because of education. Dr. Patterson: Yes, but that doesn’t mean
that everyone can… Dr. Green: And because of a quota, too, I might add. Dr. Patterson: Because the structure of inequality
may be such that while several can make it at any given time, I mean, a substantial number
of people will have to be losers. Dr. Glazer: I would like to get back to the
educational issue in a way. And Dr. Green said something which is very potent, and I
had spoken of METCO and, you know, the 2,500 they choose. Well, that’s nothing. Now, I
think a lot of us don’t realize how much voluntariness can do. Here I’d like to make this plug, that
2,500 happens to be 10% of all the black students in Boston, only about 25,000, 25,000, 28,000.
That’s 10% who voluntarily choose some other school. And the others who are left behind,
leaving aside the busing today, an awful lot were already going to integrated school. I don’t know, 20%, 30% were integrated enough for them. And I’m not suggesting that the
2,500 who chose the bottom suburban schools were choosing it all because there were whites
there. They were choosing like a little better schools. I have seen evidence that if you have voluntary
programs and admittedly we haven’t had them for places as big as Detroit, and that might
be an interesting problem but… start out, try it out. On a voluntary program,
you get 20% or 30% will choose to accept…I’m talking on the black side, will choose to
accept this burden as busing, some, but a lot of people choose because of a better school.
Catholics decide they want to go to Catholic school and they’ll get on a bus, and people
decide they prefer a high school at the other end of town. And I think the notion that this is unfair,
that people have to do something to get something, nothing wrong with that. Let them choose.
Now, the argument on voluntariness then comes out on what about all the rest? And here I
do want to say something for education. I know our experience isn’t very good, but I
just don’t believe that black school, and even admitted and in fact a lot of kids have
chosen something else, is an impossible school. I mean, maybe it’s an impossible school today.
Maybe they haven’t figured out how to make it a better school, but I simply do not believe
that there is something absolutely organic and essential in black culture or anything
else that means that a majority of black school not imposed by law, but existing that’s that’s
where people live and they go to school is going to have to be a lousy school. Mr. Morgan: Do you know of any instance in
the history of this country, or perhaps any other where white folks have put their money
into anything their children didn’t go to, and do you think black folks would if they
had it? Dr. Trotter: I want Dr. Green to… Dr. Green: Related to that, you’re raising
the argument of separate but equal. Dr. Glazer: I didn’t put it that way. Dr. Green: Well, can blacks learn together
in an all-black setting? I would say yes, in all black nations. It can happen in Kenya,
it can happen in Zaire. But as long as we live in a society that is as race-conscious
and class- conscious as this nation is, and this society is, and this culture at large
tends to be, then all-black schools will not function adequately in America because forces
are established to make sure that they do not function adequately. My last point on
volunteerism, it’s always been interesting for me to note historically that those who
hold power speak of voluntary behavior. That has always been the case… Mr.Morgan: Now, the courts did strike down
the symbol of school desegregation. But after that, everything taken was taken exactly as
you suggest, by moral suasion by blacks going into the streets, by Rosa Parks refusing to
get up on a bus, by Martin King for whom and with whom, Bob worked amd on whose board I
served in the south. Now, when you look at that kind of moral suasion, which is shut
down, then you know you have lost that kind of a leader. But always remember this, the
courts and the Congress of the United States merely ratified a movement that took place
by individual, nonviolent citizens in this country, and which was ratified by a majority
white population and then was ratified by their institutions, the courts and the Congress. Dr. Trotter: Just to conclude this, I’d like
to throw out a question, is just exactly what should we do in terms of public policy as
far as integration and the schools are concerned? What is the stand that we should take as far
as public policy in the United States, if we’re going to do the kind of job that we
should do with desegregation? And I think that we have addressed a lot of issues, but
I’d like to conclude with this one. Mr.Morgan: May I go first? Just desegregate
across the board in the United States, use as little busing or disruption as possible,
pair schools, use whatever the techniques are, wind up with white and black folks going
to school together, both in the ghettos and in the suburbs. Dr. Trotter: The law is pretty clear that
we do this as peacefully as we can, but we do it. Do any of you… Dr. Glazer: Well, I’m in the position I’ve
asserted before. I’m against unless there are cases of state action segregations which
I don’t think is primarily the situation in the north. I assert that unequivocally and
I can defend that and have defended that. Segregation in the North or separation is
not the result of state action. And if it’s not the result of state action, I think the
state has no goddamn business getting in there saying, “You black go there because you’re
black and you white go there because you’re white.” I think it’s a great idea for the
races to mingle, to know each other, to advance, and I think they ought every possible voluntary
means should be developed to create that. Dr. Trotter: Dr. Green, one last statement. Dr. Green: Brief, I fully support the point
of view that American schools should be desegregated along race and class lines. Secondly, I strongly
disagree with Professor Glazer’s argument that northern states have not willingly and
collectively participated in actions to bring about segregated public schooling. There is
a body of data that’s available to support that point of view, and I would be willing
to share that with them. I have a definitive paper on northern school desegregation, well
researched, which clearly illustrates the role between county and state officials, as
well as city officials in bringing about the segregation as we know it in northern urban
communities. Dr. Patterson: I think we should first of
all define or begin to define our objectives more clearly, specify what the economic as
opposed to the purely educational objectives should be. We should then recognize how the
implementation of these objectives will vary from one part of America to another. Now this
is a vast continent. Perhaps this impresses me more as someone who grew up in a tiny island.
But this is a huge country. It’s a highly heterogeneous country. And one objective may
exist for one situation, it may not exist in another, where one may find that in one
area, the social objectives have already been attained, but economic and educational have
not, and so on. One should, therefore, be very careful to specify what the objectives
are for particular areas. And also be more flexible in the means, always being aware
of the costs involved in implementing a program. And what worries me is a certain degree of
dogmatism, which is involved. Finally, one should also be aware of the fact
that this whole issue is an exercise in superstructural play, which I think has reached the limits
of its potential, that we are running the risk of diverting energies, which perhaps
we should start to redirect in a more direct way of reducing the structure of inequality
in American society. Dr. Trotter: Very good. Thank you very much. Peter: It’s obvious that all four members
of today’s panel agree, there must be compliance with the constitutional guarantee of equal
opportunity in public education. It’s also obvious that our panelists differ on whether
busing is the way to guarantee that equal educational opportunity. At this point, we
call in the experts in our audience to challenge the members of our panel with their questions. Dr. Trotter: We’ve now concluded the first
segment of our program, and the panelists will be open to questions from the experts
and members of the press that are here. First question? Jim: Thank you. I’m Jim for the National Council
for Black Child Development. My question I direct to Dr. Green and open to the panel.
Earlier you spoke of basic facts and data. My question is, do the basic facts or does…do
the basic facts that is, represent that busing does improve education or do the basic facts
data show that busing only helps bring together racial groups? Dr. Green: Typically, when that question is
posed, we look at two areas, one, hardcore academic achievement, improvement and basic
skills, reading, math, and social studies skills, and secondly, in the attitudinal area.
And the limited data that we have available to us on the balance suggests that there is,
over time, if youngsters are placed in a desegregated setting for a long period of time, it does
have an overall beneficial positive impact on the development of democratic attitudes.
There’s been some conflict in the area of academic achievement. But I think much of
the recent data, data from Berkeley California, from Pontiac, Michigan, as an example, suggests
that white academic achievement does not decline and in some instances does increase, and that
black academic achievement typically grows very rapidly and is facilitated by the process
of desegregation. That basically is what the facts suggest.
There are a number of complicating factors, and one major complicating factor is essentially
this, it’s very hard to get good accurate data in settings that are really flavored
with a conflict. And testing black and white youngsters in Boston today would be a very
inaccurate measure of a stable attitude, and the measurement of a stable attitude is key
in social science research. One might be measuring fear, anger, hostility, and not really an
accurate perception of how that youngster views white children, white people at large
or how the white youngster might even view black youngsters at large. So, social scientists
have not been afforded the luxury that natural scientists typically have in terms of controlling
carefully their experiments. But I think the limited data that we have
available to us suggests that on the balance, desegregation is positive and healthy. It
sure has been the case on the other side of the ledger in the south because white attitudes
towards blacks in southern, rural, and urban communities have changed dramatically. Even
though whites stated that they would strongly be opposed to desegregation in public facilities,
and that it would bring about a real calamity in the south. Once the law was clear, and
it was clear that the law would be enforced, there was very little difficulty. And there
has been a healthy improvement in attitudes of black towards white and white towards black
in southern communities once the law was clear and enforced. Part of the difficulty, finally,
in a city like Boston, where there’s been a tremendous amount of conflict, is that there
has been some hesitancy to strongly enforce the law. This, coupled with the statement
by the President, that he himself did not believe in busing, undermine the effectiveness
of the court order, and also undermine the willingness of the public at large to support
the law. In other words, law and order is hard to enforce when the public perceives
that key and powerful political leaders are not supportive of the law. Prof. Donegan: Thank you. My name is Charles
Donegan. I’m a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School. I don’t represent
the law school, but I work there. But it seems to me that Dr. Glazer’s position that he would
agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, the majority opinion in Plessy versus Ferguson,
about the separate but equal facilities, not violating equal protection clause of 14th
Amendment. But we also mindful of Brown versus the Board of Education decided in 1954, which
said that separate but equal was inherently unequal and violated the equal protection
clause of the 14th Amendment. Also, with respect to his preoccupation, in
my opinion, on voluntarism, in the Green case decided in 1968, it said that freedom of choice
plans would have to be discarded when they were not instrumental in abolishing segregated
schools. Also, in the Swan case decided in 1971… Dr. Trotter: Your question? Charles: Bear with it…it said that
busing was permissible. So my question to Dr. Glazer is, does he think it’s up to the
individual citizen to determine which laws that they will comply with and which ones
they will not? Dr. Glazer: There are quite a few points there.
First, I do not agree with the Supreme Court decision in Plessy versus Ferguson. Nothing
I said should have suggested to any person that I agreed with the separate but equal
decision of Plessy versus Ferguson. Plessy versus Ferguson upheld state laws separating
the races. I attack any kind of law-making racial distinctions. I made that perfectly
clear. Secondly, I support the Brown decision, absolutely, totally, and completely. Thirdly,
I support the Green decision, but the Green decision on voluntarism has nothing to do
with the situations I’m talking about. The voluntarism, the Green decisions attacked
was not a true voluntarism. You had, had a black school determined by law and a white
school determined by law. Now what happened, the Green decision is that the county said
anyone could go to the school they wanted to, but the blacks were not allowed by violence
and intimidation to go to the white school, and the whites didn’t go to the black school.
That was a fake voluntarism. The voluntarism of the North is not a fake
voluntarism. METCO is not a fake voluntarism. The voluntarism that permits free choice in
many northern cities is not fake. Blacks, when they choose schools, are not driven out
by rocks and stones on the voluntary situations, and their parents are not threatened and do
not lose their jobs. That’s not the case in Hartford, that’s not the case in Rochester,
it wasn’t the case in New York, it isn’t the case in the Boston area under the voluntaristic
programs. Finally, just as I opposed the Plessy versus
Ferguson situation, where the separate but equal and would have felt it was perfectly
within my rights as a citizen to attack the court’s decision on that. And to believe that
in time the court would come to its senses and would agree that, that decision was in
error. So, I oppose the decision of the Court in Keyes in Denver. So, I oppose the upholding
of the decisions in San Francisco and in Pasadena. These are wrong decisions. These take decisions
in which a partial concentration of the races exists for a variety of reasons and distort
that situation into a finding of state segregation. The court is wrong. There will be new appointments
to the court, I hope, and the court will discover it was wrong, just as it discovered it was
wrong in the case of Plessy versus Ferguson. Prof. Donegan: My question was is it up to
the individual citizen, Dr. Glazer, to determine which laws or judicial decisions they will
comply with and which ones they will not… or the states? Dr. Glazer: It is not up to the individual
decision to determine that, but the individual citizen obeying the law has the right to protest
the law, certainly, I think you would agree with that, has the right to argue with the
law while obeying it. Has the right to organize and to present evidence that the law, in this
case, is wrong. And has the right to hope peacefully, has the right to hope that in
time the law will be changed to accord with that citizen’s view as what the proper law
in that connection is. Dr. Trotter: Very good.. Thank you. Next question? Ed: Ed O’Connell from Congressmen Preyer’s
office. Dr. Green, in the Detroit situation, with the Milliken case and stating that there
is no inter-district remedy in that vow. Is it not the solution on a voluntary
basis for cooperation between the suburban districts and the Detroit school district
as to integrate those schools, isn’t that the only thing left? Dr. Green: No. I think there is another option
available here. The court did not definitively rule out the possibility of metropolitan desegregation.
What the court stated was essentially this, that unless proof can be given that suburban
school districts in some way were responsible for segregated policies in urban centers,
that desegregation will not be mandated by the courts. So I think the burden of proof
yet rests with the plaintiffs or the NAACP in that setting. Ed: Then your solution would be to go to the
courts and all the major center cities versus the suburban districts? Dr. Green: My solution would be to encourage
and support METCO and all of the other volunteer approaches. For example, I strongly supported
the volunteer desegregation of restaurants in the south. When a store owner had the willingness
and the foresight to desegregate his store in the south, I supported that. But we also
utilize the judicial approach to speed the process up. And I’m saying that in centers
around the country, I have yet seen the evidence, and I’m yet looking for someone to provide
me with evidence that voluntarism has had a real impact on policy, educational policy
nationally. I’m looking for that evidence. I’m not ruling it out. I support it. But I
think the courts is yet the best, not the worst as Professor Coleman and Professor Glazer
and others have indicated, I don’t see the courts as the worst instruments of social
change. I see the courts as being relatively cautious, relatively conservative, relatively
concerned with collecting data and carefully analyzing that data. And reaching good careful
conclusions and recommendations in most cases. Dr. Trotter: Thank you. Dr. Earle: I’m Valerie Earle, a Professor
of Government at Georgetown University. I’d like to address a question to Mr. Morgan and
Mr. Glazer. In fact, two questions, I can do it in 45 seconds. You said Mr. Morgan,
that Yick Wo [SP] was an early example of extension of 14th Amendment equal protection
too other than blacks. But the new equal protection, which is I think what is concerning Mr. Glazer
and me, is a very recent development that is one under which many suspect classifications
are developing. And I share Mr. Glazer’s concern about quotas, quotas, quotas, and I don’t
find your early history about juries or Yick Wo very comforting on this point and would
welcome further comment. My second question, again, to be addressed
by both, I hope. Why is it that one does not move to a vigorous effort against redlining
in public policy? Why must school busing or other such means be the instrument of attack
upon segregation in residential facilities? Why not legislation on redlining? Why the
schools? Mr. Morgan: May I? I’ll go first on this one,
you go first on the other one. On redlining, to take the last question first, fine, I think
we should move against that. I think the court should move against that. I do not, for instance,
see the courts as the be all and the end all. I am interested in changing the judges on
the courts to make sure that we get even better rulings in this area. But I think we should
move there, but I have heard Dr. Earle, all of my life, that we should move in education,
we should move in education whenever we’re moving on employment. Whenever somebody moves
them on employment then it should be housing. Whenever you move into housing, we should
educate first. If we educate first, they’ll be able to get jobs. If they get jobs then
they’ll be able to live in the housing. If they can live in the housing…like, it’s
all some sort of a circle. It’s like the Ballantine’s beer can, you just take whichever circle it
is and you go forward. That’s all. Dr. Trotter: Next question. Man: Mr. Morgan, I’m a little concerned about
how you would determine in this busing which students would be bused from the ghetto to
the middle-class neighborhood, and which students would be bused from the middle-class neighborhood
to the ghetto, or to the upper-class neighborhoods. And in a concern for group or social class
equity, I wonder how you handle the question of individual equity? Mr. Morgan: Well, I would take first your
group and social class equity. I don’t see the principal problem as only the exclusion
of blacks from the public schools. I think what we’ve developed in this country is a
single, and dual, and then a quadruple class system of education, whereby in suburbs, white
suburbs, we walk around saying, “99% of the children at Old Siwash High
go to college.” Well, 99% of those kids’ daddies and mothers went to college, they’ve grown
up that way. They’re rich, upper, middle-class white kids who go from there to Harvard, where
they set up a quota to bring a few blacks in voluntarily. Now, I would take those kids just like all
the rest of them, and we have something called the alphabet, A through Z. And I would say,
“We will use the alphabet here in wonderful little community that we’ve got over here
of the rich white folks. And we use the alphabet over here in the terrible, terrible, terrible
old community of the poor black folks.” And once those rich white folks kids get in that
black folk school, guess what’s going to happen? The windows are going to get fixed, the police
are going to be in the neighborhood, the school is suddenly going to be a quality school.
The film that we’re coming out on is going to be shown there, the money is going to come
from the Board of Education, and that’s what the answer to integration is. White folks
ain’t going to put their money into anything their children don’t go to, and black folks
wouldn’t if they had the money. Dr. Patterson: But it seems to me we are assuming
the continuation of rather peculiar system of support for education which exists in this
country. And which this country is quite unique and I think rather backward, that is the use
of local real estate taxes. Wouldn’t that problem resolve by having a centralized system
of support for education which…? Dr. Green: This is what metropolitan desegregation
is about. We’re speaking about the sharing of resources along with desegregation. See,
keep in mind that boundaries that separate cities are not magically determined. They’re
politically determined. And communities that have political lines separating them share
power, they share all sorts of resources. And we’re trying to extend that resource to
include human beings, simply put. Man 2: Mr. Morgan, I’m troubled by this. Are
you really suggesting to me that you would expect me to willingly obey a law, comply
with a law which told me that I should send my children to a school other than the neighborhood
school simply because my last name was Williams? Mr. Morgan: Understand fully that if we lived
in a society as a minority where black folks had the power and they had the money, and
we were put off in some ghetto school, do you really believe that those black folks
would put a sufficient amount of money into your and my school to make sure that our kids
got an equal education? I don’t happen to believe that… Dr. Green: Or to reverse…excuse me, go ahead, Charlie. Mr. Morgan: I don’t happen to believe that,
and I secondly believe that we ought to get around in this country to start to do some
things under the equality clauses of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, that whole thrust
of law, to make sure that when people are charged with crimes, they get an equal representation.
To make sure that the rich folks don’t get out of jail. To make sure that the rich folks
don’t get out of sending their kids to the poor folks’ schools, and that the poor folks
get the advantages of the rich folks so that they all do get a start in this country and
they don’t wind up sitting here in this nice hotel room. Because our parents had a little
something going for them, or we might have been a little bit smarter than somebody else. Dr. Glazer: Let me just say I fully agree
with Professor Patterson’s point that you can do a good deal with money even though
some of my Harvard colleagues have argued otherwise, even non-Harvard colleagues. But
also it is not the case on the whole that we are dealing with, that the schools that
black people go to are very poorly funded compared to the schools that white people
go to. That’s not the case. It’s not the case in Boston, it’s not the case New York, it’s
not the case in…now, it is also true that even though they’re not more poorly funded,
and we’ve had studies on that, that their needs are greater, I think we have to put
more money into them. I quite agree on that. But let’s not sort of live under the illusion
that the average black in this country has less spent on his schooling than the average
white… it comes out about the same. Dr. Green: There is data saying…you know,
I’m amazed by the kind of data that’s being accumulated at Harvard University. Dr. Patterson: That’s not the… Dr. Green: Most certainly, Would you dare
argue that the quality of education and money spent in suburban communities surrounding
Detroit, surrounding Gary, Indiana, surrounding Atlanta, Georgia, is commensurate? Atty. Morgan: It’s the whole tax base. The
Supreme Court ruled on that. Dr. Glazer: Well, we have the richest properties…we
have evidence on that. Not all suburbs are rich suburbs. There are a lot of industrial
suburbs around those cities. Central cities on the whole are spending easily at the national
average or above it, and central cities are the place where most blacks live. There
s a simple…I mean, we don’t want to get into the statistics, but you cannot show the
average expenditure per black in this country is less than that per white. Mr. Morgan: You can show that the average
expenditure for poor people in this country is less than the average expenditure for the
children of rich people. It is so tremendously clear that there’s no question about it. Dr. Green: And the bulk of the black community
is poor. Dr. Glazer: But you cannot show that because
the bulk of them live in central cities with relatively high expenditures in education. Dr. Green: …and allocation of resources
alone is not adequate to ensure that all young people, black, white, irrespective of social
class, do receive what I define as quality education. And again, it’s twofold. One, the
development of adequate skills related to the area of academic achievement, and secondly,
the elimination or the modification and the building of negative attitudes, and the building
of positive attitudes towards race and social class. And even if funds were equally allocated
across racial groups, and racial isolation and racial identity was maintained in a society
that’s race-conscious, quality education will never get off the ground because powerful…first
of all, I accept the assumption that individuals who wield power are not going to reallocate
that power and distribute it evenly across the board. Gulf Oil is not going to do it,
Standard Oil is not going to do it, and the American public school cooperation is not
going to do it. Secondly, I hold to the position that as long
as this nation is race and class conscious, separate but equal will not stand the test
of a fair distribution of funds economically in this country. Dr. Trotter: This concludes another Public
Policy Forum presented by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. I want
to say thank you very much for your participation, particularly for the participation of this
very distinguished panel. Peter: This roundtable discussion on the impact
of school busing has brought to you the opinions of four experts in the field. It was presented
by AEI, the American Enterprise Institute. It is the aim of AEI to clarify issues of
the day by presenting many differing viewpoints. And the hope that by so doing, those who wish
to learn about the decision-making process will benefit from such a free exchange of
informed and enlightened opinion. I’m Peter Hackes in Washington. Announcer: This Public Policy Forum series
is created and supplied to this station as a public service by the American Enterprise
Institute, Washington DC. For a transcript of this program, send $3.75
to the American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street, Northwest, Washington, DC 20036.


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