Will Kane, American Renaissance, January 23, 2021
This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.
I witnessed firsthand as a young white male what happens when government officials, backed by judges, decide to implement policies to eliminate what they consider “racism” on the part of ordinary white citizens. Government-forced school desegregation policies directly impacted my life as a young middle school student and forever shaped my views of race in America.
I remember riding the bus in the 7th grade to a school that was two to one, black to white. For me this was a new and harrowing experience that I struggled to comprehend. It was 1971, and the US Supreme Court had unanimously decided that the forced busing of students to promote racial integration was indeed constitutional. Therefore, I, along with other young white students, would henceforth be required to attend majority black schools in rundown neighborhoods. Many of us had to ride the bus while standing because there weren’t enough seats for all of the white kids. The crowded bus would travel across town to a dilapidated building and unload the kids near a field that had to be crossed on foot each morning to get to the school. This trek made the white students easy prey for older black kids who would routinely shake us down for our lunch money and/or other valuables. I never witnessed any adult come to our rescue and, as far as I could tell, any complaints to the school authorities were ignored. I was amazed at the behavior of these black aggressors, who always approached us in groups, and literally acted as if it was their right to relieve the white kids of their possessions. We were viewed as interlopers, even though we had no choice in the matter.
It became quickly obvious to me that the school curriculum was geared toward the black students. The expectations were very low. Everything about the school seemed to be aimed at appeasing the black kids and basic standards of behavior were not expected of them. There was nearly always a lot of talking and generally disruptive behavior on the part of the black students. This situation was in direct contrast to what I had experienced in neighborhood schools at lower grade levels. While there were some black students in my prior classes, as well as black teachers, the standards and expectations had been considerably higher. This majority black school, however, was radically different. I had absolutely no thought of participating in any after school extracurricular activities, as had been routine in my past experience.
The teachers and administrators seemed content to openly tolerate the aberrant behavior of the black students. Often, classroom activities would be disrupted by outbursts amongst the blacks or the teacher would have to stop the discussion to deal with their frequent loud conversations. This was something I had never encountered before at school. I quickly learned that I could easily make good grades without much effort compared to my earlier experiences, and I mainly focused on getting through each day. Most of the white kids kept to themselves, some tried to fit in by “acting black,” and trying to speak their best ebonics. These students were mercilessly mocked by their black peers. Although small in stature, I was fairly good at sports so I fit in fairly well during physical education classes. I was able to make friends with other white kids and even a few blacks, although my relationships with blacks were largely superficial. There was a palpable distance between myself and the black students that was always present.
I remember trying to befriend one particular black student. He had no lunch money one day and I felt bad for him so I gave him the money. Since I was strictly from a working-class background, this wasn’t easy for me. He went around school that day referring to me as his new friend (other black students openly derided him for saying this). From the next day on, I was persona non grata to him, he treated me with complete indifference. I, of course, felt hurt and never quite understood his behavior.
One afternoon, I missed the school bus for the return trip home. I had to walk down the street several blocks to catch the public transit bus. The bus was filled with blacks who glared at the strange white kid in their midst. One young adult black male angrily snapped at me, “Hey, white boy, what the hell are you doing here!? Don’t you know this is the n*gger bus!?” I was terrified.
One morning, we arrived at school to find that the building had been vandalized overnight: windows were broken, property stolen and classroom items were scattered everywhere. Uncompleted student projects were destroyed. I had never seen anything like this before in a school building. The teachers and administrators seemed unsurprised. As far as I know the perpetrators were never caught.
Around this time a teen-aged relative of mine was being bused to a majority black high school in the same city. I remember him telling me about the many fights he had with black teens at school (this was known as getting “jumped”). He told me that nothing was ever really done about this by the school authorities despite many complaints from white parents. He eventually dropped out, later obtaining his GED and going on to become a licensed tradesman.
I remember when my baseball team would play against the black kids from black neighborhoods. We would have to hand them our bats and gloves between innings because they literally had no equipment. We of course supplied the baseballs. We found it odd that they never thanked us for this act of generosity. Rather, they seemed to simply expect it.
Once I was in a local drug store near my neighborhood buying some candy with my friend. We had both ridden my friend’s bicycle to the store (I did not have a bike of my own) which we parked outside, unlocked. We noticed a black boy about our age in the uncrowded store and we both immediately thought about the unlocked bike. My friend remarked that maybe this particular black kid was okay, so we relaxed. No sooner had we paid for our items when we saw the black kid through the store window mount my friend’s bike and take off across the parking lot. We both ran out the store only to see him racing away down the street, laughing. The store clerk behind the counter simply shrugged. We never recovered that bicycle. I simply could not fathom why a person could simply take someone else’s property right in front of them. I was getting a real education. I think back to this incident when I see videos of blacks openly and shamelessly looting businesses.
Fortunately, my experience with forced school busing ended when my family escaped the city and relocated to a nearby suburb. While this period of my life was relatively short, it had a lasting impact on me. I learned that feeling safe at school, something I had always taken for granted, was not a given. Not a day passed during my time at a majority black school that I felt that I could let my guard down. I never felt comfortable or completely secure, and for the first time in my young life, I began to become cynical and to distrust the authority figures around me; I began to question their motives. While I was too young to fully grasp everything going on around me, I could not understand why white children had been intentionally forced into a learning environment geared toward a much lower level of achievement, aimed at the lowest common denominator, regardless of their individual abilities. An environment where teachers spent an inordinate amount of time trying to maintain order, often having to repeat rudimentary material. Transitioning to a suburban educational environment where the standards were much higher, I quickly found that I was woefully behind, something for which I felt a sense of shame — though I did eventually catch up.
Looking back, it seems very odd that I and other white students would have been forced to attend majority black schools in terrible neighborhoods in order to achieve some illusory goal of racial equity. Instead of trying to improve the majority black schools, government liberals chose to force white children to attend poorly performing institutions in rundown facilities in unsafe neighborhoods that were nowhere near their homes. It seemed as though we were being punished for a crime we didn’t commit. I will never forgive or forget that. This corrosive, tyrannical social engineering by government inevitably led to white flight from the cities to the suburbs, not due to racism, but because whites, if they were able, would not stand by and allow their children’s educations to be sacrificed on the altar of utopian liberal racial integrationist dreams.
The era of forced busing of school children formally ended about a generation after it began. Today, the busing decision stands as a colossal failure by any measure. Unfortunately, the children who were directly impacted by this policy paid the price for this leftist social experiment. Yet the left continues to relentlessly pursue new versions of its quixotic dreams. Today, the left’s support for Black Lives Matter, Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, etc., are merely the latest incarnations of decades-old leftist toxicity.
The insidious catering to poor black behavior that I witnessed daily as a child continues to this day, except that the practice has become much more blatant and destructive; and whites who dare to speak out about such issues are immediately branded as hopelessly racist toward blacks. My experiences have taught me that racial differences are real. If blacks are never to be held accountable for their actions and behavior, I fear that this country will not survive as founded.