A post-#DemDebate2 thought: I too was a beneficiary of bussing. Except now I understand how damaging that framing is. Really, bussing allowed white schools to benefit from *me,* all for the low price of student budget dollars they were wasting anyway.My mom was like most black parents then -- doing the best she could. The private schools in town cost the earth. The black-neighborhood schools had 12+ yo textbooks, no AP, underfunded everything, tired teachers. White public schools were a good middle ground. But.I struggled for years with poor self esteem because I had somehow absorbed the idea that black =/= smart, and that I should be grateful to sit by white kids. That my school was doing me a favor by making me get up predawn to ride a bus for an hour. I had that Joe Biden thinking.But in retrospect, I made those schools look good as hell. Won academic awards left & right, mostly bc I loved to read and that was half my education right there. The much-vaunted AP classes were a joke; I mostly did self-study and busted 4s and 5s on the exams.There were dozens of black kids like me in those white schools. Probably more. But I don't know, bc we were parceled out so there would be only a few of us in each class. Enough to look good, diversity-wise. Not enough to support each other, or make the white ppl uncomfy.My most vivid memories of high school aren't social, but pathological. I remember being on prom committee and fighting to get *any* black music played; the principal still banned rap. I remember the school pulling shenanigans to bump a black valedictorian to 2nd place.Battles like that every day, every step of the way. We did well, and everyone expressed surprise, and told us it was because we'd been "given" an opportunity to share space w/white kids - not that we'd earned it. If we struggled, though, of course it was because we were black.On balance, they got bragging rights. Scholarships! Ivy League acceptances! *I* got an early introduction to how racism covers for white mediocrity and ego, and probably a couple of extra years of therapy. Also maybe an early start on a few novels. Was so bored I wrote in class.So I'm like most black Americans of my gen in having mixed feelings about integration. Structural racism worked as hard to erase whatever we gained as our parents had worked to give us those gains. And a big part of the struggle was people like Biden. "Not racist" racists.The equivocators, the pleasant moderates, so happy to appease blatant racists at our expense. Sure, integration, but not if it forces white kids to sit alongside inferior black kids. (We're always inferior.) Sure, "states rights"! Sure "school choice" (to reinstate segregation)!White liberals who would be appalled to be called racist... but who believed, same as white conservatives, that we really *weren't* as good or smart as them. But at least they were willing to do us a favor -- a limited one, dependent on their generosity and continued primacy.Not going anywhere in particular w/this. I'm not a Harris supporter. She did say a thing that needed saying, tho -- a thing that moderate white Dems really need to think about when they wonder why we don't trust them. We *remember.* We see you. That's why.You are as much to blame for where we are as a country right now as Trump & his ilk -- because you won't push back. You have principles but won't stick to them. You're weak and cowardly when lives are on the line, but you tell yourself you're being smart and diplomatic.We need strength and courage right now. We need conviction, and obstinacy, and anger. If you won't fight, what fucking good are you? Looking deadass at Nancy Pelosi right now.::sigh:: My pressure's probably up, and I'm harshing my own post-vacation mellow. Rant over. Toodles.
A post-#DemDebate2 thought: I too was a beneficiary of bussing. Except now I understand how damaging that framing is. Really, bussing allowed white schools to benefit from *me,* all for the low price of student budget dollars they were wasting anyway.
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) June 28, 2019