Disintegration in Boston
With 600 National Guardsmen drafted into the City, Boston this week prepares for violence on the first anniversary of compulsory school 'bussing.' It is a city preparing to celebrate its 200th year of freedom, and where many of its people feel they have lost theirs. It is the story of every well-meaning town in America that has honestly tried to make up to its blacks, for !several hundred year of being treated first as • animals, and then, as second class citizens.
But well-meaning honesty is often not sense or even sanity. In Boston's effort to make it up to its blacks, it has forgotten its whites. Boston's whites today remind one of the blacks of Newark, Watts and Detroit, who were driven to the madness of destroying their own homes by the callousness of the white establishment.
There are a couple of differences however, 11 per cent of the American population are black. The whites have the people, and it is said that in Boston, they have the guns. The late William Faulkner, a man of decency and mercy, once wrote, in a letter replying to a black friend who asked him to contribute to the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) that he could not for the barricades are being drawn up, and "when it comes to choosing sides, I must fight with my own people." Boston's whites, driven to fury by the arrogance of their liberal courts, and the swaggering of a comparatively few black militants, the only voices from the black community they hear, will not burn their own homes.
Phase One is over, and Phase Two is about to begin. Let me explain them. The Boston School Committee, after using every trick in the book, to forestall the bussing of children (blacks to white schools and vice versa) that the liberals and black militants were convinced would make integration come sooner, finally ran out of ideas last year, and bussing was ordered. That was to be the bussing of half the student body of a Roxbury (predominantly black) school and half the student body of a South Boston (predominantly Irish Catholic) school.
All last summer there were editorials in out papers about Brotherhood, brotherhood messages on our TV screens, great posters of a black hand clasping a white hand in friendship, stirring statement about the benefits of bussing by Boston's black and white leaders, most of whose children, unfortunately, would be deprived of the benefits, because they were away at boarding schools.
Phase One started and all hell broke loose. Before the year was over, $14 million (on two schools) was spent for buses, for extra police protection, and for calling in the National Guard. There were stabbings, children were searched for weapons before entering schools, police had to be placed in the more unruly classrooms, and in the lavatories where much of the savagery took place. Blacks were dragged from their cars in South Boston and beaten up. Whites were dragged from their cars in Roxbury and beaten up.
Senator Kennedy made two statements. One, early in the year, was the beginning of a plea to South Boston mothers who had gathered by the thousand in front of Boston's City Hall — but only the beginning. As soon as his drift was understood, he was drowned in catcalls, then pelted with fruit and rocks; Kennedy fled. Months later, he consented to another, tightly controlled meeting with spokesman for the same crowd. Did he approve of bussing? Certainly not! But, he quickly added, it was the law of the land and must be obeyed.
One of the Founding Fathers of the bussing movement, after ten years' study, announced, sadly, that he failed to see that it had done any white or black kid the slightest good. That, instead of creating brotherhood, it had created hate. A judge in Detroit, now a predominantly black city, declared bussing an abridgement of freedom, and ordered it stopped. The President said, sadly, last month, that bussing had failed, and he was against it.
Nonetheless, Phase Two (when all Boston's schools will be integrated) is inexorably coming to Boston. The cost in new buses, drivers, extra police protection and, -inevitably, the National Guard, will run to at least $50 million, maybe twice that. Boston, like all great American cities, is going broke. How many fine schools could the town build with that fifty to a hundred million? The Becker Poll, a respected one in New England, said a vast majority of whites, and nearly 45 per cent of blacks, considered it criminal to waste that money on bussing.
Those, in Boston, who can afford to, have left, and are continuing to leave the city for the suburbs. From where they urge the represen tatives they send to the State Legislature to be courageous liberals and vote for bussing, since bussing stops on the town lines of Boston, and can go no further. In every case, where the subject came up in their own town meetings they have voted it down.
The taxes on those too poor to move, have, then, become higher and higher. The great business establishments are still located in the city, but, come dusk, cars stream from it to the suburbs. Crime in Boston has reached an all-time high, and is climbing.
Another example of the madness that has overtaken well-meaning, honest liberals has been the case of Scollay Square. For generations, this honky-tonk section of the city was a Port Said, where burlesque houses throve and where any form of depravity was cheerfully obtainable. At most it didn't occupy more than an acre or two, and you weren't totally safe there, but if that was important to you, you wouldn't venture into it. In every other part of the city you were safe: In the hysteria following the death of John F. Kennedy, the city decided to build a great memorial to him; to tear down Scollay Square and erect the Kennedy Building surrounded by a magnificent complex of government and office buildings. That complex is not yet finished, nor will it, some say, ever be. There are no plans for further expansion. Tremendous buildings rise above mounds of rubble. It is difficult to tell whether a great civilisation is being built or is sinking into the rubble. it is the Bay of Pigs to his brief and tragic administra don.
But what of Scollay Square? A great city must have somewhere where its bums can go to find what, since time began, bums have needed.
Scollay Square didn't disappear. It moved a mile or so away, into the very heart of the city. Once Boston had an area of theatres so fine, and with audiences so literate, that it was there that all the plays bound for Broadway were tried out. Around these theatres have now grown strip parlours, massage parlours, porno movies. Prostitutes fill those streets. Their pimps wait for them in cars. Most are black. Today there is no controlled Scollay Square. All Boston is one.
In my letters to The Spectator over the last couple of years, I may seem to have given too much space to our race problem. I assure you I have not. It is a cloud sinking over all American cities. It is a cloud that will not go away. You cannot erase thirty million of us. They must be accepted, on equal terms, or the American experiment has failed. It was our liberals who fought for human treatment for our blacks. They persevered, they gave the blacks the courage to rise up and fight for themselves. And, together, they won. It was the liberals' greatest day, and the end of their sanity.
Blacks, so long denied any but token consideration in our great universities, although they paid taxes to support them, demanded instant quota systems. They were granted. The blacks, unprepared, did badly. In frustration they demanded courses in AfroAmerican studies, with full credits. They were granted. At one of our 'Ivy League' universities, a strange judgement was rendered. No one with a black skin could possibly fail in Afro-American Studies, for from the day of his birth, he had learned all about it, whether or not he ever opened a book or attended a lecture.
Anyone who saw any lunacy in that was dismissed as a bigot. They demanded all-black dormitories, and they got them. Any group of whites who demanded all-white dormitories, deep in the deepest South, would have been kicked out, with the contempt they'd earned. Although integration was the soul of it all, anyone who lectured at our universities in that time, was saddened to see a college dining hall: one section was all but roped off for blacks. No white was admitted. That was the way they wanted it, I was told by white students, we really tried.
That was the way it started ten years ago, and it was clear that it would become worse. It wouldn't have been easy then to treat blacks as equal, but equals only; today it may be impossible. The hatred between the races is a secret that isn't whispered any more. 'Nigger' was once a word we thought of with shame. Today we hear it shouted, not from Alabama, or Arkansas, but from the cradle of liberty, Boston.
It is, today, a problem, created by the pie-in-the-sky promises of our liberals. And now that it has got out of hand, their only solution is to get out of town. But the towns remain, bankrupt, rotting, dangerous. It is a problem that can no longer be controlled by whites, in a peaceful way; when the barricades are thrown up, all of us will become William Faulkners. And there are but 30 million blacks, 200 million whites. What madness to throw up the barricades. The American blacks, contemptibly exploited and deceived by our liberal press, cannot, if the bloodshed comes, hope for even a momentary victory. The soul of America can survive, only if they now know, that they have what they were denied so long: an equal chance. .