Michael E. Haynesis minister of Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts, and a black, native Bostonian. He serves as senior member of the Massachusetts Parole Board, and is on the board of Gordon college. He also served three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Busing is not the real issue in Boston, as I believe is also true in other sectors of our nation. Since I know the Boston situation personally, I will use it as my focal point.
First, the problem is racism. Certain minorities are not wanted, not liked, and/or feared. Many bugaboos, superstitions, and stereotypes have been resurrected, if they ever were dead, against blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities.
Second, some people have found the issues of integration and busing advantageous. Because of greed and overt political ambition, they are willing to exploit the school situation for their own self-aggrandizement and political advancement.
Third, too many flame-feeders wanted to keep the busing crisis alive because they have profited by it, particularly in overtime pay, while the situation remained heated. That is the economical issue.
Psychologically, the cost of busing cannot be measured: the drop-outs who ultimately may become wards of the state, on welfare or in prisons; the still birth of possible doctors, teachers, scientists, and useful citizens. Economically, it cost Boston in the first fourteen months some $25 million to correct this evil situation consciously and deliberately perpetuated by certain city fathers and mothers over the past decades. Some 1,800 police are diverted from other duties as they continue to maintain surveillance over children, school personnel, buses, and buildings. Over $7 million has been expended in police overtime to date. The outlay of public money continues to soar for additional school personnel, bus monitors, civilian school security people, and trouble-shooters.
For decades children in Boston and elsewhere have been bused without bitter opposition. And evangelical churches across the country are developing bus ministries. Old and young are bused across all kinds of neighborhood and town boundaries, in and out of color, caste, and class ghettoes to attend Sunday schools, worship services, and mid-week church programs. Why is that right and school busing for integration wrong?
Boston symbolizes part of the great tragedy of America. And we are celebrating “liberty and justice for all,” our Bicentennial. God forbid that because of our selfishness and innate hatreds, our unwillingness to love our neighbors as ourselves, our failure to recognize, redress, and rectify evils too long perpetrated and tolerated, our Bicentennial celebration becomes a death watch at the bedside of a sick, decaying nation that refused to do that which is right in the sight of God.
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