In April 1974, Professor Lawrence G. Felice of Baylor University presented a paper at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Felice was at the conference representing the National Center for Educational Research and Development (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare). His paper was titled “Busing, Desegregation and Student Self-Concept.”
Felice found that the No. 1 shared trait among black students who reacted well to busing was a high IQ. Black students who did well in a white school were the ones who’d been bullied as “toms” in their black school. Black students with low IQs and a hostility to whites fared better, grade-wise, in black schools. In a landmark desegregation study by the late Nigerian-American anthropologist and professor Dr. John Ogbu, the author recounts an interview with a bused black student who told his school counselor why he plays dumb around his black friends: “I don’t want ’em to know I’m smart. They’ll make fun of me. I won’t have any friends. Where I live, they’re gonna say I’m white.”
Author and producer Tanner Colby (The Daily Show With Trevor Noah) detailed this harm in his Andrew Carnegie Medal-nominated book, Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America: Before desegregation, “acting white” was a phrase no one had ever heard with regard to school involvement or academics. Yet in the wake of busing, it rose to become one of the most hurtful insults one black student could level at another. Talking white, dressing white, being enthusiastic about anything “white” was forsaking one’s own. Colby highlights the case of one high-performing black student who was bused along with his peers to a white school: I was discriminated against more by people of my own color than I ever was by white people…. I can’t actually pinpoint an incident where a white person ever called me a nigger. I’m sure it happened, but I can’t say it was any one time. The black kids were harsher. They would say stuff to my face.
The worst part of the day for most students, black or otherwise, were the bus rides. An hour-plus each way of unsupervised hell. If you’ve ever been bullied at school or in the yard, where alert adults are often present, just imagine how much worse it would be when you can’t get away from your tormentors and the only adult is the driver, who is usually elderly or female and can’t see or hear what is going on behind them, assuming they even care, which is not what they are getting paid for. Democrats may want to bring back busing, but you can bet that the students might prefer to riot.