“I did not oppose busing in America.”
— Joe Biden
Biden did oppose busing, though the issue is a bit complicated.
Biden’s spokesman, Bill Russo, recently told our colleague Matt Viser that the former vice president still believes he was right to oppose busing, and that he did so because he did not believe it was the best way to integrate schools.
“He never thought busing was the best way to integrate schools in Delaware — a position which most people now agree with,” Russo told our colleague. “As he said during those many years of debate, busing would not achieve equal opportunity. And it didn’t.”
As Viser reported, Biden said in a 1975 interview in a Delaware-based publication named People Paper:
“I oppose busing. It’s an asinine concept, the utility of which has never been proven to me,” he said. “I’ve gotten to the point where I think our only recourse to eliminate busing may be a constitutional amendment.”
Biden recognized that such comments could prompt some to lump him in with racists. “The unsavory part about this is when I come out against busing, as I have all along, I don’t want to be mixed up with a George Wallace,” he said, referring to the segregationist governor of Alabama.
“The real problem with busing,” he said, was that “you take people who aren’t racist, people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity, and you stunt their children’s intellectual growth by busing them to an inferior school . . . and you’re going to fill them with hatred.”
He contended that being bused, while bad for white students, hurts black children, too. An African American child is sent to a white school in a wealthy neighborhood, then “back to the ghetto. How can he be encouraged to love his white brothers? He doesn’t need a look at ‘the other side,’ he needs the chance to get out of the ghetto permanently,” Biden said.
For more, read the full Washington Post article.