BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Ethical Union, meeting in Assembly, on April 21, 1972 adopts as its position on the current busing controversy, the following statement,* and we urge other Americans to join with us in supporting these principles.
The intrusion of President Nixon as a partisan in the current attack on the busing of children presents grave problems for the nation. It is a threat to the hope of a more democratic quality education for our children. It is a setback to the Movement for civil rights and better race relations. It means increased separatism by black and white, and the increasing division of the nation. It means a weakening of Constitutional authority and the Bill of Rights for all and principle of equal protection of the laws.
The commitment to equal protection and equal opportunity for all were given decent and honest expression in the U.S. Supreme Court decision of May 1954: "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
The patterns of housing segregation throughout most of the nation and especially in the northern states make for segregated schools. White children and black children grow up without the benefits of knowing each other, without the shared experiences which are possible in racially balanced schools.
The arguments of the evils of busing sound hollow indeed when we acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of children ride miles to school- every day in public buses and trains, in school buses and private buses and car pools and private cars. This is unavoidable in rural districts and wherever there are consolidated school districts. It is inevitable in urban areas where children have to attend special schools, schools for children that are handicapped or have special problems, children who are tutored and interested in specialized areas in the arts, sciences, industrial training, children who attend parochial or private schools. But, in addition, there is a strange silence about the hundreds of thousands of children who are bused out of their neighborhoods and districts every day for the purposes of segregation. To all this there has never been objection. The busing issue is raised only where it is used to achieve racial balance.
White racism has led to black separatism. Neither is good for the future of this nation. The issue of busing matters not just to minority groups or the poor. It is an issue which brings us all face-to-face with the question of the nation's future, There is no escape. Either we bring about greater unity and cooperation between the people who make up this nation or we shall be torn into factions and fractions, black and white, rich and poor. And with this a division arid conflict and weakening and wasting of our strengths and the erosion and destruction of our most precious heritage and reason for being. We have always had a problem of interpreting and living by the Constitution and the basic principles of freedom and equality for all. Do we today believe in rights for all? Do we mean to abide by our court decisions whether we like them or not and will we sustain them even against our own prejudiced and vested interests? The Constitution and the laws and the courts and the hope of a better life for all our people is at stake.
Our children are our future citizens. They will eventually have to work out the problems of the American nation as a civilization and the nation's survival. as a member of a family of nations in a peaceful global community. The domestic and international problems which the children and youth of this generation will have to face will require every bit of talent and intelligence and team work of which they are capable. It will require the trust and unity and cooperative efforts of all of them regardless of their difference of color and ethnic origin, creed and class. A nation divided and torn by fear and hate and violence cannot survive in competition with the other nations and rising peoples of new-born nations. The natural resources and productive power of America will not be enough to assure survival. The quality of relationships within the nation will determine whether this nation is able to survive. it will determine whether this nation is fit to survive.
Whatever his personal views, Mr. Nixon as President has violated basic democratic principles in defying the Supreme Court on the question of busing children to school. His action stands in stark contrast to the position of President Eisenhower on the issue of the courts and school desegregation.
Source: AEU 64th Annual Assembly Memo [job07scan]
Use your browser's "Back" button to return to the Search Results page
Click to go back to "AEU Resolutions" main page
Copyright © 2001 American Ethical Union.
E. ACTION REPORTS | DIALOGUE | SEARCH | LIBRARY HOME | AEU HOME | CONTACT US | ADMIN LOGIN