BUSING by Thomas J. Cottle


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As one anti says to Cottle ""it's like America against Germany"" and there's no room for neutrals in the communities in which busing has become ""the password question."" Neither schools nor misused children nor race is a new topic for Cottle, so busing's a subject made just for him and his ubiquitous tape recorder. Characteristically, his first tenet is ""there is no enemy."" The administrator who thinks that busing's ""got to stack up as the number one error ever made, maybe in the history of mankind"" and the black teacher who calmly points out that nobody squawked about busing black kids (or rural kids or private school kids) get equal time and equal sympathy. Sympathy is Cottle's long suit; in his book, everyone is a victim. He assumes that busing arouses primordial passions and that a person's entire life experience determines which side of the barricades he's on. Is it a racial or a class issue? It is something the rich liberal politicians are trying to ram down the throats of working people (""the children are hostages. . . the government has taken a bunch of hostages"" says one gym teacher) or is it fear of the niggers pure and simple? Cottle perceives, unhappily, that ""the matter of busing has ignited the impulse to engage in racial war,"" yet he wants above all to keep the lines of communication open. Which makes the book affecting, but something of a cop-out.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1976
Publisher: Beacon