The Making of an American Trav
The Making of an American Trav by TRAVIS LEBLANC for UNZ Review
I’m not going to claim that I have been totally 1488 from day one or that I came goose-stepping out of the womb. But I think I have always been instinctively and intuitively a race realist. Or at least, I have been since around the age of 8. The first black person I ever met was this kid named Scooter when I was in kindergarten. This would have been in the early 80s.
Scooter wasn’t his real name. It was a nickname whose origin was shrouded in mystery. It was what his family called him and what he preferred to be called over his real name, which was one of those newfangled exotic black names. Scooter was the only black kid in my grade and one of maybe 6 black kids in my otherwise entirely white elementary school. His dad was a doctor and his family was loaded.
Scooter was on my soccer team. He was a genuinely nice kid and well-liked by everyone. A real credit to his race. If anything, all the white kids were intensely fascinated by him. Before Scooter, most of us had only ever seen black people on TV, and seeing one in real life was something new. We knew little about blacks, but we knew that they tended to be good at sports and so we hoped that having a genuine black person on our team might give us some kind of edge over the competition. Scooter would be our secret weapon. It didn’t turn out like that. Scooter was not a significantly better athlete than the rest of us and we lost every game that year.
I was briefly friends with Scooter and went to his house once. Very nice place, and his collection of Star Wars toys dwarfed even mine. However, while we were in the same grade, we ended up in different classes, and so we quickly drifted apart through no fault on either side.
My first impression of blacks was, therefore, actually quite positive. Had I remained in that sleepy little Kansas town where my interactions with blacks were limited to the middle-class children of talented 10ths, my worldview today might be very different than it is now. But at the end of 2nd grade, something happened that would change my life forever. My dad sat us down and told us that he had been transferred at his job and we were all moving to St. Louis. The next three years would radically and irreversibly change my perspective on race and I would never be the same again.
Let’s talk about desegregation bussing.
Once upon a time, American schools were racially segregated. But then segregation ended, and black kids were allowed to start going to the white schools. There was a lot of hope that if the black kids could learn around the white kids at the “good schools” with the “good teachers,” maybe the white people’s good habits would rub off on the black kids. Well, the joke was on them! Once the blacks started going to white schools, white flight kicked in, and within a few years, all the schools de facto segregated again.
So their solution to the problem was desegregation bussing. If whites were going to run from the black kids, well, they were just gonna bring the black kids to them. So they started bussing “underprivileged” black children from the war-torn ghettos out to the lily-white suburbs. In some cities, the opposite also occurred: in addition to bussing black kids to white schools, they also bussed unlucky random white kids out to inner-city schools so they could serve as role models for the black kids there. In some cities this was compulsory, a deeply unpopular practice called “forced bussing.”