Making a federal case out of a mole hill

Posted: Sep 01, 2006 12:00 AM
Making a federal case out of a mole hill

Racism, bigotry and discrimination have been completely eliminated in the United States of America. There is no more racial injustice to be found. Because when the FBI is summoned to a small town in Louisiana to investigate an allegation of a school bus driver making black children ride in the back of the bus, there must be no serious instances of race-related problems left.

I’ll spare you all the specific details of this preposterous situation. I can sum up what happened, based on numerous news reports, in one sentence: a white female veteran school bus driver told some black students who were some of the last ones to get on the school bus and were new students to take a couple of seats in the back.

That’s all in takes in 2006 America for all hell to break loose.

When word got back to some of the parents that the children were told to sit in the back of the bus, they went ballistic. Demands were made for the bus driver to be fired. The NAACP came riding into town, and Al Sharpton’s organization, never wanting to be left out of a good racial brawl, wound up smack dab in the middle of the mess.

The Justice Department was notified, and now the FBI, evidently running out of murders, rapes and kidnaping cases to investigate, began interviewing all the participants to find out if the children’s civil rights were violated.

I’m sure it will just be a matter of days before the multi-million dollar lawsuits are filed.

Evidently, a lot has changed since I went to school on a yellow bus. Back then, only the cool kids rode in the back. After all, those were the coveted seats, the ones farthest away from the driver and the place where the most fun could take place.

I suppose there is the possibility that the school bus driver, a 20 year veteran of ferrying children of all races to school each weekday, was simply pining away for the days of racial segregation and just suddenly decided that blacks should drink out of particular drinking fountains again, enter restaurants through different entrances, and begin riding in the back of the bus once more.

But I highly doubt it.

The more likely scenario is that the woman, who is said to be absolutely devastated by the allegation, doesn’t view children as white, black or Hispanic. She sees kids as kids, children of all races that she has carefully and safely driven to and from school for two decades.

The school superintendent said a bizarre thing to reporters who are clamoring over this story. She explained that the driver said there was no intent to segregate, just an attempt to seat late arriving children in empty seats in the back. But nevertheless, “Whatever the reasons, there will be absolutely no tolerance of this.”

No tolerance of what? Black children seated in the backs of school buses? Ever? Is that only the last row of the bus, or maybe the last three rows? Should only white schoolchildren sit in the back rows so that the black kids don’t have to be traumatized and have their civil rights viciously ripped away by some evil, white bus driver?

I’m not identifying the town in Louisiana or the name of the school bus driver. That community, and this woman, have already been smeared enough.

But a country that features Black Entertainment Television, Miss Black America pageants, and more recently, a reality TV show that pits one race of teammates against another race, ought to decide once and for all if we want to segregate or not.

Personally, I prefer a nation of united Americans. I’m sick of affirmative action quotas, the phrase “African-American”, and the ever-present race-baiters like Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

The real racists are people who want to demonize little old ladies who drive school buses while ignoring real instances of bigotry.

No one really believes that racism doesn’t exist. Of course there are still narrow-minded, ignorant people who hate someone because of the color of their skin. But we’ve come a long way since the days of Rosa Parks, the brave woman who stood up to segregation.

Sadly, making a federal case out of an apparently innocent act like this one takes us right back there.