Last night, Kamala Harris said:
[T]here was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day — and that little girl was me.
But note what Harris did not say. She did not say that, absent busing, she would not have attended an integrated school.
This, though, is the relevant issue for purposes of Harris’s attempt to tie her personal story into Joe Biden’s push for anti-busing legislation. If busing wasn’t required for Harris to attend an integrated school, then Biden’s position on busing has no relevance to the personal story she used against him.
I doubt very much that busing was required for Harris to attend an integrated school rather than a segregated one. For Harris’s neighborhood school to have been segregated, she would have had to live in an area that was either all non-white or one in which the whites all attended private school. If Harris lived in a racially integrated community, it’s highly unlikely that no whites attended the neighborhood school.
Was Harris’ neighborhood in Berkeley racially mixed? Very probably.
Last night, Harris said:
Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn’t play with us because she—because we were black.
If this happened in Berkeley, then the family had at least one white neighbor. If it happened after she moved from Berkeley to Canada, it has no relevance to America.
Moreover, both of Harris’s parents held PhDs. Her mother was a researcher at UC Berkeley’s cancer lab. Her father was an economist who was about to join the Stanford University faculty when Harris started public school. This, then, was not a poor family that would have lived in a ghetto.
Finally, Harris was careful not to claim yesterday that, but for busing, she would have attended a segregated school. That’s the impression she wanted to create, but she didn’t assert it. Why not? Probably because it isn’t true.
Students are bused to school for various reasons — some pertaining to race, others not. It’s possible that Harris was bused because officials wanted to bring the number of black students at the school to which she was transported up to a certain level. It’s also possible that the busing had nothing to do with race.
In any case, Harris is likely to move up considerably in the polls after last night, due in no small measure to the story she told about her Berkeley days. Further scrutiny is warranted into the facts surrounding those days.