Americans more vehemently oppose mandatory school desegregation than almost all other policies recently advanced by the federal government. The degree of fury, fear, and physical violence attendant upon "forced busing" seems all out of proportion to the actual, rather simple, fact of assigning and transporting children away from one public school and to another. School desegregation therefore provides an invaluable window for looking through the opaque wall of conventional civilities into the complex interior of American race relations.

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