Buttigieg's Example of 'Racism Built Into the Roadways' Has People Wondering if He's Okay

Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP

Democrats have been pitching division and trying to view everything through the lens of race.

But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s effort to try to do that today in regard to infrastructure had people wondering if he was okay.


It started off with a question from CNN political analyst April Ryan about removing the racism from the roadways. “Can you give us the construct of how you will deconstruct the racism that was built into the roadways? … Can you talk to us about how that could be deconstructed?” Buttigieg’s response was something else.

Buttigieg’s response included this crazy part:

“If an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach, […] in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices.”

I have a few questions. How does the underpass know what race the kids in the bus are? Does it fluctuate and rise higher for the white kids if there are white kids on the bus? It’s safe to say that his comment is getting ratioed on Twitter because it’s just a bit nuts.

But there’s actually a backstory to that crazy comment. Buttigieg appears to be referencing the claim in a 1974 book called “The Powerbroker” by Robert Caro about master builder Robert Moses — about Moses making the underpasses low to prevent people of color from getting to Jones Beach in New York. But that was debunked, as Bloomberg explains.


And contrary to a claim in The Power Broker, Moses clearly meant buses to serve his “little Jones Beach” in the Rockaways—Jacob Riis Park. While oriented mainly toward motorists (the parking lot was once the largest in the world), it is simply not true that New Yorkers without cars were excluded. The original site plan included bus drop-off zones, and photographs from the era plainly show buses loading and unloading passengers. “Bus connections with the B.M.T. and I.R.T. in Brooklyn,” reported the Brooklyn Eagle when the vast seaside playground opened 80 years ago this summer, “make the park easily accessible to non-motorists.”

Further, Bloomberg notes:

Low-slung and clad in ashlar stone, the bridges were essential to parkway stagecraft—part of a suite of details meant to create a sense of romantic rusticity. The parkway was just that—a way through a park. It was designed to both literally and figuratively remove you from the city, a Central Park for the motorist. Berms and lush plantings screened off-site views disruptive of the reverie, creating an almost cinematic impression of driving through a vast pastoral landscape.

As leisure and recreation infrastructure—park before way—commercial traffic was excluded on all the early American parkways. This meant not only trucks, but buses. Banning big, noisy commercial vehicles was essential to the aesthetics of the parkway, and had nothing to do with racial discrimination. There would have been no need to use the bridges on the Southern State as barricades of a sort; buses were not allowed on this or any other state parkway in the first place.


So this reveals an even bigger problem with the Biden Administration and Mayor Pete’s knowledge. Doesn’t he know this story was debunked? Why is he relying on it as a justification? Do they know the real reason in many places for low-slung over/underpasses?

This is like Attorney General Merrick Garland’s failure to provide any data for his decision to open a federal effort into parents criticizing school boards. Members of Congress asked for that data and Garland failed to provide it. Buttigieg similarly uses a false example as part of his justification for federal action.

But here’s another thing that this question reveals. They’re not just talking about taking care of roads that need repair. That would be logical and necessary. But logical and necessary are not watchwords of the Biden Administration.
Listen to what Buttigieg is saying. They’re looking at potentially completely redesigning roadways and neighborhoods for “equity” reasons. That’s an incredibly expensive and vast endeavor, from an Administration that doesn’t seem to have any idea of what it is talking about. And if you’re attending to that and using money for that, you’re not using it for the roadways or bridges that are actually collapsing.


The mind boggles as to what chaos they could cause with that attitude, all in the name of “equity.”


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