Wednesday, July 08, 2009

From Post-Racial America: Black Kids Barred from Swimming Pool

Hat tip: Miranda, womanistmusings, luxuriate

From The Philadelphia News

Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"
Campers sent packing after first visit to swim club
Updated 3:01 PM EDT, Wed, Jul 8, 2009

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.

Kids at Creative Steps Day Camp were thrilled to go swimming once a week at the Valley Swim Club. But after only one trip to the private club, they were...

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.

"I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat.

Being a Black parent in America is preparing your child for the day that they will be hated and mistreated, NOT for anything that they DID..



from Jill Tubman:
If you’re mad as hell like I am, you can email, call or just go on ahead and “change the complexion” of the Valley Swim Club by showing up with picket signs. I am picking up the phone after I finish this post, y’all. Do it for the kids.

Club Phone Number: 215-947-0700
Club E-mail:


Andre said...

As much as it pains me to say, I'm torn on this one for couple of reasons:

(1) This is a private establishment. Their pools, their rules.

(2) It's stories like this that make me angry at the culture of thugs and ig-negros. I suspect the bigots who turned aways these poor black kids were doing so based on some stereotype they had about black people and how those black people would compromise their safety...stereotypes perpetuated no doubt by some of the ignorant-ass behaviors to which some of our cousins 'nem subscribe. Every time I see one of us in the news engaged in bad behavior (whether they are celebs or the average person around the block), I think to myself "How many more black people are going to get stereotyped because of this single bonehead...?"

Granted, bigots will be bigots no matter what. But these poor kids should be just as pissed at the knucklehead(s) who made them (and the rest of us) look bad before THEY even had a chance to step into a pool.

Andre said...

I hate to be the ass here, but what good will picketing do to a business that wanted to exclude black folks in the first place?

Andre said...

Though not entirely related to this post, it doesn't look like things are going to get much better for black youth in Philly. 27 public pools remain closed in the city.

Score another one for the bigots. I bet they're getting a kick out of this whole thing.

Post-racial, my ass.

Harriette Faulkner said...

The first thing I thought after reading this story online...well the second thing...was Philadelphia athletes, all those guys making those gazillion bucks, should get together and pay to have a center built for these kids...with a swimming pool.