Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In a "post-racial" world, black kids kicked out of a pool club

Hopefully you've already heard this, but even so, it bears repeating.

"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.

Oh, but discrimination is okay as long as white people get their fancy private clubs that can exclude minorities.

Renee over at "Womanist Musings" states:

Gee…what if all that scary Blackness rubs off? What if the white children should learn that all of the privilege that the world is intent on offering them based in the constructed idea that Blacks are inferior, is a steaming pile of bullshit? The world certainly could not survive children learning from one another and sharing experiences; that might lead to equality and we cannot possibly have that.

The club has yet to offer an apology though they have refunded the money spent by The Creative Steps Day Camp. Even if they were to apologize to the parents and the children; they could never undo the harm that their racist actions have caused. Actions like this are exactly why children of color learn to see Whiteness as good and Blackness as bad. This can have lifelong effects, and is extremely emotionally damaging.

Macon D at the blog "stuff white people do" illustrates how this recent bigotry is rooted in our racist history:

During the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, a key site of struggle for desegregation of separate-but-obviously-unequal spaces was the public swimming pool. As the Movement gained undeniable credibility with most white Americans, one particular mode of racial interaction took white Americans an extra-long time to get used to -- getting in the water with black people, and especially letting one's kids get in the water with black kids.

In many places, white-controlled pools remained segregated longer than other nearby public facilities. Private swimming pools typically stayed that way for even longer.

By now, in our supposedly "postracial" times, you might think that white discomfort with swimming alongside black people would be long gone. But if you do think that, you'd best think again.

The interviews with these kids are just heartbreaking. It's disgusting how people justify denying these children the same fun that white children get to participate in, and then sit there and marvel at our lovely post-racial world.

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macon d said...

Thanks for the nod!

It truly is an appalling (pun intended) move. And a stupid one -- that place is going to be inundated with bad publicity, and bad vibes.

Speakina which:

(215) 947-0700

FilthyGrandeur said...

no problem--i love your blog.

and thanks for that info. i will be contacting them shortly.

Loose Talk said...

Great summary of the ways the progressive blogosphere is reacting. Hopefully all of this bad press will teach them a lesson (but probably not).