So I’m doing my normal scroll through The Drudge Report when I spotted a story that actually had to do with a subject not pertinent to white, Republican, rich males. SHOCK: 60 black kids kicked out of Philly pool; Might ‘Change the Complexion’…
Well, being an African-American swimmer who has competed (and won) many races where swimming is essential (code word: I’m a triathlete) I was immediately curious about this story.
Turns out the Creative Steps Day Camp in Philadelphia paid nearly $2,000 to private swim club Valley Swim to allow their 60 day campers to swim there during the summer. The kids showed up as planned on Monday and all hell broke lose.
White patrons were heard complaining about the “black kids,” in the pool. Day camp parents complained that when their children entered the pool all the “Caucasian children immediately exited the pool.” (He’s so articulated).
Then, according to a parent visiting the club with the kids, pool attendants told all the kids to leave. The invitation to exit was followed with the return of the day camp’s check and a rescind of the club’s offer to allow the kids to swim there.
As a former day camp counselor to more than 30 inner city kids and an excellent swimmer this story hits me kind of hard. I know how difficult it is to get African-American kids interested in swimming. And that’s really a shame because it’s a life and death issue because black kids drown at 3 times the rate of white kids. So any program that includes swimming in its curriculum I’m stoked for it.
Many have made this incident the fodder for old civil rights haunts. The case of the rich, white club versus the poor, hapless Negroes. But as usual the media misses the real story. What I find particularly intriguing is that a lot of people commenting about this story automatically assume that the black kids were wrong.
People (both black and white) have fallen for the black pathology that says that blacks are inherently unruly, unlawful and unaccommodating; and are willing to blame the kids for this debacle.
No one knows the true reason why the children got asked to leave and were asked never to return. Yet what could they have done that was so egregious to warrant a rescinding of the club’s invitation? Remember the club didn’t kick them out for the day, or punish them for bad behavior as most pools would do. They gave them a ONE strike policy. Even murderers in California get THREE times to mess up before they’re doom.
This query coupled with the fact that the director actually said in a statement, “
"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.’”
Talk about poor choice of words.
When I was a camp counselor for my neighborhood park I certainly met my share of unruly children. My group – 6,7&8-year-old boys – were so notoriously riotous that even the older male counselors wouldn’t take them. Yet with me and a some good firm standards and discipline with love – mostly attention and hugs – they learned to behave. They were crowned the best behaved group of the camp in fact. They learned that they couldn’t act a fool and expect to get rewarded?
Is this the lesson the 60 kids learn from Valley Swim Club? I do not think so.
As the Bard would say, there’s something rotten in Denmark and I think it has more to do with fear than with etiquette.