Thursday, July 9, 2009

Black, Hispanic Kids Not Wanted In Pool

The young man was crying on CNN. He couldn't understand how something like this could happen today, in 2009, in the United States of America. This was the kind of thing regulated to the history books. The kind of thing his mom and dad or grandma and grandpa would relate. Not something that would happen to him.

But it did. In suburban Philadelphia. Where a group of black and Hispanic kids attending a summer camp were taken to a swim club only to be prohibited from coming again after the first visit. The kids reported that racially offensive comments were made by some of the adults at the club.

It's not that they came uninvited. The Creative Steps Day Care had paid the Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, PA to bring the kids, ages kindergarten through 7th grade, for a once-a-week dip in the pool. After the first visit the club, without explanation, refunded Creative Steps' money.

The swim club president was quoted in the local media as saying that the kids changed the "complexion" of the pool. The complexion? I haven't heard anything so dumb come out of anyone's mouth since Mark Furman testified during the OJ trial he never used the ''n" word.

I guess the good news is that what happened here is so unusual that it's making national news. There was a time in our history that these kinds of restrictions and attitudes were pervasive so kicking some black and Hispanic kids out of a pool likely wouldn't have made it to a national network. Heck, I remember as a kid traveling through the deep South and seeing separate water fountains for "coloreds" at state run highway rest stops.

But I can only imagine how traumatized those kids must be after hearing those comments and being prohibited from returning because of the hue of their skin. The so-called adults who made the decision and those who are supporting it now should be ashamed of themselves.

1 comment:

RockChik said...

Gary...TY for reporting on this issue as it is important to get the word out that racism is intollerable. I have family members who are both mixed ethnicity as well as black family members. It brought tears to my eyes that those poor children were treated that way and traumatized for life from this expierence. I can only hope that this being so rare will not be swept under the rug by the laws which are created to insure that racism will not be tollerated by our government and court systems when this case goes to trial.