Did you know that 58% of Black children can't swim? Did you know that Black children drown three times more often than white children?
These statistics would lead me to conclude that it is important for young Black children to learn how to swim. My two youngest take swimming lessons. They are both in summer programs that include weekly visits to community pool. They just returned from a trip to Jamaica where they enjoyed snorkling, swimming and just playing in the water.
Perhaps I wouldn't have these opportunities if we lived in Philadelphia.
60 young campers (mostly Black) from the Creative Steps Day Camp were kicked out of a private pool club because members didn’t want their children swimming with Black children. The Valley Club revoked the day camper’s membership after finding out they were minorities and offered a refund.
"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."
America has never been comfortable with desegregated swimming pools. Why is that? Personally, I think that the fear of white women bathing with Black men is the root cause of this dysfunctional behavior by places like The Valley Club.
"Swimming pools were really the most intensely contested public space," said Jeff Wiltse, a University of Montana historian who studied municipal pools, where deep-seated emotions often created tortured logic to justify continued segregation.
Wiltse found that Blacks and whites routinely swam together in the late 1800s and early 1900s. That changed when the migration of large numbers of rural Southern Blacks to Northern states triggered a squeamishness among whites over sharing a pool with them.
The professed concern appeared to involve hygiene, and a notion that poor Blacks coming from a farming background would have lower standards of cleanliness. Even in public schools, swimming remained segregated long after all other scholastic activities were integrated.
Whatever ... it ain't right and we need to ensure that the folks at the Valley Club in Philadelphia pay a price for unleashing this racist behavior in 2009.
I encourage all villagers to contact The Valley Club. Ask to speak with club president John Duesler. Express your outrage!
Valley Swim Club
22 Tomlinson Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Club Phone Number:
I've shared my thoughts on this issue. What say u?