Racism at the Swim Club

Sheri Reed
6

swimming pool, racism, racial discriminationI gasped audibly when I read this recent news story: "Swim club accused of racial discrimination against kids" on CNN.

Reportedly, some children from a Philadelphia-area daycare center, which had contracted to use a private swim club once a week, were treated to racist comments, and then the club canceled their swimming privileges.

What? Are you kidding me?

Senator Arlen Specter's letter to the swim club president said, "I think that you would agree that there is no place for racism in America today." Wow, how true and how eloquently put. But not quite the language I would have used in my letter.

Some kids from the the Creative Steps Day Care center overhead members of the Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania asking why African-American children were swimming there.

A few days later the club returned the daycare center's check without any explanation.

When CNN attempted to talk to the Club President John Duesler, he had no comment and asked CNN to leave the club. However, Duesler told two Philadelphia television stations that the children had changed "the complexion" and "atmosphere" of the club.

Yikes!

Some club members, however, argued it was an issue of overcrowding and a shortage of lifeguards that caused the complaints, not the race of the children. "As general members, we were not told that [the kids] were coming," said member Jim Flynn. "If we knew, we could decide to not come when the pool was crowded or come anyway. We could have had an option."

Hmmm, that's not what your club president said...

What an awful story. What do you think when you hear stories like this in 2009?

Read More