Thembi, whose blog some of you probably know (What Would Thembi Do?), went to the Valley Swim Club as a black girl growing up. Her father was big on swimming. She points out some things that did not make the news:
- There are dozens of predominately white pools in the vicinity and none of them stepped up.
- A disproportionate number of the [public] pools the city chose to open are in more affluent areas.
- Did club members give stank looks at the campers over the top of their Ray-Bans when they arrived and make comments like “what are all these black kids doing here?” I’m absolutely sure of it,.. But the idea that the club itself didn’t want brown bodies contaminating the water á la 1954 is doing a disservice to real incidents of biologically-based racism that still happen.
- The club also isn’t in some posh neighborhood or particularly pricey – a summer membership is only $150 per person or so… And let’s be real: if they weren’t financially strapped they wouldn’t be offering to bring camps in at all.
- Whether the club itself has a problem with black people in droves, which in my heart I believe they do, the members certainly don’t want them there. It’s an assertion that no one can prove, but having dealt with this type of nonsense since birth black folks can sense these things and a swimming pool is the least of it. There are PLENTY of places where white people do not want us to be – schools, parks, clubs, companies…shall I go on? Expecting otherwise, even in 2009, would be naive.