Thursday, July 09, 2009

White country club folks renege on agreement to allow black and brown kids to use their pool in Pennsylvania

UPDATE July 13, 2009: The swim club in the story below now wants to make amends. They realized it would be classier to go ahead and honor their contract to allow 90 black and Hispanic kids to use their pool for an hour and a half a week for a few weeks than to abruptly cancel the agreement upon seeing the kids. Member Amy Goldman apparently explained this to the directors. But will the kids want to come back? Silvia Carvalho says no. Her nine-year-old daughter Araceli "has already said so. She doesn't want people to look at her the same way." --from Huffington Post

Also see NBC News

Here's a thoughtful analysis of what happened:
By Ronnie Polaneczky
Philadelphia Daily News

Obviously, there might be less here than meets the eye. Having seen The Valley Club, I can say that its pool is a good size, but not huge. Perhaps 65 children entering the pool, en masse, does indeed overwhelm its quiet feel.

So, maybe race, for some members, has nothing to do with why Creative Steps was kicked out.

Maybe they're just greedy.

Maybe they're just too greedy to give up 90 minutes per week - just 90 lousy minutes - to make 65 children happy for the summer.

Maybe they're too greedy to say, "This camp thing isn't working the way we'd hoped. But let's ride it out, just for this year."

Y'know, for the kids.

Private Pool Bans Minority Campers

July 9, 2009

Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a predominantly white Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling other kids out of the water, a day camp director said, and the state is investigating.

The Creative Steps camp in northeast Philadelphia had contracted for the 65 children at the day camp to go each Monday afternoon to The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley, camp director Alethea Wright said Thursday. But shortly after they arrived June 29, she said, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.

View more news videos at:

"A couple of the children ran down saying, 'Miss Wright, Miss Wright, they're up there saying, "What are those black kids doing here?'''" she said.

The gated club is on a leafy hillside in a village that straddles two townships with overwhelmingly white populations. It says it has a diverse, multiethnic membership.
Wright said she went to talk to a group of members at the top of the hill and heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children in kindergarten through seventh grade, did not return.

"Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded," Wright said. "Only three members left their children in the pool with us."

Several days later, the club refunded the camp's $1,950 without explanation, said Wright, who added that some parents are "weighing their options" on legal action...

Club president John Duesler told Philadelphia television station WTXF that several club members complained because the children "fundamentally changed the atmosphere" at the pool but that the complaints didn't involve race.

In a statement released on its Web site Thursday afternoon, the club called the allegations of racial discrimination "completely untrue" and claimed overcrowding from more than one outside camp was the problem.

The club said it "deplores discrimination."

[Maura Larkins comment: That's easy to say, and obviously false. If the club deplored discrimination, it would not have done what it did.]

...Amy Goldman said she's been a member of the club for two years. She said the pool wasn't particularly crowded and the children from Creative Steps were "well behaved and respectful."...

No comments: