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Black Children Kicked Out of Pool

Sixty-five campers arrived from Creative Steps Day Camp in Northwest Philadelphia to the Valley Swim Club in Huntington Valley, Pa., on June 29.

A win-win situation, right? The swim club earns $1,900 and kids in need of a pool get access.

So, where did it all go wrong?

The camp kids arrived and got into the pool. Valley Swim Club member and eyewitness Jan told talk radio host Michael Smerconish that the campers were behaving nicely and were well supervised:.

"We came in as the campers were there. I joined campers with my grandson [age 6]. The children were playing. It was very crowded. ... It was important for me to watch him because there were so many children there. It was crowded, but there were at least two adult counselors. The pool had 2 lifeguards on either side of this area of the pool, which is only 3 feet deep. And there was also a supervisor who called these children out when it was time to leave. It was a very orderly dispensement. She called first for the female campers and then the male campers. It was so orderly and so well regulated both by the part of the staff of the camp and the pool, I knew of no problems.
The children were speaking so nicely with one another. They were conversing back and forth in such a nice manner. ... I don't think it would be a big problem that there were a lot of people there."

And yet, the campers endured racist comments and were disinvited from the pool:

Camper Dymire Baylor told NBC:

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child.' "

Horace Gibson, a parent of a camper told NBC that "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." And on Tuesday, the swim club's president issued a statement saying, "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club."

Valley Club now denies any racism, posting the following on its Web site:

"The Valley Club is deeply troubled by the recent allegations of racism which are completely untrue.
We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps. All funds were returned to the camps and we will re-evaluate the issue at a later date to determine whether it can be feasible in the future.
Our Valley Club deplores discrimination in any form, as is evidenced by our multi-ethnic and diverse membership. Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board.

"The kids were well-behaved and have every right to be here," swim club member Amy Goldman told The Philadelphia Daily News. "It's shameful."

While the focus is on protests at the club and investigations into the incident there by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and the state Human Relations Commission, another priority needs to be on the children who were told to leave a pool because of the color of their skin. "This is about the children and no child should have been hurt over this," said pool member Walter Pokish.

Michael Quintero-Moore, 52, of Mount Airy, told the Daily News that he's sad that children now have to deal with the treatment he thought was long gone.

If you were the parent of one of these children, how would you address the situation?

Monday Morning Update: The Associated Press is reporting that the Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley voted on Sunday to reinstate the memberships of Creative Steps and two other day camps if safety issues, times and terms can be agreed upon. The pool, the AP reports, is seeking a meeting to work out an agreement to have the children return.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 10, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  | Category:  Newsmakers
Previous: Summer Camps -- Are You or Aren't You? | Next: Swine Flu: Will You Vaccinate?

Comments


If I were a parent of one of these kids, I'd be livid. How this could happen in a country with a black President is beyond me. I thought this kind of overt discrimination had given a last cough and died a long time ago. Silly me, I guess.

Posted by: 1toughlady | July 10, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm an African-American parent, and my heart stings for these children who were forced to leave the club. If my child was one of these children, my husband and I would have a talk with our child first. What did she experience? What was said? How does she feel? From there, I'd want to talk to the counselors and other parents to determine the next course of action.

I sure hope another location offered to host the camp and the children, who are now without someplace to swim this summer.

Posted by: jhdungey | July 10, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Everyone says they want to be inclusive and reach out to diverse groups but there is very little follow-through and commitment.

Posted by: mediajunky | July 10, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Change the complexion, sounds like a RE-PUB-TRI-OTIC saying. A real Boehner.

Posted by: scac1 | July 10, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Wrong question. It's time to ask white people what they're going to do to combat their racism.

Posted by: Antoinette3 | July 10, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

jhdungey: Yes, the kids now have a place to swim. A private boarding school, Girard College, opened up its pool to the children after hearing the story.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | July 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Also remember: Smerconish is a Repug-nant sychophant of the Religious Wrong.

Posted by: bs2004 | July 10, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

To answer the question, this is like any other time that children come face to face with the ugly parts of life that we try to shield them from.

A parent or other trusted grown-up in each child's life should make sure this isn't treated as a shameful secret on the child's part and that they have the chance to talk freely about it one on one, answering their questions, making it clear the child was absolutely not at fault, and providing a simple, short explanation of what happened and how angry they are about it, without going off on a rant.

It is naive to think the children would not have run into racism at some point, although this blatant concern for the club's "complexion" is like something out of the 1950s. Whenever they encountered racism, that was the time for that conversation.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | July 10, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse


==============
==============
That's unfortunate and illegal. However, the fact is that like the disco bars in DC in the 80s, black people are just as welcome as anyone else and nobody even notices that the place is "integrated", which is as it should be.

But when the black ratio exceeds a threshold of about 50%, the whites decide to go somewhere else.

This is their personal choice. Latinos prefer to hang around Latino clubs, or at least they did in the 80's. Koreans go to Korean churches.

The pool owners are between a rock and a hard place, like the disco owners were.

In the case of discos, the owners were powerless as they watched:

--- a successful disco, then

-- blacks discover it

-- everybody's happy to have them. Latinos and asians, too.

-- more and more blacks come

-- the whites leave, not because they're "racist", but because white guys are, in general, looking for white women and white women are, in general, looking for white males.

-- the blacks males leave because there are few white women

-- the black females leave because everyone else has left

-- then the place goes out of business.

You don't like it, I don't like it, but that's what happened, over and over. The Post even did a story about it.

And it will continue happening as long as everyone's free to hang around with whoever they prefer to hang around with.

--faye kane, homeless brain.
Read more of my smartmouth opinions at http://tinyurl.com/fayescave

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | July 10, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

At the very least, they could have let the children finish their time at the pool for that day. Rushing them out and telling them to leave immediately is undignified. It's shameful this happened.

Posted by: forgetthis | July 10, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I really, really doubt they were kicked out because of their race. There are no lilywhite areas of Philadelphia, and if that was their concern, they wouldn't have been invited in the first place. No doubt what the swim club said was true. I doubt that statement about "black children" was made either. Do I see a Denny's lawsuit coming? Some people will say anything for $$$.

Posted by: ggreenbaum | July 10, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

While I think it is wrong to exclude the camp due to race (if that is truely what happened) but it is a private club. A private club can limit who can come in and who can't.

I don't see anything illegal about this.

Posted by: r6345 | July 10, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm inclined to take the club managers at their word.

After all, 65 kids is a lot of additional kids. It stands to reason that, upon seeing just how crowded the pool became, the managers reconsidered.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | July 10, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Time to review that pools tax status.

Posted by: jjgrah | July 10, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Let me see if I got this right...

1. Swim club sells service to summer camps to make an extra buck.
2. When campers show up, swim club realizes they screwed up: having that many people at the pool makes the facility crowded and uncomfortable for the rest of the paying members Even though the children are well behaved there are simply too many of them.
3. Swim club refunds the camps' money and advises them that they mis-estimated their capacity.

4. Somewhere in there a member of the swim club makes some fool comment like, "What are all these black kids doing here?"
5. National racism incident!

With 20/20 hindsight the swim club could probably have done something more generous like asking the camps to limit visits to 30 campers at a time, offering a refund on the near term visits and the option to cancel for the ones a few weeks out. They might still do so if they don't fall into the trap of a hunker-down mentality. But really, aren't we making a mountain out of a molehill here?

Posted by: Bill64738 | July 10, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

In the unlikely event this actually happened as reported, it would be horrible, but I agree with ggreenbaum in seriously doubting it. Not only does the girl's comment sound suspect (planted), but the demographics of Philadelphia would suggest this story is bogus. Something just doesn't sound right.

@ bc2004 (sic) and others: *if* true, it has absolutely nothing to do with political persuasion, and even less to do with religion. Jesus Christ, for one, certainly never taught hatred of any sort, including the variant based on levels of melanin. If you've heard otherwise, you've been grossly misinformed.

Posted by: BeauTochs | July 10, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This was straight from NBC Philadelphia's website...

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

Sad chain of events...

Posted by: duckyz1769 | July 10, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

This situation happend outside of Philadelphia's city limits. Huntingdon Valley is a EXTREMELY predominate white area.

Posted by: duckyz1769 | July 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

And from the article:

"We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps. All funds were returned to the camps and we will re-evaluate the issue at a later date to determine whether it can be feasible in the future."

Other camps were "kicked out" since they can't handle the number of kids the camps would bring.

Posted by: r6345 | July 10, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It sounds to me like there were a couple of mean-spirited people in the crowd, but the real problem was the sheer number of kids. There were definately not enough life guards for a large crowd of extra swimmers.

Its too bad the adults didn't think things through.Maybe if the inner-city kids had been split into two groups attending on different days things might have been safer and more managable.

Posted by: treadlefish | July 10, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse


Horace Gibson, a parent of a camper told NBC that "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."

sure, people actually say things like that in this day and age."We don't allow minorities"?. C'mon. I highly doubt that. Any time someone does something a minority doesn't like they cry racism and watch white people fall all over themselves try to accomodate them. The time honored crutch.

Posted by: pwaa | July 10, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm calling BS on all the posters who are trying to defend this club.

The club took money from the campers, knowing full well that 65 children would show up that day. If they didn't know before the children actually got there that their pool couldn't accomodate 65 children, they have no business running a public pool.

A member of the club has stated that although the pool was full with the campers, it was not as full as it often gets on Saturdays, which is the most popular day. A public pool has to have insurance, and they must know the capacity their pool can hold, the number of lifeguards necessary, etc. I don't buy it that it just suddenly occurred to them that the pool was getting too full, but if it did, there are other remedies besides kicking the children out of the pool and telling them not to come back.

Shame on ggreenbaum and Beau Tochs for accusing a child of lying. and Bill64738, when your child gets publicly humiliated, ask yourself if we're making a mountain out of a molehill.

Posted by: goterfunkn | July 10, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The point of this whole story, at least in my opinion, is that regardless of whether or not you believe this incident did or did not happen as reported, it's sad that in 2009, that the possibility of something like this happening still exists. Further, it seems to me that the pool manager is pretty ignorant if he thinks that his comment about the children's presence "changing the complexion of the atmosphere of the club" isn't completely inappropriate, particularly given the circumstances. I think that goes for anyone else who might not find that to be the least bit troubing.

Posted by: kscipio | July 10, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

With people like that, only money talks. VERY VERY large class action lawsuit, accompanied by BIG TIME nation-wide publicity. Public offers of counseling, from reputable therapists, for the likes of the lady who feared contact with black children would hurt her little darling. And, of course, intensive counseling for the innocent victims. And invitations from other pools to all the children to come and swim.

Posted by: higgsbosono | July 10, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I belong to a neighborhood pool in Fairfax, and we host 2 day camps at our pool. These kids are all shapes, sizes and colors. Yes, it is crowded, and the kids take a 15 minute break each hour, during which time adults can use the pool "kid-free". The pool carefully determined whether it could host the camps based on head count, number of lifeguards and camp counselors - not complexion! If the camp was too big, we would not host them. It is about safety, not skin color. And- it is a win/win. The kids have fun and the camp's fees help support our small neighborhood pool. So remember- there are pools out here who are happy to host camps!

Posted by: samney | July 10, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

How can the club claim they didn't know how many children were going to show up they accepted payment - based on what? How did the know what to charge? What did they tell their insurance? It was about race!

I wouldn't be suprised if the lifeguard made the statement they were probably young and just repeating what was told to them without realizing they shouldn't repeat the racist words.

Posted by: rlj1 | July 10, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"VERY VERY large class action lawsuit, accompanied by BIG TIME nation-wide publicity."

Really? Who would be members of that "VERY VERY large class?"

Posted by: dcd1 | July 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

So this is a diverse, multi-ethnic private club in tony suburban Philadelphia. What, they let in the Jews and the Irish?

This wasn't about overcrowding, it was 100% about skin color. Sick.

Posted by: northgs | July 10, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

In the unlikely event this actually happened as reported, it would be horrible, but I agree with ggreenbaum in seriously doubting it. Not only does the girl's comment sound suspect (planted), but the demographics of Philadelphia would suggest this story is bogus. Something just doesn't sound right.

@ bc2004 (sic) and others: *if* true, it has absolutely nothing to do with political persuasion, and even less to do with religion. Jesus Christ, for one, certainly never taught hatred of any sort, including the variant based on levels of melanin. If you've heard otherwise, you've been grossly misinformed.

Posted by: BeauTochs | July 10, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse
----------------------------------------
Its not Philadelphia, its Huntington Valley, a wealthy suburb.

Posted by: billy8 | July 10, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately racism is alive in and well in America. There is a related post at http://iamsoannoyed.com/?page_id=588

Posted by: carlyt | July 10, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I would not blame the club for the racism, unless they were explicitly or implicitly part of it.

If racist comments were a crime, most of my hometown would be in jail. That is the sad truth

Posted by: kflet3 | July 10, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if this story would have made the front page if Obama wasn't president?

Posted by: kflet3 | July 10, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"n the unlikely event this actually happened as reported, it would be horrible, but I agree with ggreenbaum in seriously doubting it. Not only does the girl's comment sound suspect (planted), but the demographics of Philadelphia would suggest this story is bogus."

Demographics have nothing to do with racism. The fact that Africa is an overwhelmingly Black continent, and South Africa was/is overwhelmingly Black, didn't stop the white minority in South Africa from implementing Apartheid.

Considering some of the nasty, racist things said about Barack Obama last year I'm amazed and amused that people claim that racism is dead.

Then again, it's mainly White people who think that.

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | July 10, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Last month on a Sunday morning I received an e-mail from a fellow church member (mailed to a church e-mail list) that was blatantly racist and asking why whites did not have the legal protections and advantages of minorities. I am a member of a traditionally liberal Protestant denomination. I blocked any subsequent e-mails from that "Christian." Racism manifests itself in strange venues. K.W. Bryson

Posted by: toshiba | July 10, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I am white. I am male. I am 56 years old. I rarely (if ever) see racism when I'm alone or with white business friends or business associates. When I'm with my black wife, black stepchildren or black grandchildren, things are different.

Of course, since I *am* a feisty, middle-aged white male, I am not at all shy about calling a redneck a [redacted] if he's being a [redacted] toward my family, and I would have no trouble showing some of those suburban wasps that, while white men may not be able to jump, many of us are perfectly capable of shoving a size-12 boot up your [redacted] when you act like a racist mother[redacted]er.

- RM

PS - Yo, racist white [redacted]holes: I didn't join the Army as a volunteer & do a lot of dirty and dangerous stuff to protect your "right" to be a stupid piece of [redacted], so stop it. Now!

Posted by: roblimo | July 10, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Very cute, dumnig. Proud of yourself, are you?

Posted by: bobsewell | July 10, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

r6345 said...
"While I think it is wrong to exclude the camp due to race (if that is truely what happened) but it is a private club. A private club can limit who can come in and who can't.

I don't see anything illegal about this."

Ever hear of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

A TRULY private club, one that restricts membership and ONLY members are allowed on the premises, is exempt from the public accommodation laws.

However, a private anything that allows the public to be on the premises MUST follow the public accommodation laws.

You go to the local hotel/motel. They allow the public to rent a room for the night. The local hotel/motel is privately owned, whether local or by a national chain. If that hotel/motel does not give a legitimate reason (no vacancy, for example) for not allowing ANYONE to rent a room, they are in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, by the way, the US Supreme Court has upheld as Constitutional.

In the case of The Valley Club, it sold a 'group membership' to an organization. It thus was stating that it allows non-members to use the facilities. It therefore is covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The ONLY way it could have legally prevented the group was for a legitimate reason, such as exceeding the posted number of people who could be in the pool at one time, such posting placed for safety, and maybe insurance concerns only. I've not seen any information on any such posting being at the pool. Therefore, if such posting was required, and it was not in place, the pool is in violation of other laws or insurance policy. If such a posting were there, and the number of people in the pool exceeded that number, the pool is/was in violation of laws and/or insurance policy, by the very fact that they allowed the children in the pool.

Or if the pool didn't know how many would be in the pool, they offered a defective contract to the group, and took money from the group.

In any event, the pool either willfully violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, violated their insurance policy, and/or violated other laws in place for safety concerns.

And the pool has incompetent management if it didn't know the capacity of the pool.

I have absolutely NO sympathy for the pool.

Posted by: critter69 | July 10, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

THIS MAKES ME ANGRY AND SICK AT THE SAME TIME.IT IS OUR JOB TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN,WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS WE AS AMERICANS,BLACK,WHITE,RED,YELLOW OR WHATEVER,PROTECT OUR CHILDREN BE THOSE CHILDREN BLACK,WHITE,RED,YELLOW OR WHATEVER.I AM BLACK AND I HAVE WHITE NEIGHBORS IN MY SUBDIVISION THAT I HAVE NEVER MET BUT I WOULD GIVE MY LIFE IN PROTECTING THEIR CHILDREN FROM HARM.It makes me sick because i am with an special unit,we are black and white and we stay alive protecting each other.I have friends in iraq black,white,yellow,you name it fighting together,dieing together.then you get jerks like those at valley swim club its so disrespectable to our troops.this is not so much an issue for black people to stand up against but more for white people to say enough is enough.racism has no place in america from no one.I would'nt stand by and do nothing if i saw some blacks mistreating an white person or stand by and watch whites mistreat an black person and do nothing.STAND UP PEOPLE AND BE HEARD,DOING NOTHING MAKES YOU JUST AS BAD.this is so disrespectable to our troops bloodlost and lives lost in the wars we are fighting.

Posted by: NOIRRIDER | July 10, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Time to out the white politicians who are a member of this club and to file some civil rights suits.
When the swim club took the $1900 to let the kids swim, they lost their racist "private" status.

As a white man, I'm appalled this still happens in the 21st Century in America.

Posted by: coloradodog | July 10, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Incredibly sad. You'd think we were still living in the days of the Jim Crowe laws. All the money in the world can't class up behavior like that. Can you say class action civil suit? I bet there is a long list of attorneys gearing up for pro-bono work on this one.

Posted by: fortheclueless | July 10, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Stacey, Your article got pinged on somebodies list, all these new posters with basically the same message is suspect.

I don't think you'll be seeing them again.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 10, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I second the comments of NOIRRIDER.

This is neither the America nor the freedoms I, too, volunteered to fight and die for in the military. The whole thing makes me sick and sorry I was such a chump in pledging "liberty and justice for all" to the wall all those years.

What hell has happened to America?

Posted by: coloradodog | July 10, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

#1. PROTECT THE CHILDREN. As hard as it become for the rest of these young lives, they must be lovingly and courageously reminded that the melanin hue of their skin does NOT make them any LESS of worthy of laughter, happiness, joy, prosperity in their world. This is the one of the worst fears any parent of a Black child has (and should have- a word of warning to Angelina Jolie and Madonna): when their child realizes and internalizes their physical difference and how the world really sees them. NOT ALL PEOPLE ARE AS UGLY AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE SWIM CLUB, BUT THERE ARE MORE COMING OUT OF THE WOODWORK!

#2- Hold the Swim Club tight and don't let go until there is a sincere and profound apology. I would like to think that there are members of this swim club that would STAND UP for these children and demand an apology...or they leave the swim club. To use words such as "complexion" and "atmosphere" is enough to make anyone livid.

#3. The Club knew WHO was coming, and HOW MANY were coming as they had a check for $1,900.00. Returning the money was nothing but a slap in the face, stating that these children were not good enough, were not the right complexion (don't even let me get into TANNING!) and the nearly two thousand greenbacks weren't enough to see children, not just Black children.

Posted by: mukazzi | July 10, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Were Malia ans Sasha Obama with them?

Posted by: rosalynneus | July 10, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

DISGRACEFUL! I feel SO sorry for those visiting kids who were made to feel unwanted and unwelcome, regardless of their good conduct and the "content of their characters". I hope they realize that those racist knuckleheads are the minority these days, not them! And I'm wondering if ANYONE has quit the club yet in protest of the obviously, undeniably racist initial reaction of the club and some of it's white members.

Posted by: flora68 | July 10, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The actual question was "If you were the parent of one of these children, how would you address the situation? "

This situation is now much more than what ever happened at the pool. It is also the local and now national media coverage and attention. I would very much admire the camp director's eloquent oratory skills- but I would also seriously question the wisdom of stirring up such a public storm with my young child at the center of it.

When my three children were younger and they came home from school or camp or simply a playmate with complaints about rude comments or hurt feelings or whatever, I would listen, I would sympathize and then I would try to teach them not to hate. Live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.... and give others the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: annieannab | July 10, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Letter from Birmingham Jail
http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/liberation_curriculum/pdfs/letterfrombirmingham_wwcw.pdf

"...when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"...

Posted by: -eyeswideopen- | July 10, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The answer is those people are idiots. Idiocy knows no color preference, and racism - being wholly founded on stupidity - is not consigned to any one race. One hard look at other countries where there are race wars going on, or a caste society, should make it clear to any observer that being a racist isn't consigned to any one race. It's the province of fools and haters globally.

Posted by: timscanlon | July 10, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

This is disgusting and incredibly damaging to those children and their community, but it's not really surprising. America's racism is alive and well, it's just not as overt as it used to be. Cultural bigotry is part of the mix here as well. In many ways it is as sickening as racism. We should be embarrassed as a nation, we are displaying our bigoted rear end for the world to behold.

Posted by: FreedomRider2 | July 11, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

After reading this story and the posted comments I'd like to add my interpretation of the events. I believe the Board made assumptions about its membership's level of acceptance that were quickly proven erroneous. They did not foresee the negative reaction and had to quickly backpedal, refunding the $ and withdrawing the invitation, lest they face revolt from within.
The notion that blacks see racism where it doesn't exist and use it as a crutch dismisses the lessons of history (as well as current events), casts us as crass opportunists (or, at the very least, overly emotional folk quick to misinterpret "innocent" comments and actions) and relieves whites of any responsibility for continuing to battle against racism.
To all those who did mental backflips trying to conjure explanations for this incident without factoring-in racism: you are fooling yourselves and your anger and outrage are misdirected. Racism has not disappeared with the election of our new President and is often expressed in ways that make us shake our heads and question if we've just seen and heard what our eyes and ears are telling us. This is just the latest example.

Posted by: freddyjay1 | July 11, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

freddyjay1; Well said! Reading back through all the posts here, it's clear that the apologists for the club are flat-out racists themselves.

After all, it isn't like this was a brand new pool and they didn’t have enough business experience to know how many kids the pool could safely accommodate. This club and its pool were opened in 1954, so the lame excuses about unanticipated over-crowding don't make any sense.The proprietors knew exactly how many children were coming (65) when they made the contract with the day camp, which they unilaterally revoked as soon as they got flack from some of their racist white members. Cowards! The camp has no leg to stand on and the members and others who continue to patronize the place are guilty of enabling racism. Their desperate attempts to cover a boneheaded move via revisionist history isn't working; they can't un-ring that bell; it's too late, they've exposed themselves and I hope they go out of business.

Posted by: flora68 | July 11, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I've read that Philadelphia's public pools have been closed, with some reopening after fundraising. To me,this is the real story, one that may arise from institutionalized racism and classism that cuts deeper than the reactions of a few white members of the private club.
Here in Chicago, where the mayor is courting the Olympics with a promise -- among other things -- to build an Olympic sized pool, at least two pools and one sprinkler park have been closed on the South Side, leaving at least one neighborhood pool to combat dangerous overcrowding.

Posted by: lorynowak | July 11, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Akron police say they aren't ready to call it a hate crime or a gang initiation.

But to Marty Marshall, his wife and two kids, it seems pretty clear.

It came after a family night of celebrating America and freedom with a fireworks show at Firestone Stadium. Marshall, his family and two friends were gathered outside a friend's home in South Akron.

Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted ''This is our world'' and ''This is a black world'' as they confronted Marshall and his family.

The Marshalls, who are white, say the crowd of teens who attacked them and two friends June 27 on Girard Street numbered close to 50. The teens were all black.

http://www.ohio.com/news/50172282.html

Posted by: votealready | July 12, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

If it's a private club, freedom of association is their right. Whether you like it or not, races prefer to associate with themselves and are comfortable with a common culture, language, world view and perspective. We choose our friends that we are comfortable around. If BET TV wishes to have events around their culture and exclude whites that's their right. Every other race has a special kinship and values maintaining that bond, it's instinctive. The government is grossly inferring with the right of natural freedom of association. Private clubs are free to discriminate for whatever reasons, that's for them to decide what type of club they want. An Asian club,A Jewish Yacht Club, or Black Firefighters Association, Whites get beat up for naturally wanting to associate with each other and made to feel shamed, we wish to also preserve our identity and culture. Its a private matter who get's into a private club, that can be based on race, gender, ethnicity. The government is becoming like a dictatorship and dangerous. No one should be telling others what race they should be forced to associate date,, marry, live with, who your kids play with, the couple you like to have dinner and socialize with.. We naturally are attracted and choose others that are like ourselves, same values, life experience, education,upbringing,demeanors, and that won’t change and can’t be forced upon a person. Stop the PC social engineering, it‘s out of control, just insane.

Posted by: usconstitution2002 | July 12, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Area in Ohio is mostly Obama supporters, and the manager who called for Blacks to leave the pool an Obama supporter, organizer. Why is this not mentioned in the article? Because this would be more evidence that Democrats are racists.

This is what Democrats do -- rely on blacks for support, votes, etc., and after the election "Okay, you were in the tent, but you're not going to be allowed in the pool."

So which party is the party of racists? The party of "separate but equal" the party of former plantation owners, the party of the KKK? Democrats.

Black voters need to realize that Republicans are supportive of blacks, democrats voted against equal rights, even incited the civil war over their right to have slaves. Remember Dixiecrats? Democrats in the south.

This is the real history of the democrat party, and how they still view blacks.

Posted by: WesMcDuff | July 13, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Huntingdon Valley is not Philadelphia. It's part of the Main Line, a group of wealthy suburbs. I grew up on the Main Line, and it is not exactly what you would call racially diverse. This doesn't surprise me at all.

Posted by: kakib | July 13, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

why is it that only black kids are mentioned in the article title? what about the hispanics and other races that were part of the camp? or does it not make a good story unless it's blacks being singled out and acted against?

I previously tried to post a somewhat lengthy perspective on the situation, coming from someone who's been a lifeguard at a similar swim club while summer camps have used the facility. Turns out my explanation pretty much justified the club's choice of action. Too bad if that were the case racism couldn't be cried at the club.

Posted by: gregk13 | July 13, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it just possible that the concern on the part of the members of the private club, who had certainly paid dearly to be a member of said club, was that hosting 65 kids was going to change the atmosphere that they had paid to enjoy? If I joined a club on the premise of having an uncrowded pool to swim in and arrived to find 65 children in the pool, I might ask a question or even lodge a complaint. But a story like that doesn't sell papers or get TV news viewers all fired up. Hmmm.

Posted by: margaret6 | July 14, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

To whom it may concered:

When I was in school I had some friends and 1 was a black girl. We are all God's children. We have red blood come out of us
no matter what color we are. God made us so I thing all the folks and the president of the pool place should really say they are really sorry. When they took the money they new how many was going to be they and then tell them to get out was a very wrong thing to do. If the kids need cousel the pool place should half to paid for it and ever which person may a comment about the black children should half to help the pool person paid for the cousenl to and if one of the lifeguard said something to some of the black children they should help paid for the cousenl to. I live near blacks and they don't bother nobody. I am not a racist. I do know a person that is racist. They just need praying for. All the ones that got they children out of the pool should half to help pay for cousnel if those children need it.

Posted by: angelbear1 | July 14, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I think it is outrageous that this organization is being portrayed as racist. What about the lack of control the "director" had on the children? If one of the children had gone to the deep end and drowned there would be a negligence lawsuit. I wish my swim club would not allow certain children's clubs access to the pool. Their behavior is disturbing yet if I complain, I am being racist. Call it what you will, bad behavior is not limited to certain colors but you can't ignore the behavior simply because of the color of the people acting out.

Posted by: mch820 | July 15, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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