Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Madness: Black kids kicked out of the pool because, well, they're too dark.

Back in the day when D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince did the song "Summertime", you got the impression that the city of Philadelphia was a pretty nice place in those dog days of summer. Listening to that song today still brings back nostalgic moments and a yearning for the days long gone bye. If only you knew what I'd give to be a kid again. Well, it would seem that though those days are long gone for us, there are still kids full of life and promise who are devoid of grown up issues:

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.

"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,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"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."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.

"I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"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.

While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat. [source]

Nah, this can't be real; this doesn't sound like the Philly Will Smith was rhyming about back in the day. This isn't the summer fun he spoke of; summer madness maybe. This is the type of thing I'd expect from Philadelphia Mississippi and not the one in Pennsylvania. Yeah I know the murder rate and the Black on Black crime is rampant there; and yes, our really light-skinned brothers and sisters may be leary of that. Yes, the last thing you'd want is to be caught up in some underwater shootout. But damn, did they really have to kick those poor kids out of the pool? Did they think the water was going to change color? Change the atmosphere? Change the complexion? I gotta admit, these code words sure have come a long way.


Dang, no wonder Black folks don't swim.

Oh well, there's always basketball hoops in the hood.



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