Usually when you see “No Swimming” signs, it’s because the water isn’t safe for swimmers, not because the swimmers are the wrong color. That’s so … 50 years ago. Or is it?
According to a report by NBC Philadelphia, more than 60 campers from the northeast part of the city were recently turned away from a private swim club because they happened to not be white.
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“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 $1,900 to The Valley Swim Club for the privilege of swimming in its private pool. The club advertises open membership, but that didn’t seem to be the case when the Creative Steps campers arrived.
“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.”
“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.
Thankfully, Girard College, a private boarding school in Philadelphia, stepped in to redeem the situation. So, though the Creative Steps campers experienced the ugly sting of bigotry, they also encountered the beauty of compassion and acceptance — an invaluable summer-camp education, for sure.
The Valley Swim Club is now under investigation for racial discrimination.
Thanks to Gina Dalfonzo at The Point for bringing this story to our attention.