A "Whites-Only" Pool in 2009?

News Culture
by Julie Schwietert Jul 13, 2009

What about fun for everyone? Photo: havenholidays

After the election and inauguration of Barack Obama to the US presidency, some analysts suggested Americans were entering a post-racial era. Maybe they should visit Philadelphia’s Valley Swim Club.

“A ‘Whites-Only’ Pool in 2009?” That was the subject line of an e-mail that landed in my inbox a few days ago.

According to this story from NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, black kids from the Creative Steps Day Camp visited a private pool in Philadelphia (having paid over $1,900 for the “privilege”) and were asked by pool attendants to leave because “minorities [were not allowed] in the club.”

Guess the pool administrators forgot to ask the camp leaders the race of the would-be swimmers.

In a follow up story, Valley Swim Club President John Duesler didn’t mention the pool attendants’ remarks, saying only that a comment about the kids “changing the complexion” of the club was “a terrible choice of words” that was “blown out of proportion.”

He added that the real reason the kids were asked to leave was because there were concerns about safety and the total capacity of the pool, though why such problems weren’t anticipated before both parties signed on the dotted line remained unclear.

The club has since invited campers to return, but in the interim, at least one lawsuit was filed and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission opened an investigation, scheduling a visit to the club for the end of this month.

Community Connection:

What’s the most offensive form of discrimination you’ve experienced or witnessed at home or during your travels? What did you do about it? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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