Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"

In another thread, I posted a couple links about Iceland’s issues with race. But the US is certainly not blameless in that department. This seems to be another news story about our ongoing problems.

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.

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.


Oh my, what a shocker. As much as we Americans like to think we have beaten racism, it is still out there. Even as we proudly point to the first black man in the highest office in our nation, King’s dream is still not quite fulfilled.

“There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club,”

On the other hand, there is a possibility that the situation is misreported or overblown. After all, those ellipses left in the statement mean that a significant number of words have been removed from the quoted text. Let us remember that there are at least two sides to every story.

For my part, I hope that things are not quite as bad as they seem.

Wow. Just. Wow. So much for “brotherly love” eh?

That’s disgusting.

I thought this was a Michael Jackson joke at first.

Their e-mail is info@thevalleyclub.com . Tell them personally what you think!

Here is what I sent:

Didn’t people like you die out over the last 40 years? How the hll does anyone still think the way you do, or actually think you are going to get away with telling black kids they can’t swim in your pool because they will “change the complexion” of your club?!

The best revenge in the world would be for all of your lily white, blue eyed blonde, superior race daughters to bring home black, asian, and hispanic boyfriends, and your sons vice-versa, and all your grandchildren to be “half breeds.” I’m sure you would all cut them out of your wills and die alone, choking on your bile.

I’m sure from my German last name, and my Irish heritage, that you people wouldn’t even consider my family white enough. Your ancestors were probably the ones who put “Irish need not apply” signs in their shop windows and wrote up the urban real-estate preference lists that made sure that my ancestors could not buy houses in decent neighborhoods, who b****ed about Micks, WOPs, and Krauts contaminating your cities.

I hope your club ends up closed down by public outrage.*

I mean, seriously, there is no way to assume a best intention here, or to assume a charitable motivation. These people are perpetrating evil, and they deserve commentary like that.

This happened in Philadelphia?

Yes. The Valley Swim Club is in Northeast Philadelphia.

Yes, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information at present.

Repeated attempts to reach club President John Duesler and other club officers were unsuccessful. A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter was asked to leave the club premises when he asked for a comment.


The president of the Valley Club, John Duesler, told Fox 29 by phone the club “underestimated the impact the children would have.” He said they “fundamentally changed the atmosphere” at the pool.

But Duesler insisted race “had nothing to do with the decision” to rescind the agreement. He did admit several club members had complained, but insisted none of those complaints involved race.


At first I thought the article was something about tanning during swimming, but this story is awful.

As horrible as this incident is, there is some good news. Girard College, a private Philadelphia boarding school for children who live in low-income and single parent homes, has offered use of their pool.

“We had to help,” said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. “Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience.”

The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more – especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim at Valley Swim Club.

“I’m so excited,” camp director Alethea Wright exclaimed. There are still a few logistical nuisances – like insurance – the organizations have to work out, but it seems the campers will not stay dry for long.


Why is anyone surprised?
The whole purpose of a private club or an “exclusive” neighborhood is to get away from them. Of course the white kids’ reaction was “What the hell are they doing here?” Their parents are paying good money for a Negro-free zone, damnit.

The same thing goes on somewhat with municipal pools. Around here some towns don’t like “city kids” (identifiable by complexion) using their pools. Different towns/villages have attempted banning non-residents, fees for non-residents and getting the CDTA to abolish the stops near the pools.

I belong to a private swim club and I’d be ticked if they sold memberships to a bunch of kids without their parents. When parents are around, everything stays orderly. When they’re dumped as a group, you get a mess, and I want order.

I’m not very fond of the church groups having their parties there either, my calming pool becomes a frantic party, because, it’s a bunch of kids with just a few chaperones.

I joined the club after taking my son to a public pool and being overwhelmed with the bullies and a woman who appeared to be wearing 3 band-aids for a bathing suit. Both cheeks fully exposed, and all her breasts except the nipples. When I complained to a friend, she pointed out that I’ll be even madder when my son is old enough to notice. I joined the club the next week.

And everyone might think a pool is for kids, but at mine, there’s more adults than children each day. Adding 60 kids would certainly change the atmosphere.

Perhaps there is racism at this pool, but then again, claiming racism could just be a tool to get revenge. Because the club will probably be facing civil rights claims and big legal bills whether they’re guilty or innocent.

You’re being sarcastic, right?

Absolutely not.

Excuse me? You support segregation?

No, no, no.
My first post was intended to portray (not very effectively it seems) what I think is the attitude that led to this sorry incident.

and I think you were spot on in your original analysis.

This is disgusting behavior and I can’t believe that anyone would defend it. :mad:

I see that, but the fact is the board approved of that group having the pool… It’s one of those things, where the members could have put up with it for a summer, for the kids, and then said no for next summer. To kick them out like that on the first day is wrong. And many of the kids were saying they heard comments, I don’t think those kids were lying.

I’m not sure I believe the pool club’s defense:

In a statement posted on its Web site Thursday afternoon, a swim club said accusations that it discriminated against a day camp for minority children were untrue.

The Valley Club doesn’t have the capacity to deal with outside groups and returned money to more than one day camp, the club said.


If they didn’t have the capacity, then why did they accept the contract in the first place?

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