Alex Blaze

Updates on the swimming campers in Philadelphia

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 13, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay camp, lifeguards, philadelphia, pool, private club, safety, stimulus, summer

The day campers that got kicked out of a private pool in Philadelphia because they were black are now swimming at a local private boarding school's pool. Ironically enough, Girard College was a school for white orphans set up by a wealthy French slave-owner whose will had to be overridden in 1968 by the Supreme Court to integrate the school.

The private club has also invited the campers back after meeting with their lawyers. I guess they saw that none of their excuses - like not having enough space or lifeguards - was holding any water. Question: if you were in charge of this camp, would you go back or not?

For the coup de grâce, digby points out that the pool that the camp had used before had closed due insufficient funds, and, for some odd reason, public pools can't be helped by the stimulus money even though they're great for kids and neighborhoods and provide jobs. Public pool construction was part of the WPA for a reason.

I vaguely remember public pools almost becoming a symbol for the excesses of big government during the stimulus debate, and now it's clear that the message was typical fiscal conservatism that focuses on random projects that help working class folks and portrays them as the cause of larger, unrelated financial troubles. I mean, everyone can just go to their country club and use the pool there. And if these kids want to swim in a pool, they can just buy property, build their own, and compete with the private clubs, right? No bail-outs for free-loading kids!

I was glad that so many of you left comments discussing this issue on the other thread I put up. I hope that the moral of this story isn't "There's an awful, racist pool in Philadelphia and I hope they get punished!" Because even though I haven't heard of another instance of a pool kicking out five dozen black campers, this segregationist mindset isn't isolated to this one establishment. And, as much as we hate to admit it, most of us contribute on some level to the amount of segregation that there is in America today. And considering how much segregation there is, it's not surprising that this pool felt the need and the right to kick out a large group of black people, even children.

This should also be a wake-up call to the last stragglers out there who think that racism is over. We heard it a lot during the campaign season, and maybe we're finally getting off our "pat ourselves on the back, we voted in a black man!" high and realizing that there's still work to be done.

Well, at least the pool felt enough shame and pressure to reverse their position. That's something. And I don't think I've heard any of the folks who decry "reverse racism" say that it's just as common for black private pools to kick out white day camps....


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Some of the kids have already said they don't want to go back. Good for them. I wouldn't go back either.

If I were running the camp, I'd give the private club the finger.

That is really unfair. Yes racism is never ending.If I were the camper I would tell my story to a lot of people. Word of mouth is very powerful!

solid pool covers | July 27, 2010 12:25 AM

Racism is still an on-going disease in the country. They may come up with the different reasons in order to defend themselves that they are not racist but whatever sides you would look at it will still be leading to a racist note.