Comedian Elon James White’s take on Pool Racism
In intercultural communications, the emphasis is on cultural understanding and appreciating that sometimes people might unintentially offend because of unconscious bias.
Such was not the case with 60 African American children who were kicked out of a pool at a private club in Philadelphia, being told that so many kids might “change the complexion” of the club. The camp had paid $1,900 in advance to use the camp for the summer, but were asked to leave before even finishing their first session.
Luckily, another local, private school has stepped in, so camp will go on, but I imagine for many, and especially the children, the scar will not heal so quickly.
In the meantime, club President John Duesler has apologized, and maybe, indeed, it was an awful mistake. I’ve always said we learn most from our mistakes, and perhaps this will be an ‘aha!’ moment for him, that will turn into greater good for all.
The call to action has been protest and hate mail to Duesler and the club, but I’m thinking maybe ‘love mail’ to the children and to my own child might be good.
How might your child react in a situation like this? If he was part of the minority group? A member of the club? Will you discuss this with him or her?
Love mail to the kids is such a fantastic idea! I really wish I had heard that earlier, or had heard that from ANY of the people talking about this a few days ago. Really revolutionary!
Thanks for your comment, Goriwife. In conversation with my 8 year old, it became clear the other ‘victims’ here are the caucasian children whose parents pulled them out of the pool. If told why, that was pure prejudice in the making. If not told why, it’s teaching bias that will still perpetuate as prejudice as the children grow up.
I’d love to see a ‘do over’ of the whole event, with more planning and relationship building included in the process–more life guards on duty to accommodate more children, more internal communications to members about the club’s commitment to community and new programs.