Kids from a summer camp in Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private pool, apparently because of their race. The Creative Steps Day Camp paid almost $2000 to The Valley Swim Club, which is private but advertises open membership.
After the 60 kids arrived, however, it seemed they weren’t so welcome. Horace Gibson, a parent of a camper, told MSNBC:
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.
Would you like it in Valley Swim Club’s own words? John Duesler (feel free to pronounce that in any “similar” way you might need), the president of the club, said in a statement, which I assume he had the time to read before he issued:
There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.
I bring this to you not because it’s green parenting news, but because you, too, are probably trying to teach tolerance to your sweet little ones. And in my house, my children get the lesson by the differences in their own skin tones.
My son, Little L, is biracial. I left his father, my fiance, when I was pregnant. He’s almost 4 now (this Saturday!), and has begun to notice that he doesn’t quite look the same as the rest of us. His gorgeous dreadlocks don’t give it away. His [white, btw] stepdaddy has blond dreads to his rear. But lately he’s noticed his “tan” is darker than ours.
Mama, I’m dark but Baby E is light, right? That’s why I have a dark baby and he has a light baby.
(No, we don’t normally color-code their toys! They each got organic dolls of different races when they were babies.)
Right now, I simply respond that they sure are different…they’re different boys! Of course, as time goes on, I’ll have to explain his wonderful, beautiful differences in greater detail.
And as I live in rural Virginia, I’m sure he may come across those who see his color as less than beautiful. I hope we give him the foundation of self-confidence to face that.
But I also hope that he never encounters rotten people like the ones who operate this apparently whites-only club. They owe these children much, much more than a refund. Like the courtesy to step into a time machine and go back to wherever “their kind” came from.
Frustrated, too? E-mail the Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Image: Image Editor on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.