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mykarma
Jul 10th, 2009, 01:50 AM
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Camp: Private Pa. pool turned away minority kids

By RON TODT – 40 minutes ago

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a predominantly white Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling other kids out of the water, a day camp director said, and the state is investigating.

The Creative Steps camp in northeast Philadelphia had contracted for the 65 children at the day camp to go each Monday afternoon to The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley, camp director Alethea Wright said Thursday. But shortly after they arrived June 29, she said, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.

"A couple of the children ran down saying, 'Miss Wright, Miss Wright, they're up there saying, "What are those black kids doing here?"'" she said.

The gated club is on a leafy hillside in a village that straddles two townships with overwhelmingly white populations. It says it has a diverse, multiethnic membership.

Wright said she went to talk to a group of members at the top of the hill and heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children in kindergarten through seventh grade, did not return.

"Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded," Wright said. "Only three members left their children in the pool with us."

Several days later, the club refunded the camp's $1,950 without explanation, said Wright, who added that some parents are "weighing their options" on legal action.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission will immediately investigate, chairman Stephen A. Glassman said Thursday.

"Allegedly, this group was denied the use of a pool based on their race," Glassman said. "If the allegations prove to be true, this is illegal discrimination."

The investigation was requested by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., issued a statement calling the allegations "extremely disturbing" and said he was looking into the matter.

The United States' highest-profile black swimmer, Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, said "hearing about what's happened to these 65 kids is both disturbing and appalling."

Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, the governing body for the U.S. swim team, was stunned at the accusations.

"This is the sort of thing you'd hear about in 1966, during the height of the civil rights movement, not in 2009, and not in the City of Brotherly Love, of all places," he said.

Club president John Duesler told Philadelphia television station WTXF that several club members complained because the children "fundamentally changed the atmosphere" at the pool but that the complaints didn't involve race.

In a statement released on its Web site Thursday afternoon, the club called the allegations of racial discrimination "completely untrue" and claimed overcrowding from more than one outside camp was the problem.

"We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multiethnic backgrounds," it said. "Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps."

The club said it "deplores discrimination."

"Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board," it said.

Amy Goldman said she's been a member of the club for two years. She said the pool wasn't particularly crowded and the children from Creative Steps were "well behaved and respectful."

She said there had been black members at the club in the past, though she couldn't remember seeing any this year.

The club appeared closed Thursday afternoon, and the guard station at the entrance was unattended.

About two dozen protesters, most of them white, held signs in front of the club's locked gates and chanted slogans including, "Jim Crow swims here!"

Spencer Lewis, from Conshohocken, showed up with some young nieces and nephews and said he believes the club owes the children an apology.

"I don't believe everyone here has racist thoughts, but what was said was insulting and offensive," said Lewis, who's black.

Wright rejected the overcrowding explanation, saying the club covers 10 acres with a "nice-sized" pool and a separate pool for younger children. The board, she said, knew that her group included 65 children, and none of them had misbehaved.

"We were not welcome, once the members saw who we were," she said.

Wright said that the children were upset and that she was looking for a psychologist to speak to them next week. Some children have asked her whether they are "too dark" to swim in the pool, she said.

Day camp member Araceli Carvalho, 9, said she was upset when told she wouldn't be allowed to return.

"I said, 'That's not right,'" she said.

But when asked if she wants to return now, she said, "I don't want to swim here anymore."

Wright said Girard College has offered to host the children for the summer.

AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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skanky~skanketta
Jul 10th, 2009, 01:56 AM
Ugh. At this day and age.

Ryan
Jul 10th, 2009, 02:23 AM
That's disgusting. I could see if the kids were hitting people and spitting, but then race wouldn't have been brought up as an issue. And there's a witness who says they were well-behaved. :o

Pheobo
Jul 10th, 2009, 02:26 AM
At first I was thinking that I would be a little pissed too if I paid country club membership and 70 fuckin' kids came cavorting around me. You may as well be swimming at a public pool for free. The CNN article I read doesn't mention that they have a seperate pool for kids, and lord knows kids aren't very uptight about who (or what :tape:) they're swimming with. So, if that's the case the owner's "overcrowding" argument doesn't really hold up very well.

In any case, I'm glad to hear that the children who were hearing racial comments directed towards them, especially the ones who were hearing it from adults, didn't take it lying down and spoke to their coordinator about it.

Randy H
Jul 10th, 2009, 02:31 AM
I saw this on CNN a couple of hours ago, they interviewed one of the kids who overheard a bunch of white adults (parents?) making comments about how they were worried the black kids might steal their belongings. Poor boy was crying, really very sad to hear about such callous and ignorant behaviour...

comfortably.numb
Jul 10th, 2009, 02:48 AM
LOL @ the some club members claiming that the minority children "fundamentally changed the atmosphere." How 1950s. Action needs to be taken immediately.

Mrs. Peel
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:18 AM
Post-racial America?!?! :rolleyes:

mykarma
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:20 AM
I saw this on CNN a couple of hours ago, they interviewed one of the kids who overheard a bunch of white adults (parents?) making comments about how they were worried the black kids might steal their belongings. Poor boy was crying, really very sad to hear about such callous and ignorant behaviour...
That's so sad and trust me that kid won't forget this. He'll go on but trust me, he won't forget it.

Waiting for someone to come in here talking about the liberal media playing the race card.

mykarma
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:24 AM
At first I was thinking that I would be a little pissed too if I paid country club membership and 70 fuckin' kids came cavorting around me. You may as well be swimming at a public pool for free. The CNN article I read doesn't mention that they have a seperate pool for kids, and lord knows kids aren't very uptight about who (or what :tape:) they're swimming with. So, if that's the case the owner's "overcrowding" argument doesn't really hold up very well.

In any case, I'm glad to hear that the children who were hearing racial comments directed towards them, especially the ones who were hearing it from adults, didn't take it lying down and spoke to their coordinator about it.
Happy you changed your mind but separate pool or not, the kids weren't freeloading and sneaking in the pool. They paid to use the pool plus the white parents pulled there kids out of the pool as though they were going to catch blackness disease or something. (damn ridiculous)

mykarma
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:38 AM
I saw this on CNN a couple of hours ago, they interviewed one of the kids who overheard a bunch of white adults (parents?) making comments about how they were worried the black kids might steal their belongings. Poor boy was crying, really very sad to hear about such callous and ignorant behaviour...
Here's the link/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/31829557#31802435

spartanfan
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:45 AM
That's so sad and trust me that kid won't forget this. He'll go on but trust me, he won't forget it.

Waiting for someone to come in here talking about the liberal media playing the race card.
You're absolutely right, that little boy will never forget that day and will carry that for the rest of his life.

young_gunner913
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:48 AM
disgusting. i bet most of those parents would have a shit fit if someone told their child no yet they have the gall to say no to someone else's kids based on the color of their skin. :o

meyerpl
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:59 AM
"Since my daughter is only half Jewish, can she go in up to her knees?" - Groucho Marx, at a restricted swimming pool.

woosey
Jul 10th, 2009, 04:58 AM
all i can do is laugh. i'm sorry, it's just so crazy but i can't say i'm surprised, and not because it's philadelphia. but because i am not under the impression that everything's cool.

Pheobo
Jul 10th, 2009, 05:59 AM
Happy you changed your mind but separate pool or not, the kids weren't freeloading and sneaking in the pool. They paid to use the pool plus the white parents pulled there kids out of the pool as though they were going to catch blackness disease or something. (damn ridiculous)

Any kid at a country club has to be freeloading off of someone :p

But you're right. If there was only one pool and people just left after a crowd of brats started showing up, I could understand that. But pulling their kids out of the pool and then standing there making ugly comments is bullshit. Here's their website, BTW :lol:

http://www.thevalleyclub.com/

Scotso
Jul 10th, 2009, 06:09 AM
Disgusting. Pulling their children out of the water? Like they're afraid their children will "catch" black?

darrinbaker00
Jul 10th, 2009, 06:33 AM
You know what surprises me? The fact that so many people are surprised by this.

*JR*
Jul 10th, 2009, 10:05 PM
Commentary on a rightwing bulletin board:

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/pool-kids-booter-is-obama-supporter

CoolDude7
Jul 11th, 2009, 12:45 AM
More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.

Kids at Creative Steps Day Camp were thrilled to go swimming once a week at the Valley Swim Club. But after only one trip to the private club, they were...

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

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.

"I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

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.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Pool-Boots-Kids-Who-Might-Change-the-Complexion.html

And the adults were saying racist things in front ofthe black kids. Some little boy was crying talking to the news people.

Ciarán
Jul 11th, 2009, 01:53 AM
Sick.

Knizzle
Jul 11th, 2009, 02:01 AM
Seriously?

KournikovaFan91
Jul 11th, 2009, 02:13 AM
OMG

What century is Philadelphia in.

Kart
Jul 11th, 2009, 02:14 AM
That's really bad if it's true.

They should be ashamed of themselves !

mykarma
Jul 11th, 2009, 02:24 AM
You know what surprises me? The fact that so many people are surprised by this.
I'm not surprised but it's still disgusting for adults to be so ignorant. Tomorrow some fool on this board will tell some black person to stop playing the race card as though racism no longer exist. :rolleyes:

LoLiTa08
Jul 11th, 2009, 02:54 AM
stormfronts

mykarma
Jul 11th, 2009, 03:49 AM
That's really bad if it's true.

They should be ashamed of themselves !
If it's true? :eek:

Kart
Jul 11th, 2009, 11:28 AM
You know what surprises me? The fact that so many people are surprised by this.

We don't all live in America or indeed have seen these things first hand. I retain my right to be surprised on things like this.

If it's true? :eek:

Yep.

It's not that I don't believe it happened, more that, in this day and age it's so brazen it defies belief.

Infiniti2001
Jul 11th, 2009, 02:22 PM
:help:Let's save this one for the next time someone claims that electing Obama proves there's no more racism :tape:

Pureracket
Jul 13th, 2009, 02:43 AM
Valley Swim Club caves, invites kids back.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/12/752785/-BRE... (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/12/752785/-BREAKING:-Valley-Swim-Club-Caves...Invites-Kids-Back.)

mykarma
Jul 13th, 2009, 03:06 AM
Valley Swim Club caves, invites kids back.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/12/752785/-BRE... (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/12/752785/-BREAKING:-Valley-Swim-Club-Caves...Invites-Kids-Back.)
There's no way in hell my kid would go back to that pool. The only reason they've invited them back is that some sane members of the club have probably threatened to quit the club. Yeah, they're not racist just like some on the board aren't. :rolleyes:

Randy H
Jul 13th, 2009, 03:11 AM
We don't all live in America or indeed have seen these things first hand. I retain my right to be surprised on things like this.



Yep.

It's not that I don't believe it happened, more that, in this day and age it's so brazen it defies belief.

That's what surprised me the most...It's not that I'm at all surprised that there is still racism and discrimination, but to see it displayed so brazenly, and against young children no less, came as a real eye opener. I hate to think of how hurtful and how much that will affect these kids to have experienced that kind of hate.

mykarma
Jul 13th, 2009, 04:17 AM
That's what surprised me the most...It's not that I'm at all surprised that there is still racism and discrimination, but to see it displayed so brazenly, and against young children no less, came as a real eye opener. I hate to think of how hurtful and how much that will affect these kids to have experienced that kind of hate.
Thanks Randy and you to kart but these types of things happen all of the time. It's not generally shown on all of the tv stations and the Internet. Things like this is one of the reasons black people get so upset when white people make excuses for the perpetrator and accuse black people of always playing the race card. Yes, my heart goes out to the kids who'll never forget this but can only imagine how powerless the parents must feel.