I heard about this story yesterday and due to the fact that the power was out in my neighborhood for about 16 hours after a really bad storm, I haven’t been able to write about this until now.
On June 29, a group of day campers, a majority of whom are black or Hispanic, allegedly went to the Montgomery Country club to swim and were told that they would be unable to do so because they would be “diluting” the atmosphere and the children heard racist remarks. The club is, naturally, denying it.
There are two things that really strike me about this incident. The first is that this happened in Huntingdon Valley, Penn., which is a suburb of Philadelphia. This is not in Cedar Falls, Iowa or the stereotypically racist south. This is in the area of a major metropolitan area. The second is the period in which this is occurring. Presently we have an African-American president, a Latina Supreme Court nominee that will be in confirmation hearings on Monday and interracial marriage legalized everywhere in the United States. I understand that there are some racists out there, but the fact that this is happening to a large group of children in this day and age is more mind-boggling than a really terrible play I saw the other night.
I could play on stereotypes here with the fact that a country club denied the children the ability to swim, but I would like to think that the perceived snobbery of country club members would have the intelligence to not be going back to racial attitudes of the post-Civil War era, pre-Civil Rights movement era. This act is comparable to the places that would have a different set of bathrooms and drinking fountains for “Coloreds” and white people. If they’re diluting, that is just something that reeks of uppity archaic attitudes that shouldn’t be present.
But maybe I’m too naive; perhaps this is simply a “perfect world” scenario. Regardless, I think this whole thing is just absolutely absurd.
Agency investigating alleged discrimination at pool [Philadelphia Inquirer]