It's about our community and our spirituality!

The Valley Club Of Snakes


I saw the news clip of the black, summer camp children who were rejected from the private Huntingdon, Pennsylvania swimming pool. It’s a familiar story. Some white patrons felt that the didn’t have to tolerate black people taking advantage of their facilities so facility management made the decision to err on the side of Caucasians and eliminate the not white interlopers. According to management at The Valley Club, the pool simply couldn’t accommodate the influx of so many black people and offered to refund any money paid on behalf of the black kids.

Other pools have stepped up to the plate and offered to take the kids of the Creative Steps Day Camp. To some, that’s supposed to take care of the situation. Racial discrimination is okay as long as black people can find separate but equal facilities or resources or services. As long as black people can swim somewhere we can tolerate racial discrimination that makes black children aware of their place in our social makeup.

The fact that their unfortunate experience has been brought to light is an unfortunate double edged sword. First the bad news: their story catches the public’s attention and everybody is made aware of their predicament. It’s rather embarrassing to have people know that you’ve suffered such humiliation. And the more people who know the greater the embarrassment. And now that the world wants to know every little detail of your story, all of that attention can make emotions raw, pouring salt into that humiliating wound. People can holler platitudes of our society being post racial all they want, but the fact of the matter is that racial disparity is alive and well.

But on the other hand, what better way to rid ourselves of this ugly behavior than to expose it for the world to see. Black kids being rejected from a swimming pool under whatever pretenses bigots can conjure up needs to be brought up every time somebody wants to assure us that racism is now the rare exception instead of our normal operating procedure.

If I had a dime for every time I’ve had to deal with racial intolerance I would be a very rich man. And while I often made the choice to leave the subject alone and move on, I wished I had the ability to expose racists for the awful excuse of humanity, these people truly are. These children should take solace in the fact that they have helped to expose blatant racial discrimination. Their ordeal is disgusting for sure, but these children will not have to suffer their humiliation in vain.

Hopefully these children have learned a very important lesson that all black people should learn. These children shouldn’t be so oblivious and buy into the hype that they are automatically welcomed everywhere. Contrary to the popular belief that we share a racially equal existence, white people appear to be more racially equal than their black counterparts.

And hopefully these children will learn that they shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the discrimination other people suffer. Whether it’s racially oriented, gender oriented, age discrimination, religious discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, or whatever the case may be, to sit back and tolerate it simply because it was happening to someone else. We should never tolerate blatant discrimination.

Discrimination is like a snake in the grass slithering along to find its next prey. Just because the snake can slither along out of the view of everyone doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that some rodent somewhere is going to come up missing. Its effects are very real. Its impact on the community is real. Discrimination is no different. Simply because we normally don’t see it happening as blatantly as we did in this swimming pool example doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. If we care to open our eyes and look all around us we will see the effects of racial prejudice all around us.

To their credit, a lot of people, both black and white and everything in between the two, are coming out on the side of the summer campers. Some of these people are even members of the pool, picketing their own organization. It’s always good to see when people are able to point a wagging finger at their self. But what happens when the story dies and the news people move on to something else. Will these same people maintain their vigilance for other snakes of discrimination? Or will people let their guard down and go back to their happy existence oblivious to racial disparity with the belief that we are in a post racial society? Snakes really do best when guards are down.

Friday, July 10, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. What is equally disturbing is when our journalists and leaders make knee jerk reactions, without knowing the facts. This makes us all look equally silly,and propagates potential backlash. Has anyone stopped to think how 65 kids of any race would impact both the safety and enjoyability of a recreation facility?

    I have zero doubt that there was some resistance in the pool itself, to people of color. That is to be expected. We will never transcend that. Let’s face facts: we have our own set of bigots who will never give white folks a chance. I am an American. I am not proud of our own, when they act that way. And I am not proud of whites when they act in a bigoted manner. All the same, the fact that these people exist – on both sides – does not necessarily mean that we have witnessed a purely discriminatory action. Already, at least one other group has come to the defense of the pool club. Perhaps, before we embarrass ourselves, we ought to make darn sure that our accusations can be backed up with facts. If not, we only feed the fires of racism.

    Comment by Doctor | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Doctor,

    But I must disagree with your prognosis. The only thing more disturbing than blatant racism is people who tolerate racial discrimination with a claim that they need more facts to make a decision. Let’s look at the facts that we know so far: the summer camp paid for their mostly minority participants to attend a private pool. Chances are the faculty at the pool asked a question like, how many kids will be swimming. Chances are they got an answer of sixty five kids which led to the agreed upon price. I seriously doubt if the faculty said something like, pay us $1900 dollars and we won’t give a rat’s ass how many kids you bring!

    When the results of the deal manifest, an abundance of black kids at a previously white pool, white people decided this wasn’t what they wanted and complained. The deal was rescinded.

    Now, it is true that there are black bigots. No one said that there weren’t. There are small minded people on both sides of the racial divide. But the fact that there are black bigots isn’t a factor here. In your insistence on sticking to facts, you’re willing to introduce the fact that there are black bigots, but at the same time willing to dismiss the fact that there are white bigots. But the fact of the matter is that it wasn’t black bigots trying to keep white people from swimming. Unless it’s your contention that the children from the summer camp were actually bigots against white people and set this whole thing up to make white people look bad I don’t see how the fact that there are black bigots comes into play here. We don’t know that for sure so let’s just stick to the facts.

    You said that at least one other group has come to the defense of the pool club. It is a fact that there are white bigots, and unfortunately black bigots as well, who will defend white people’s bigotry no matter what. When Fuzzy Zeller made racist remarks about Tiger Woods, people defended him. When Michael Richards stood on stage and yelled a string of profanity at black patrons, people defended him. When Republican politicians are caught making racist jokes about black people, people defend them. Simply because bigots defend bigots doesn’t mean we shouldn’t challenge discrimination. And me get embarrassed because I defend black children? I don’t think so! If that’s shameful behavior then I’m just going to have to live with it. Too bad more black people don’t feel the same way.

    Of course, we’ll have people like you who’ll want to dismiss the blatantly obvious to uncover the hidden nuances of the situation. Maybe there were safety considerations. But if it was getting a bit too crowded then the pool should’ve gone to a first come first served policy where once the pool reached capacity patrons would be turned away until space becomes available instead of automatically eliminating the black patrons, thus showing a preference for white patrons.

    What I find even more disturbing is the number of black people who jump and bend over backwards to give racism the benefit of the doubt while taking the word of people in the black community with a grain of salt that needs more study and approach racism with so much caution that it leads to stagnation. The problem is not the bigotry of white people. The real problem is the bigotry of black people who want to defend black children!

    But since we’re only looking at facts, let’s look at a few more: as far as we know you’re no more a doctor than Queen Latifah is royalty. It is a fact that we don’t know if you are any more black than Jan or Marsha Brady. It is a fact that we know more about this story than we know about you or your overblown sense of justice. Fact is you appear to be one of those people who would be more willing to tolerate discrimination in an attempt to look racially neutral and neuter any attempt by the black community to actually challenge discrimination. If I’m proven wrong them I’ll be proven wrong and will humbly apologize. But that remains to be seen and it is by no means a fact at the moment.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

  3. Since we are talking facts only and some of us need MORE information before we can call a pig a pig, how about this.

    The president of the swim club John Duesler told two Philadelphia television stations that the children had changed “the complexion” and “atmosphere” of the club.

    How “Doctor” does this signify a problem with safety or enjoyability? I guess it does so by forcing white people to endure looking at those black and brown complexions. And changing the enjoyability by altering the ALL white atmosphere.

    Yep, those black bigots are to blame alright. How dare they demand that blacks be treated in the same manner as white people. How dare we look at facts and call a racist a racist. We should wait until the racists themselves SAY that they are racist. I mean that is the only way to be sure, right.

    This is a disgusting display of why we have a race problem in this country. We are all TOO quick and willing to look the other way, make excuses for and tolerate the racism of white people. Then have the gall to blame blacks for the racism that is slapping them in the face.

    Clap, clap, clap Doctor, thanks for letting those black and Hispanic children know that they don’t deserve equal treatment. Let them know that this club took in white camps as well as black camps, but somehow the black campers would cause the biggest problem to the club.

    Hopefully this so called Doctor can get all the facts he needs to see through his Uncle Tom colored glasses. And see that black people ARE indeed suffering from racism and it doesn’t take a 4 year investigation to find that out.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Reply

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