I have always felt that the way we behave around children is exceptionally important. Actions, far more than lectures and rules, shape how our children see themselves and the world.
I was disgusted and dismayed by a story I saw on today’s The Early Show on CBS.
Having been in this position myself this is how I envisioned the scene as the victims described it.
A group of dark skinned children runs down the hill toward the pool. A dozen or so lily white pillars of society are watching their children swim in the pristine waters of their swim club’s pool. Dark children enter pool. All but 3 parents pull their children out.
Got the scene?
It gets worse. These “parents” are being quoted by many sources as saying “they don’t belong here” – “they might hurt my child” – “they’re just here to steal” – and worse.
Once the story became known some of the offensive “offended parents” claim they were merely concerned about the safety of a pool that was about to become overcrowded. I’ve seen photos of the pool – the entire Osmond Family couldn’t overcrowd that pool.
And even if that was the issue – how the hell does pulling your children out of the pool and acting like a pack of wild asshats make the moment safer?
Is this how they want their children to react to situations. Overly entitled and overly enraged.
Everything about the way the parents at The Valley Swim Club in suburban Philadelphia behaved is wrong. And in my opinion it is also racist and demonstrates unfit parenting. I’d love to go there and do some remedial work with them.
The insulted children were with a day camp that paid to use the pool. They have since been told they can’t. The good news is that based on media reports of the incident the children have been invited to another pool.
You can read about all that here and here.
The club put up a statement that basically blames its own members. If they had any balls they would investigate who said and did what and cancel some memberships. I hope the Pennsylvania state authorities look into this.
And, as much as I hate our litigious society, I hope the parents of the insulted children sue the crap out of these fuckers.
When my son was 7 we were invited to a BBQ at the home of one of his little league coaches. My son was playing with another boy his age when the mother of one of the other children told my son to go back to the kitchen and stay with his mother. Now, years later, the look of total bewilderment on my son’s face is comic.
It wasn’t so funny that day.
Seems this woman assumed my dark skinned child must belong to one of the caterers as they were the only black people around and she decided that since he was dark and a servant he could be spoken to in any tone she pleased.
To make matters worse the hostess of the party thought she was salvaging the situation by exclaiming at the top of her lungs. “Oh No! Jeffrey’s not with them. Dianne is his mom, it’s OK”.
Guess we wouldn’t have been invited if I was black.
I took Jeffrey aside and asked him if he wanted me to “make a scene”, which was our code for Mom will tell people how the world is supposed to work. He did not and I respected that. We left. Through the kitchen.
I kicked some major ass at the next parent’s meeting though. And I insisted his little league invite other leagues to play on our field so that the children would all get to know each other. And I insisted the league invite the other parents to BBQ with us on the public field we rented. Otherwise Dianne was going to make a few phone calls.
The parents of The Valley Swim Club should beg the forgiveness of both the day camp children and their own children.
But as always, there is Hope …