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Are you crazy black people can't swim

StrictlylilbitStrictlylilbit Posts: 89Registered Users
I tried out for the swim team today. As soon as I step out there the man laughed and said are you crazy black people can't swim. This is my schools first year having a swim team and most kids were doggy paddling. I ignored the coach's comment. I started swimming and my panic attack turn to not being able to breath. I have asthma so I got out the pool used my inhaler and proceeded to get back in pool. The coach went off on me talking about I shouldn't get out the pool for anything. I told him I had asthma. He stared at me and shouted I don't care go home.
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Comments

  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    I'm proud of you for going back in. It speaks to a certain determination that any coach would be glad to have in his athletes.

    He sounds like a real dick head but don't let him discourage you from swimming. Step up to the plate and prove that hater wrong!
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  • CurlyCutie1394CurlyCutie1394 Posts: 348Registered Users
    I'm black and I can swim like legit not doggy paddle. He's just a butt
  • SpiralSpunkSpiralSpunk Posts: 243Registered Users
    He's crazy and ignorant. There were black people on the Olympic swim team, does he live under a rock?

    Sorry the coach yelled at you. You should have your parents talk to him because he can't discriminate against you for having asthma (and definitely not for being black). They can't make him put you on the team or anything, but he does have to let you try out fairly. He probably thought you were being lazy or something. Let him know it was an emergency.

    That reminds me of cheer back in high school. A teammate and I had asthma and our team had gotten in trouble one practice and so we had to run laps. Coach let the team have a short break so we started walking over to our bags to get our inhalers. Coach was like "WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING!?" the other girl was a smart mouth and yelled back "I have to go get my asthma spray, do you want me to DIE!?". I couldn't even take my inhaler properly because I couldn't stop laughing after that.
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Good for you for trying and then getting back in the pool. The coach was rude to say that to you. Yes, there's a problem with many black people not knowing how to swim. However, that doesn't mean you ridicule the ones who do. The point is to ENCOURAGE as many black people as possible to learn. What a dumbass.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    There are racists everywhere. I'm sorry you encountered one. Black people most certainly can swim, and my son has swum with some excellent black swimmers, some on college scholarship like he is. I encourage you to keep swimming, despite the j*rkoff coach.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,970Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    This is the "coach"? Are you going to make a formal complaint? Did other people hear what he said who could back you up?

    I understand if you don't want to go to the trouble of complaining but he shouldn't be in a professional position.

    The man is an ignoramus.
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  • spring1onuspring1onu Posts: 16,528Registered Users
    I'm white and can't swim. That should blow his tiny little mind. :lol:

    What an asshat.
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  • *Marah**Marah* Posts: 8,032Registered Users
    Yes...the comment the coach made is rude but there is a reason why certain people don't think black people can usually swim and I personally don't think it's anything to scoff off. Apparently, there is a startling number of drowning deaths of African American children. A study at done by the University Memphis and the USA Swimming Organization report that 70% of African American children can't swim compared to about 40% of white children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites that African American children between the ages of 5-14 are three times more likely than other children to drown.

    The issue seems to be that African American children don't have adequate facilities for safe swimming and swimming instruction. Where there are facilities, they are often overcrowded making it difficult for lifeguards to observe all swimmers safely.

    So there is indeed this sentiment in the USA that generally black people can't swim and it's not because they don't have the ability to learn but it's because they often don't have the opportunity. So I don't think this is a racist issue in every case because black people state "black folks can't swim" often too.

    But like anyone else when blacks have the opportunity to learn something they can master it. They just need the opportunity. I cite Olympians: Cullen Jones, Lia Neal, Maritza Correia, Anthony Ervin. Given some people might get picky and cite that some of these athletes aren't "fully black" *eyeroll*
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  • StrictlylilbitStrictlylilbit Posts: 89Registered Users
    He's crazy and ignorant. There were black people on the Olympic swim team, does he live under a rock?

    Sorry the coach yelled at you. You should have your parents talk to him because he can't discriminate against you for having asthma (and definitely not for being black). They can't make him put you on the team or anything, but he does have to let you try out fairly. He probably thought you were being lazy or something. Let him know it was an emergency.

    That reminds me of cheer back in high school. A teammate and I had asthma and our team had gotten in trouble one practice and so we had to run laps. Coach let the team have a short break so we started walking over to our bags to get our inhalers. Coach was like "WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING!?" the other girl was a smart mouth and yelled back "I have to go get my asthma spray, do you want me to DIE!?". I couldn't even take my inhaler properly because I couldn't stop laughing after that.
    He probably does live under a rock. I swear a lot of older white men where I live do. Ive been told so many offensive things in the year that I've been here it's ridiculous.
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    ^^Yes, what Marah said. I just didn't have the energy to type all that out. :)

    I understand it actually goes beyond not having adequate facilities. There was a story during the Olympics about Cullen Jones (I think) and his work to encourage black people to swim. They cited an additional study that showed that even in areas where there are adequate facilities and free swimming lessons, it has been difficult to get black people to do it. It appears to be culturally-rooted fear of drowning. Yes, once they overcome the fear, they do fine. It's a big hurdle though.

    I will find a link. It was pretty interesting.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    My university had free lessons but I just refused to get out of my bed so early :)

    :laughing1:
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    *Marah* wrote: »
    Yes...the comment the coach made is rude but there is a reason why certain people don't think black people can usually swim and I personally don't think it's anything to scoff off. Apparently, there is a startling number of drowning deaths of African American children. A study at done by the University Memphis and the USA Swimming Organization report that 70% of African American children can't swim compared to about 40% of white children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites that African American children between the ages of 5-14 are three times more likely than other children to drown.

    The issue seems to be that African American children don't have adequate facilities for safe swimming and swimming instruction. Where there are facilities, they are often overcrowded making it difficult for lifeguards to observe all swimmers safely.

    So there is indeed this sentiment in the USA that generally black people can't swim and it's not because they don't have the ability to learn but it's because they often don't have the opportunity. So I don't think this is a racist issue in every case because black people state "black folks can't swim" often too.

    So glad you posted this because I really don't think people realize this.

    I always roll my eyes when there's a black contestant on Survivor and they can't swim. I wouldn't put it past the producers to intentionally cast blacks who cannot swim.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    You may find this article interesting that my hubby wrote not to long ago on this very topic. Diversity in swimming is something he feels very passionate about.

    To Swim or Not to Swim

    I can swim enough to keep myself alive, but I'm pretty bad. Hubby insists that I learn how to dive at some point (he's a former Navy Diver) but I'm not completely convinced I can do it.
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  • juanabjuanab Posts: 4,037Registered Users
    This situation hits close to home for me. Very few members of my extended family can swim, even though we live in a state that is surrounded by water. My sister, daughter and I are very good swimmers. It's very frustrating and scary that my family members are so cavalier about it.


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  • DedachanDedachan Posts: 1,644Registered Users
    What a moron that coach. Sorry you went through that.

    I'm surprised this whole "black people can't swim" business is even a "thing". You'd think people would have more common sense that.
  • *Marah**Marah* Posts: 8,032Registered Users
    MrsPoppers.. yes! I read about Cullen Jones and his efforts! It's fantastic!

    That was a great article from your husband! Thanks webjockey!

    Medussa You know I often wonder that too.. like is it purposeful that they pick black contestants that haven't learned to swim ? Because I think to myself..why in the world for an adventure show where you KNOW there will be tons of water would you cast a person that can't swim..seems odd. Then I brush it off and just assume I'm just being overly suspicious.
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  • coilynappcoilynapp Posts: 4,233Registered Users
    I can swim and competed when I was younger. In Kenya, swim class was part of our curriculum from pre-unit (which I guess is kindergarten here). We had swimming lessons every week, just like math, english, PE. We were fortunate to have a pool at my primary and secondary schools. Not all schools had one--many did though.

    Anyone know where the cultural fear of drowning among AAs come from? Is it a result of reading such stories/studies as Marah posted?

    I hear black folks say all the time "black folks don't swim". 2 of my closest black (american) friends can't swim.
    th?id=H.4940802350254088&pid=1.7&w=183&h=144&c=7&rs=1
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    coilynapp wrote: »
    I can swim and competed when I was younger. In Kenya, swim class was part of our curriculum from pre-unit (which I guess is kindergarten here). We had swimming lessons every week, just like math, english, PE. We were fortunate to have a pool at my primary and secondary schools. Not all schools had one--many did though.

    Anyone know where the cultural fear of drowning among AAs come from? Is it a result of reading such stories/studies as Marah posted?

    I hear black folks say all the time "black folks don't swim". 2 of my closest black (american) friends can't swim.
    I looked for the story I saw and I can't find it anywhere. It was at the beginning of the Olympics but I can't remember if it was on NBC. I found what seemed to be the links to my story but they're all dead links. I will look again.

    FWIW, I can't really swim either. I can paddle and do my own version of some sort of stroke but that's about it. I should have taken lessons at the neighborhood pool when I was unemployed.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Found it! I saw a story on TV but it was this article exactly.
    Starting last fall, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston made swimming lessons mandatory for their members, who are predominantly black and Hispanic. Though the lessons were free of charge, a number of parents had to be talked into allowing their children to participate: they were terrified of letting them get in the water.
    But why is the problem worse among African-Americans, many of whom, across all economic classes, lack confidence in the water? A large part of that unease is a legacy of slavery and segregation.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Posts: 19,240Registered Users Curl Dabbler
    Your coach is just a little bit insane I think. Ugh.

    When I was in school, EVERY kid had to pass a swimming test in Junior High. You didn't have to be a GOOD swimmer but you had to know the basics in order to pass. Not sure if that is still the case today or not.

    Nothing to do with being black but this story reminded me of the time my boss came back from a meeting and told me that someone had asked him why he was wearing brown because "Jews don't wear brown". Um. Ok. We still laugh about the ridiculousness of it.

    strictly, just ignore the idiots of the world, go do your own thing, swim, have fun.
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  • TangledToriiTangledTorii Posts: 164Registered Users
    Thats steriotyping and racism. As others have said, I would make a formal complaint. This reminds me of my friend's situation. She is a 100 metre runner and holds the record for our area. She is white and when she went to go tryout for track and field the coach laughed in her face.

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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I have read that the fear of water held by Blacks goes back to the slave ships and is a vestige of the terror felt then. As well as the issues with hair and water, for Black women. And the issues associated with poverty and the lack of opportunities to learn to swim. I think as Blacks become more and more upwardly mobile, there is and will continue to be much more comfort with swimming.

    My kids take swimming classes and love it and have no fear of the water. We enjoy going to the lake, or to the ocean when we are in the islands, so it is important to me that they be strong swimmers. I think starting really young (6 months) was good for them. My oldest is pretty talented and I'm excited to see where this takes him as he is way ahead of his age group.

    I took swimming as a kid and never really got that good at it - the Olympics has made me want to go back and take lessons, except for the chlorine in the hair issue - but I certainly can swim as far as the basics go. My husband also took swimming as a child and is quite a good swimmer. I hadn't heard the "Blacks don't swim" thing until fairly recently because all of my cousins in the younger generations of my family also take or took swimming and some do competitive water sports and had scholarships for that, etc. I was surprised to learn that my mama and her generation and up can't swim, even though they grew up on the islands and went to the beach all the time. I don't think my husband's parents can swim, either. So to me it was more of an "old folks" thing than a Black thing. I think it has a lot to do with having disposable income and time.

    As to the OP, I'd definitely report that and find out if there are any witnesses to back you up. And don't let it discourage you from swimming.
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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    Thats steriotyping and racism. As others have said, I would make a formal complaint. This reminds me of my friend's situation. She is a 100 metre runner and holds the record for our area. She is white and when she went to go tryout for track and field the coach laughed in her face.

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    Is the coach Black? Did s/he make a specific comment that your friend was white and that was why s/he was laughing at her? If she already holds the record, why was she trying out for track and field as if she is an "unknown?"

    In all the time I've followed track, it's not unheard of for white women to be strong 100m runners. It's much more rare for white men. So it seems strange that a track coach would have an issue with this.
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users
    Your coach is just a little bit insane I think. Ugh.

    When I was in school, EVERY kid had to pass a swimming test in Junior High. You didn't have to be a GOOD swimmer but you had to know the basics in order to pass. Not sure if that is still the case today or not.

    strictly, just ignore the idiots of the world, go do your own thing, swim, have fun.

    No where near the case where I'm from, but no school has ever had a swimming pool. Lol. Though the high school did have a swim team.?. I always wondered where they had meets, practiced during cooler months, etc... It was a mystery.

    There are people from every single walk of life imaginable that can and can not swim. I can make my way under water, doggy paddle, and float like nobodies business but "try not to drown" is essentially the end of my abilities. ;)

    I am glad you got back into the water after your coaches remark. I am sorry it was said, and that it upset you, but please do *NOT* let it distract you.

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  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Posts: 10,773Registered Users Curl Dabbler
    Amneris wrote: »
    I was surprised to learn that my mama and her generation and up can't swim, even though they grew up on the islands and went to the beach all the time.

    What the heck is that about??!?!

    I dated a guy from Trinidad and we went to the beach one day. He got in, but when we all headed further out, he said he would go in and wait...he couldn't swim! I told him he was nuts as he grew up on an island!

    He's living in Australia now and we were talking the other day. He assured me he can swim now :lol:
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  • The New BlackThe New Black Posts: 16,738Registered Users
    This was the coach who said this?! Wow...
    montage-3.gif No MAS.

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  • LadyV69LadyV69 Posts: 3,397Registered Users
    Don't let it discourage you. I didn't learn to swim until a few years ago, but I'm not a pro. I can swim enough to stay alive but that's about it. Some people were surprised when I was taking lessons, but unlike some blacks, I always wanted to learn as I always liked the water. Hardly anyone on either side of my family can swim, even though a fair number of them live near water. I didn't want to perpetuate the culturally rooted fear of water rooted in slavery and so forth. That coach doesn't belong anywhere near young people. If you're so inclined, you or your mother can file a complaint.
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    How timely. It was just announced yesterday.

    And come to think of it, the first time I was ever called the n-word, it was at a pool, at summer camp, and yes, I knew how to swim.

  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Posts: 19,240Registered Users Curl Dabbler
    Fifi.G wrote: »

    No where near the case where I'm from, but no school has ever had a swimming pool. Lol. Though the high school did have a swim team.

    Oh hahaha, our school did not have a pool. We all walked over to the YMCA to use their pool for classes.
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    How timely. It was just announced yesterday.

    And come to think of it, the first time I was ever called the n-word, it was at a pool, at summer camp, and yes, I knew how to swim.

    I wish that's what I had been called.

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