Swimming Lessons Are Definitely On My To-Do List

by snowbird 123 Replies latest social physical

  • snowbird
    I remember, when I lived in Chicago, I met people there who were grown and had never left the city of Chicago in their entire lives, not even to go to the suburbs.



  • RubaDub
    It's possible these families don't have regular access to a pool to learn to swim.

    FHN ...

    Most people I grew up with and knew didn't have access to a pool either. In fact, I don't think I even knew anyone growing up who had a pool.

    I think most people learn to swim just by doing it. We used to sneak to a river to swim because parents wouldn't allow kids to swim in it since at the time it was too polluted. But that didn't keep us out of the water!

    Maybe it is a family or cultural thing. I don't know.

    It's a tragic event, no doubt about it.

    Rub a Dub

  • truthseekeriam

    Most tragic thing I've seen in a while I can't imagine how devastated these families are.

  • undercover

    I can't see the videos or anything...

    One person said that the ground gave way underneath them.

    Without knowing all the details, I can see myself getting caught in something like that. I'm not a strong swimmer. I do not go in over my head without some kind of flotation device. If I was in shallow water and the bottom fell out and left me in deep water, I'd probably struggle to get back to firm ground.

    I got caught in a riptide at the beach one time, but I remembered that you were supposed to go parallel to the coastline to get out of it instead of trying to fight it. I was tired when I got out, but I got out and that's what mattered. I have a healthy fear/respect of the water, but I still enjoy going to the lake, beach and occasional water tubing trip down the river.

  • AGuest

    is a family or cultural thing.

    Sigh! How soon we forget. It certainly is a cultural thing, dear Rub (peace to you!), for the most part. Prior to Reconstruction, some of us were allowed to swim in rivers/lakes/ponds/watering holes... on plantation property. However, once Jim Crow laws set in most of us did not have access to pools for quite some time. We certainly did not live in homes that had them (or, if we did, as employees, we certainly weren't permitted to get into those of our employers). We were not permitted to join the country/tennis/other social clubs where many pools were located, and we were absolutely banned from the public pools (a phenomenon that still occurred on some level in one great city just a year or two ago)...

    We also didn't have access to the rivers, ponds, lakes, etc., for the same reason as above: we didn't own the land, weren't members of the club, and/or we banned from public beaches, etc. Indeed, one could actually be killed for swimming in any of these areas. When Dorothy Dandridge played at a prestigious hotel in Las Vegas, the management had the pool completely drained after she took a swim.

    Even when public pools were "opened" to us... with the fare being as little as a nickel (so we COULD afford it!)... the patrons of such pools (children, parents, sitters, what have you) would harass and intimidate us so much that eventually we just didn't bother. The message? You CANNOT swim here because we do not WANT you here, so don't even think of it. So, with the exception of a few who could sneak a swim... or had (rare) permission to use someone's lake/river/pond, etc., we didn't. The exception would be a "rich" friend's pool (which was ever rarer)... or perhaps the military pool (which often had the same kind of patrons as the public school).

    And our schools certainly didn't have pools... unlike some of the schools on the "other" side of town.

    So, industrious things that WE are... we resorted to the next best thing: lawn sprinklers, hoses, wading pools, and, if you lived in the city... popping fireplugs when the heat became SO unbearable (but could also get you in trouble with the police/fire depts.).

    But overall and in order to shake off the "bad taste" in our mouths about the whole thing... we just convinced ourselves that swimming was really a "luxury" that we just couldn't afford... based on our pockets, in some instances, but mainly on our lives. It just wasn't worth it. We would stay away from the water and "they" would stay away from us. But that doesn't necessarily fly with children who want to swim and are told no.

    So, we created all kinds of believable excuses to help our children get over not being able to swim ("You don't wanna get in that water anyway: there's snakes (which there sometimes were, so that also eliminated some of the more rural places)"... or "you might drown" (which was true because we weren't necessarily strong swimmers anyway)"... but, primarily, "white people been in that water and they're greasy" (which was simply away to negate "their" reason for not wanting to get in the water with "us").

    And so swimming became almost taboo, certainly "demonized"... because it wasn't accessible to us. In order to reduce/numb/deny the PAIN we experienced over being denied a simple activity as swimming, we TAUGHT ourselves... and our children... that it wasn't important, not really even desirable.

    When it did become accessible (i.e., when the Fair Housing laws [purported to] allow[ed] us to buy homes in [whatever neighborhood we wished]... which cities and builders responded to by building us "better" homes in our own neighborhoods so we wouldn't NEED to move into "theirs"... when they started building pools in OUR neighborhoods and schools... so we wouldn't have to go to their neighborhoods and schools to swim... when they started prosecuting folks who spit on/hit/beat/harrassed/harangued us for using the public beach, lake, pond, etc.... well, by that time the "damage" had been done. We no longer cared whether we could or could not go swimming. We had moved on. To other sports... meaning those we were "allowed" to participate in: boxing, baseball, basketball, football, etc.

    And so we taught our children to move on to those things, too. And some did. Unfortunately, though, many... too many... also moved on to drugs, crime, and teen pregnancy. Because while other children spent their summers at the lake/beach/pool... heck, even went away to camp... most of our children had no such places to go to. And so, they took the streets... the results of which you see even today.

    [Note, for those who think I am reducing the problems of today's black community down to something as simple as swimming, you miss the point, entirely. It was not swimming that was the problem: it was being denied access to swimming. And theaters. And restaurants. And jobs. And neighborhoods. And schools. And camps. And beaches. And pools. Such denial was designed to keep certain people "in their place" and that's EXACTLY where many of them are today: in the "place" that such denials put them. And those who are NOT in such "place(s)"... myself included, often... are thought to be "arrogant," "cocky"... even "audacious." And over the years many have taken it upon themselves to "put" such ones "back in their place." That is a TRUE fact of the history, and sometimes present... of this country.]

    Stepping down off my soapbox, with the hope that those who really didn't get it before... do now: we, as a country, ARE the sum total of our actions, some of which were NOT by accident or ignorance.

    I bid you all peace!

    A slave of Christ,


  • TD
    I just can't believe in an entire family that noone knows how to swim. I mean, they are not living in the desert or something. If this was Arizona or something, well ... maybe OK.

    I was feeling like a provincial idiot reading this thread because it never even occurred to me that an entire family might not know how to swim. Swimming is really, really big in AZ. (What else do you do when it's 120?) It's compulsory at the middle school level in a lot of cities.

    Unfortunately accidental drownings of toddlers who have slipped outside and fallen into the pool is also common. Everyone should know how to swim AND you can't take your eyes off a toddler for even 30 seconds. .

  • MsDucky

    I use to swim all the time when I was a kid. All my children took swimming lessons. I don't know if I can swim now. The last time that I went swimming was when I was in my thirties. I get cramps just from sleeping at night. I know that I would cramp up easily if I tried to swim now.

    This is a very sad story. I feel sad for those children and their families. The parents were utterly helpless.

  • AGuest
    Everyone should know how to swim

    Yeah, well, unfortunately, dear TD (peace to you!), not everyone felt that way back then, so that not everyone feels that way, now. Unfortunate and hugely ignorant, yes, but not entirely inexcusable... and certainly fact.

    Again, peace to you!

    A slave of Christ,

    SA, who can swim, float, tread water, even do the backstroke... and all pretty well, if I may say so myself. (Nothing to fear, dear Miz Sylvie, so come on in: the water's fine! )

  • MsDucky

    Here's a snippet from a News report:

    Swimming skills can be scarce among African-Americans like the teens in this tragedy. A study commissioned by the sports governing body USA Swimming found 69 percent of black children had low or no swimming ability compared to 41.8 percent of white children. Segregation kept blacks out of public and private pools for decades and the disparity continues because many poor and working class children have limited access to pools or instruction.

    The study didn't look into swimming ability based on rural versus urban environments.

    The drowning "confirms that what we are finding, that this continuing cycle of people not knowing how to swim and their children not knowing how to swim and still being around water," said Sue Anderson, USA Swimming's Director of Programs and Services. "It's the continuing lack of awareness of how important it is that children learn how to swim."

    The federal government says African-Americans drown at a rate 20 percent higher than whites. A lack of access to swimming pools and a lower interest in swimming skills are among the possible explanations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2010/08/02/1430080/fire-chief-at-least-4-teens-drown.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz0vaV5QkJ4

  • FlyingHighNow

    A Guest, the thing some don't know is that Jim Crowe laws were used North, South, East and West. And the laws were used to oppress immigrants as well. Very good point.

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