American Morning

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July 10th, 2009
07:04 AM ET

Swim club accused of racial discrimination against kids

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/10/racism.pool.kids.campers.art.jpg
caption="Some kids from the Creative Steps Day Care center say club members made racial remarks."]

(CNN) - A Philadelphia-area day care center said Thursday that members of a private swim club made racist comments about the center's children, and the club then canceled their swimming privileges.

The Creative Steps Day Care children - ages kindergarten through seventh grade - went to the Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, on June 29.

The day center's director, Alethea Wright, had contracted to use the club once a week. During their first visit, some children said they heard club members asking why African-American children were there.

One of the boys told the Philadelphia Inquirer that a woman at the club said she feared the children "might do something" to her child.

Days later, the day care center's $1,950 check was returned without explanation, Wright said.

The stepfather of one of the children was filing a complaint against the club with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the panel's chairman, Stephen Glassman, said Thursday.

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Filed under: American Morning • Controversy
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Sue

    If you want to be taken seriously in a blog learn how to spell so we can understand what you are saying!

    July 22, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  2. chastity

    after what thay said this morning thay suing it is about the money now and not about the kids thay both look or smelled the money not about the kids get real

    July 15, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Sam

    those words used are hear say and if those words were used they shouldn't have been but on that note when a the white race says something to that it's a big deal and the white race should be punish by losing their job or money but when the race says those same words it's always a miss understanding and when they use those woords about another white man or women you guys are in the corner giving each other high fives and cheering each other on.

    July 15, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  4. Kamaal Abdul-Muhaimin

    The initial communications from the swim club are from the heart. The use of the words "change the complexion of the the atmosphere" will return to haunt them. They now have come to some intellectual understanding of what these words may cost them. Racism is all about the heart, a spiritual disease. The rod must not be spared in this situation.

    July 15, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  5. chastity

    thay don t care about the kids come on i knew thay would sue it is all about the money and thay no it

    July 15, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  6. Sam

    You have to be kidding me. Nobody as put in consideration that theie were two other daycares with white children that were also asked to leave. This is a typical situation were black or minority race (which ever word the white race is allowed to use this week) fail to have something go their way and then throw out the race card; most likely to get a quick buck or to keep the race card in play. As a nation we will not ever come together as one until the minority realize that life is what you make it, crap happens and if you keep throwing out the race card your always going to feel like your being singled out for your color.
    When I watched the interview cnn had with the women from the daycare this morning i didn't see a black women i seen a mean hateful women who was looking to get hers. A women regardless of the situation being black or white good or bad will always find a reason to get hers.
    90% of the white population as let the race card go and to come as a nation we need everyone else to.

    July 15, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  7. Brian

    This is a very serious matter, we are talking about pure racism and worst of all underage children are involved. This can and will affect the children in an emotional and psychological manner. Analyzing the severeness of the issue, I would advocate extreme measures, they should start out by closing the club as it is a racist environment. Healing the wound, if possible, will be a long term achievement, but the scars will remain in the souls of the innocent children.

    July 15, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  8. Steven Hufnal

    I am not sure of the full situation that occurred as both parties have differing opinions. If the kids were turned away becasue of racism that's not right. But I must say that it seems we are in an age if a situation occurs when someone doesn't get what they want (ex: promotion, hired for a job) the race card is always thrown out. Oy- a little sick of it. I am sure if the situation was reversed, and a group of primarily caucasian kids were turned away at a pool, it wouldn't be on CNN or discussed on this posting site.

    July 15, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  9. suzanne

    It's funny to me that the swim club is being sued because private citizens voiced their opinions and hurt the children's feelings. Is this not a free country where human beings are allowed to point out observations by saying, "black kids." The swim club itself should not be sued. If people are upset over words spoken, then sue the members who said the words. Keep in mind it is a private pool not a public one. The owners have every right to decide who uses their pool and who doesn't. If I were a paying member and saw 65 camp kids swarming into the pull without any warning or notice, I would have a problem with it too – no matter their race.

    July 15, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  10. Bernice

    I am also from PA! This is an outrage to our community that something like this has happened!! I am a white woman, but am not a racist one! There really is not very much racism here since the 80's or 90's. When I was growning up, we were not permitted to speak to a black person!! We grew up, then came to the defence of them! They are just like us, just a different color! The people involved in this should be arrested and charged in this case for thier racist ideas! People are people, no matter the color! Being that this was a day care (public) center, the center now has been comprimised and now should be CLOSED! If I had a pool, I would have them over to my house!! What a shame!

    July 13, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  11. James

    I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and doing the time the time meaning from 1941 to 1960 it was widely known that Pennsylvania was a very racist state. Also known that Black people will not stand together there for example the black reporter for cnn that suggested haveing a pizza party for the kids. Did not do much in saying what should be done about this. Don't know why CNN takes a black man that wants to be white and then lets him report on a black issue. Why is it that the white people that had something negative to say did not search out a Black adult and say it to them. The swimming pool should be closed . Thought this was 2009.

    July 11, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  12. Evette W

    It amazes me the assumtion of the blogger about the BLACK VOTE! The black VOTE PUT CLINTON in office and GAVE GORE a chance! It is after so many let down by the system that decreased their turnout. Whe Black people realized that BO had a chance to win it was at that point they decided to try again. There are a lot of BLACks who dont understand the power of the vote but that only means education is needed. Oprah saw something in our president that she was willing to go beyond her line...She supported other candidates but like the other BLACK voters she was willing to try again too! Our races must understand that we are all in this together so lets not wait until a tragedy happens to our country to pull us together again!

    July 11, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  13. JEZEBEL58

    As a woman of African decent and living in Canada I understand fully what happened to those kids and will continue as long as the "other" race does not recognize that we all have the same blood and is only on earth for a short time.AS history would have it we were brought to work the cotton fileds.I have been to stores where I was followed around and told at times that all black people are stupid and we are all thieves.This is the 21st century and these "other"people should get over it.I don't believe Oprah made the gap any bigger than it was,it's still getting bigger.I watch CNN and all the other news when I can and hear the comments about Obama,actions speak louder than words.The former president left a big deficit and he would have cleared it up if he could have ran again and win,the mere fact that he wasn't going to be around he left everything for the incoming president,no matter who it was.If I had lived in the states I would have voted for Hilary.We are all going to die someday black or white.The next time somebody's thinking about making a racial comment about someone,stop and think.The people who took the cheques knew who would be swimming in the pool and for this to have happened in Philadelphia of all places.....

    July 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  14. Bev - NYC

    I hope these adults have an opportunity to reflect on their small actions and the affect on these children. Where was the concern, for the complexion of the pool when the green check was accepted? Simply disgusting!!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  15. Tricia

    I was appalled at what happened to those kids from the The Creative Steps Day Care . It breaks my heart that instead of swimming in the open air they are now stuck swimming in an indoor pool. It was incomprehensible for me that they were exposed to such racism in this day and age.This must not stop here. Somthing should be done about that swim club.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  16. Amanda

    You would think people would look at each other equally. We all have the same blood just different features and color. When will this world be a better place? The Lord needs to come back and claim what is HIS. There are to many ignorant people in this world. The children are innocent they should be able to swim in the facility but they decided to come up with some crap story about not enough space PLEASE YOUR NOT FOOLING ANYONE.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  17. michael armstrong sr.

    how many black kids was swiming here before this incedent and decsribing black from white is used by all our justice and government systems to indeviduly identify people are we all to be afraid to say black the fault here lies with the person that overbooked the event .

    July 10, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  18. George

    I am always amused by comments like the above one. They most often begin with a premise that is pulled out of the air. (hundreds of thousands of blacks who had never participated in the election process, or supported any if the white candidates, turned out in exhonitant numbers only because a black candidate was in the position to be elected). Exactly what facts support this assumption? None of course. This is the same mindset as those at the swim club. We all recognize it for what it is. As a white man's sign at the swim club said: Jim Crow swims here." To paraphrase with regard to the above comment: Jim Crow speaks here.

    July 10, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  19. Sandra Hughes

    I am appalled at the treatment those children received. The little boy demonstrates more class and humanity as he sheds a tear of sadness for the ignorance that has no business existing anymore.
    I say to you boys and girls, you should feel sorry for those adults at the club (and their children). They are denying themselves the richness of knowing you. Their world is smaller and poorer for excluding you. They don't understand that not only doesn't colour matter, but the real difference between them and you is their astonishing ignorance. I hope you can forgive them as they are hurting themselves as well.
    Peace
    Sandi

    July 10, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  20. Karen

    Being black in America
    This incident is yet still a typical occurence when you're black in America. Last week, my husband and I were vacationing in Clearwater Florida and went to a resturant called Guppy's. The people (patron's) looked at us like we're alien's and attemped to make us being their very uncomfortable. No hello or smiles just stares. What could black people be doing in a place where the highest entree was $30, (hilarious) that they thought that was big time. Anyway, the workers seem to be scrabbling as to what they were going to do with us. My husband and I were dressed in summer attire, well groomed and driving a convertible corvette. As were the other patrons well dressed and nice cars. My husband and I have good jobs and the youngest of our five children is in her senior year of college and we've been married once to each other for twenty five years.

    What makes white people act this way? What are they losing by allowing people to eat in peace and not feel like we've done something wrong by wanted to eat. Should the "WHITES ONLY" sign still be applicable to at least let us know what the real issue is.

    What happened to those children is not rare in America but too often ignore and tolerated. I wish there was a cnn on the spot report for all the vicious acts toward ordinary American who are of African descent.

    July 10, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  21. Nettles

    That is a shameful action on the part of the swim club. However, black Americzns need to acknowledge the fact that the division in races was WIDENED when hundreds of thousands of blacks who had never participated in the election process, or supported any if the white candidates, turned out in exhonitant numbers only because a black candidate was in the position to be elected. Oprah Winfrey, who is worshipped by people of all races, helped to drive the wedge even deeper by openly campaigning for Obama when she had never shown that type of support for any other candidate, given here high exposure and media platform. In summation, we will still deal with bias and prejudice until we act neutral and equal; Isn't that how we want to be treated?

    July 10, 2009 at 7:56 am |