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Thread: Why don't black Americans swim?

  1. #31
    Silver Member Doctora Pepper's Avatar
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    So much square dancing hate! When I was in high school, the only the time I enjoyed gym was the weeks we were bowling, swimming, or square dancing. It was fun!

    I'm really surprised that so many kids of any race don't know how to swim. My mom made sure I learned from a young age, but she loved being in the water. I remember a particularly traumatizing trip to Galveston when I was 8. My mom took me rather deep into the ocean and wouldn't let me return to shore until I had swum 20 laps. I started panicking that I would drown or get stung by a jellyfish, so I kept my eyes open the whole time and ended up a stinging eyed, crying, panicking mess. I still had to do my 20 laps, and my mom was mad at me the rest of the day to boot. Luckily I'm not so afraid of the ocean anymore and I do like swimming (in pools, mostly).

  2. #32
    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    I'm black (mostly) and in my family you get tossed into a lake around age 3. My kids were swimming even younger, before they could walk. I think the no-swimming thing runs in families, if your parents didn't learn to swim then you probably didn't. I know lots of black people that don't swim, but then I know a lot of Asians and Hispanics that don't swim either, so I'm not sure that stereotype holds up entirely.

    And I much prefer to swim in natural water than pool water.
    Yep. Swimming is a natural fricking reflex. Animals know how to do it. I think the ability is always there (in EVERY color), but if you couple ability with fear (that is taught), it doesn't work. I mean, if your parents had been afraid of water, you probably wouldn't have learned at such an early age because PEOPLE (all y'all) tend to pass fears on. I taught myself how to swim... grew up on Toledo Bend, loved it. Still love swimming & I'm one of those people who just lay back and naturally float (no, I'm not a turd) with absolutely zero effort.
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  3. #33
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Sojita, I can tell we aren't too far apart in age. We had mandatory disco classes, too.

    When I was growing up, swimming was a cultural touchstone. Everyone went to the pool to hang out and swim.

    Speaking of deep water, I had never really given it too much thought until my wife and I went snorkeling in Hawaii. The water where we were was crystal clear and about 60 feet or so deep. It really looked almost like my wife was being suspended in mid-air. Pretty freaky, but an AWESOME experience.
    I love disco music, but HATED having to be taught lessons in school..and having to do it.

    I think I would be ok in very deep water if there were other people there to keep me from flipping out and all. Snorkeling in water 60 feet deep would not be scary at all-that sounds great.

    I mean like being on a boat very far from land..and the ocean is calm so you leave the boat to swim..and are out there and it suddently hit you that you are miles from land and that water a mile deep is under you and all around you..*freaks out*

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctora Pepper View Post
    So much square dancing hate! When I was in high school, the only the time I enjoyed gym was the weeks we were bowling, swimming, or square dancing. It was fun!

    I'm really surprised that so many kids of any race don't know how to swim. My mom made sure I learned from a young age, but she loved being in the water. I remember a particularly traumatizing trip to Galveston when I was 8. My mom took me rather deep into the ocean and wouldn't let me return to shore until I had swum 20 laps. I started panicking that I would drown or get stung by a jellyfish, so I kept my eyes open the whole time and ended up a stinging eyed, crying, panicking mess. I still had to do my 20 laps, and my mom was mad at me the rest of the day to boot. Luckily I'm not so afraid of the ocean anymore and I do like swimming (in pools, mostly).
    I admit I mostly hated square dancing because I really sucked at it and always messed up our group! Plus I had to dance with girls!

  4. #34
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    I love disco music, but HATED having to be taught lessons in school..and having to do it.

    I admit I mostly hated square dancing because I really sucked at it and always messed up our group! Plus I had to dance with girls!
    I actually liked disco dancing because I got to actually put my hands on cute girls' waists and hips -- in Catholic school, no less. Awesome.

    Square dancing was okay, because it gave me an excuse to clown around. No amount of exaggerated square-dance movement would get me in trouble with the teacher, it seemed.

  5. #35
    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    I remember it was just so embarrassing at that age to have to square dance with the boys class. It did turn out to be fun, but very awkward.
    Am feeling ripped off here, we never got disco dancing class, instead it was modern dance. Very hilarious watching that go down.

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  6. #36
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    The disco dancing was mostly line dancing though..and there was one chick who kept critisizing me...turns out later she had a crush on me and bought me a present and we became friends later.


    With square dancing I would just get mixed up and be standing there in the middle with the rest of them (and the teacher) looking at me like 'great..dumbass has fucked up this simple shit AGAIN!'

  7. #37
    Silver Member Doctora Pepper's Avatar
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    Don't feel bad Sojita. Somehow I managed to fuck up step aerobics even though it was just left up, left down, right up, right down.

  8. #38
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    swimming should be taught in schools, from an early age. i went to primary school in ottawa and geneva and in both places, swimming was part of the curriculum.
    but my parents had already taught me the basics long before we learned in school, and signed us up for swimming lessons at the local y.

    i just can't imagine not knowing how to swim, and not teaching children how to do it from a young age. it just seems so foreign to me. it's one of those basic things, like walking and riding a bike.
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  9. #39
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctora Pepper View Post
    Don't feel bad Sojita. Somehow I managed to fuck up step aerobics even though it was just left up, left down, right up, right down.
    Well I was one of those 'which right?-my right..or my other right?' types. Plus we had to wear horrible 'square dance' clothing that made us look like yokel freaks.

    Yeah, a kid in suburban 1970 America who wants to dance around in a stupid square with other kids with a freaky hat and bandanna on while horrific hilljack music plays and a moron calls out 'moves'. Right.

    Plus they never really explained it very well either..as in teach it. It was like they just expected to call shit out to us and us to automatically follow it correctly. We never really planned her rehearsed it enough. I am scarred by it all now damn them! *thinks about filing a lawsuit*

    I would rather have been out swimming than doing that crap-even in winter!

  10. #40
    Silver Member Doctora Pepper's Avatar
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    Yokel clothes! Oh my. That might have horrified me too. For us we had square dancing for one week and then line dancing the next, IIRC. It was one of the few times in gym we got to wear our street clothes instead of those soul crushing and leg stumpifying gym clothes. I think that added to the appeal.

  11. #41
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    God, I was swimming before I could walk or crawl. I didn't even need swimming lessons except on how to do a proper front crawl, when to breathe, and the butterfly (which is still a hugely inefficient way to swim, i don't care what anybody says). I even did it competitively for awhile and because i was a twig i was fast.

    Even now i'm my somewhat rubinesque form I'm more at home in the water than on my own 2 feet. Get me near a tropical ocean and i'll never leave.
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  12. #42
    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    The place these kids were swimming at is a horrible place to swim, it's full of sinkholes or suction holes that will just suck your ass down and you have to be an amazing swimmer to get out of it, I grew up about 10 miles from where this happened and no one was allowed to swim there because of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1973 View Post
    Yep. Swimming is a natural fricking reflex. Animals know how to do it. I think the ability is always there (in EVERY color), but if you couple ability with fear (that is taught), it doesn't work. I mean, if your parents had been afraid of water, you probably wouldn't have learned at such an early age because PEOPLE (all y'all) tend to pass fears on. I taught myself how to swim... grew up on Toledo Bend, loved it. Still love swimming & I'm one of those people who just lay back and naturally float (no, I'm not a turd) with absolutely zero effort.
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  13. #43
    Gold Member philbert_wormly's Avatar
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    I cannot believe that there are folks on this thread who had to do the squaredancing thing too! Dang.

    I think that it would be easier said than done for kids to learn how to swim at school, what for so many schools not having pools or much in the way of funding sometimes.

    But, I think that it is important for kids to learn to swim in an actual full sized pool for sure and that the easiest way to do that is over at the public pools which most cities seem to have.

    I live in a city which has a very fair sized African American population and there are public pools scattered all throughout the city here. The city did have a problem a while back with a pervert life guard, but never with the youngsters learning to swim as near as I can tell.

    Maybe the Red Cross should start buddying up with some school districts which have public pools so the youngsters can all learn to swim?

    When I was a kid, my grandmother forced me to learn to swim. I grew up with one of those above ground pools and was way to tall to do much more than bathe my lower torso in it if anything. I spent a summer with my (late) maternal grandmother over in South Florida. She was from Barranquilla, Colombia, which is a city right along the water. We went to the beach this one time and she said that she was so ashamed of my swimming abilities (or lack thereof) that she forced me to stay in the water until I figured out how to swim out a good depth where my feet would not touch the ground at all. So, I swam and swam until she shut up and I have no idea how I did not drown. But, I did learn how to swim.

  14. #44
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    There should be a 'I was forced to squaredance as a child at school and was traumatized by that jacked up stuff' thread.

  15. #45
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i didn't grow up in the 70s and i was in eastern canada and we had square dancing in school as well. thankfully not for very long but still, it was a part of our gym class. and it sucked.
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