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Thread: Why don't black Americans swim?

  1. #106
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I've been curious about that aspect. My daughter had African American boys and girls on her swim team, with a variety of hair types/styles. Chlorine (and water, in general) can do a real number on your hair, though.

    To protect their hair, a bunch of the girls wear swim caps that are color coordinated with their suits. I WISH my daughter would do that because combing her hair out after swimming is a nightmare, and she has totally straight hair.

    As far as schools instituting swim programs, even in our area (which is pretty affluent), none of the schools have a pool. So, you would have to actually bus or walk the students to the nearest pool, get them to swim, and then get them dressed and back into class. Not only would that be a logistical problem, it would be a liability problem, too.
    I'm not sure why it would have to be either - don't schools have field trips all the time, for all kinds of stuff? During sport seasons we certainly traveled by bus or carpool to rival schools to play over the lunch hour, or to perform with the band or whatever, and we did the same for class swimming lessons in grade 5. I don't think any of our local schools had their own pool, but the kids traveled either to the Y or the other community pool which had its own grading system. We did it in a two- or three-week intensive program, swimming lessons every day for a while and then you were done. Come to think of it, we did the same with gymnastics for a while. I think the idea was just to expose kids to something different, build some new skills, etc.

    Even at that, I don't think a single one of us in my class actually needed to learn to swim from scratch. Everyone I can think of took swimming lessons as a kid, most of us just went up a badge level or two during the grade 5 lessons.
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  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprynkles View Post
    That's what I don't get. Why isn't it just natural for people to swim?
    I don't know if this is true or not, but I have been told that swimming is a natural instinct that we are born with but lose as we grow older, which is why starting your kids swimming at an early age is such a great idea, particularly because they instinctively hold their breath and start to make the motions of swimming/propelling themselves when in the water.


    When I started going swimming with my school we were all transported to the local pool by bus. It wasnt seen as a problem at all, it was just the way it was done. When I went to senior school we were about 15 or 20 minutes walk away from the nearest pool and we walked there and back. Again, it wasn't seen as a problem. I didn't mind the swimming lessons at all as it beat the alternative which was hockey and those bitches were lethal with their hockey sticks. They spent more time trying to crack ankles and fracture shins to settle old scores than actually hitting the ball.
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  3. #108
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    when we had swimming at school in canada, we went by bus. when we had swimming at school in switzerland, we walked to the nearest pool. it was about a 20 minute walk.
    it wasn't very complicated. we did it every week. it didn't require a lot of logistics and there weren't any liability problems.
    it's only a problem if there are a lot of assholes involved who like to make life more complicated than it is.
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  4. #109
    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    It's a huge liability here in this lawsuit-friendly country. I know that anytime my staff take children to water activities, even if it's just FISHING and the're not even getting IN, there must be a certified lifeguard there with them at all times.
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  5. #110
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    well we had lifeguards and swimming instructors at the pool. and sometimes even mothers with too much free time on their hands who would tag along.
    i still fail to see why it would be so complicated.
    in canada we also used to go to this camp/wilderness thing twice a year, starting in 3rd or 4th grade, for 3 days at a time. we camped, hiked, built igloos/snow shelters, etc...
    kind of sad if kids can't do that anymore without lawyers getting involved.
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  6. #111
    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Swimming was not a requirement back when I was in school and we did not have a pool. We did have the square dancing and we also had gymnastics and trampoline each year.

    Now my daughter's school has a great pool. Swimming is required in freshman year. Once you are a junior you can elect to take swimming as your required gym class and get your Red Cross Life Guarding certificate. The do not square dance or do gymnastics and the trampoline though.
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  7. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by *DIVA! View Post
    I learned how to swim when I was a kid. And I still swim to this day. Some black women don't swim because of their hair... It costs $75 for a touch-up and style...you can't go swimming and mess that up.
    I was about to mention black women and perms issue. Black women who wear their hair natural don't have to wear about that stuff.

    btw, $75? Getting a perm and styled never cost me more than $45.

  8. #113
    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    ^^^
    well we had lifeguards and swimming instructors at the pool. and sometimes even mothers with too much free time on their hands who would tag along.
    i still fail to see why it would be so complicated.
    in canada we also used to go to this camp/wilderness thing twice a year, starting in 3rd or 4th grade, for 3 days at a time. we camped, hiked, built igloos/snow shelters, etc...
    kind of sad if kids can't do that anymore without lawyers getting involved.
    It's not complicated, just gotta have a certified lifeguard. Moms don't count. If a kid drowns, and they do, there must be someone who is clearly in charge and accountable because people do sue. If you just take along a hodge podge of adults, there is a big diffusion of responsibility (as the sociologists say) and nobody is really responsible, and everybody points fingers if a problem happens. Just this society I live in.

    And another word on the "complicated" part. Having coordinated water activities for kids for many years, it's no biggie to me, but some people get scared off of it because of little stuff, like making sure the kids have everything they need, making sure they're wearing sunscreen (because if they come home burned, some momma is sure to raise hell), getting everybody changed and then changed back etc. If you're not used to corralling a bunch of kids and doing this, it can seem a little intimidating. Sounds easier than it is.

    Plus, there is the unfortunate issue of sexual acting out. It does occur, probably not much in the "normal" population but you never know. Kids who have been sexually abused may have certain behaviors to contend with while they're changing clothes and they may have certain behaviors toward other kids while in the water. Just another issue to keep in mind.

    Our lawyers scare us to death with this stuff. And yes, it is a shame.
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  9. #114
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    i meant there were mothers on top of the lifeguards and swimming instructors.

    god, i'm glad i grew up when i did and not in some sue-happy bubble where kids don't to do anything anymore.
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  10. #115
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tati View Post
    I'm not sure why it would have to be either - don't schools have field trips all the time, for all kinds of stuff?
    My kids' school has only two or three field trips a year.

    In terms of local pools, there are something like 27 county-owned pools, but all but three of them are outdoors. School typically starts around the time that they close the outdoor pools (Labor Day) and the county stops maintaining them until the following May. To get to one of the three indoor pools would probably take about 20-30 minutes each way, then you have to add the time changing and swimming. So, I think it would be like a half-day activity.

    I think, more than anything, schools are probably under pressure to show academic results, and it would be kind of unlikely they would give up that much of the day to teach kids to swim.

  11. #116
    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post

    I think, more than anything, schools are probably under pressure to show academic results, and it would be kind of unlikely they would give up that much of the day to teach kids to swim.
    This is a good point. It's all about standardized testing now, and they tolerate very little that interferes with those results.
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  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    ^^^
    well we had lifeguards and swimming instructors at the pool. and sometimes even mothers with too much free time on their hands who would tag along.
    i still fail to see why it would be so complicated.
    in canada we also used to go to this camp/wilderness thing twice a year, starting in 3rd or 4th grade, for 3 days at a time. we camped, hiked, built igloos/snow shelters, etc...
    kind of sad if kids can't do that anymore without lawyers getting involved.
    It is the 'sue happy American' thing. It never used to be like this: when I was growing up all kinds of shit happened, and nobody sued anyone, usually cause the kid did something stupid and brought on what happened(minor injury, dogbite, etc)

    Now..hell you just cannot take any chances-just look at all the 'judge' shows on American TV where people are suing the shit out of eachother on this. The 'SUE!!!' thing in American culture is off the charts. It really is ridiculous and I cannot think of any nation that is so tort happy and so full of lawyers-we MUST be number one per capita in the world for them!

    Lawyers and krazy Kristians..we are overloaded with them!

  13. #118
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    The whole issue of "liability" is sucking the fun and enjoyment out of practically any school activity. The law is an ass for enabling litigious parents to sue as a first resort but people who use the law to earn some easy money have to take some of the blame too. The spectre of "sexual abuse" merely adds to the overall atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia.

    It's not uncommon for parents of kids who are participating in swimming competitions here to be banned from taking photos of their own kids because they might be "perverts". I despair.
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  14. #119
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Parents should have to sign a waver: School is not responsible for injuries sustained while children are engaged in normal play.
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  15. #120
    A*O
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    Yeah but what is "normal" play? We used to run around a concrete playground, regularly fall over and every single kid had some kind of gravel rash on their hands/knees. We used to set up "camps" and make mud pies - they tasted quite good. We had monkey bars set into the same concrete which we were allowed, even encouraged, to climb on. There were the usual "crazes" like marbles, french skipping (that thing with the elastic), conkers and those clacker things that would smash knuckles before you got the hang of it. So long as we went home alive everyone seemed OK with it and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't even occur to most parents to consult the lawyers if their kid came home with a black eye or a chipped tooth.
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