Friday, July 10, 2009
I could not find the Valley Swim Club listed in IRS Publication 78 nor on Guidestar so it may not be federally tax exempt. Still, yesterday's local and national media reports were disturbing on both a personal and professional level. According to one local report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "The club includes more than 10 acres of land and a 110,000-gallon pool, according to its Web site, and is a private nonprofit organization chartered in 1954. A single membership is $395 per year." The club's website has a "dot com" (rather than "dot org") suffix and is apparently no longer operational, except for a bold face (literally) denial of the allegations made in local and national media. It seems that a summer day camp populated by 65 mostly African American and a few Hispanic kids paid a nearly $2000 fee to use the club's swimming pool. When regular club members -- or more accurately -- parents of white kid members saw a pool full of black and brown kids, some parents expressed concern that "these dangerous black kids might hurt our kids." According to the Inquirer, one kid remarked:
"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor. The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise. "When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately." The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.
In a remarkably stupid demonstration of Freudian slips, the President of the Club explained, "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," Ironically, as noted above, the Club was "chartered in 1954, the same year the Supreme Court decided . . . well, you know this already. There is a Black man swimming in the White House pool for Christ's sake! By the way, that's the new millenia's answer to "we can put a man on the moon, for Christ's sake!. It is a way of asking with exasperation, "why can't we fix this already!" Even if he was expressing a widely held sentiment amongst club members, the board seems to have rightly taken the President's ass to the woodshed for sharing it so openly (see the club's website via the link above). One supposes the larger question is, does the meaning of charity differ from state to state. Is there a state's right component to "charity." On the federal level we don't know precisely what charity means but we know for sure it does not include racial discrimination. Should the club lose its presumed state property tax exemption for its apparently discriminatory policies. I should mention, by the way, that the regular club members say "its not about race, its about space." Another Freudian slip. The civil rights movement was always about "space." "Space" to live one's life as a dignified human being, Idiot!
A club member told a newspaper that she understood the problem was the size of the group, not race. But Wright rejected that explanation, saying the club covers 10 acres with a "nice-sized" pool and a separate pool for younger children. The board, she said, knew that her group included 65 children, and none of them had misbehaved.
So let me see if I got this right: Had the pool had been overcrowded by 65 fee paying white kids none of this would have happened. Management would have just picked 65 fee paying white kids at random, given them a refund and told them to get out, right? Spare me. My complexion may be dense in one sense of the word but I ain't stupid. Miles to go before we sleep.