Are you crazy black people can't swim

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Your coach is just a little bit insane I think. Ugh.

When I was in school, EVERY kid had to pass a swimming test in Junior High. You didn't have to be a GOOD swimmer but you had to know the basics in order to pass. Not sure if that is still the case today or not.

Nothing to do with being black but this story reminded me of the time my boss came back from a meeting and told me that someone had asked him why he was wearing brown because "Jews don't wear brown". Um. Ok. We still laugh about the ridiculousness of it.

strictly, just ignore the idiots of the world, go do your own thing, swim, have fun.
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Thats steriotyping and racism. As others have said, I would make a formal complaint. This reminds me of my friend's situation. She is a 100 metre runner and holds the record for our area. She is white and when she went to go tryout for track and field the coach laughed in her face.

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I have read that the fear of water held by Blacks goes back to the slave ships and is a vestige of the terror felt then. As well as the issues with hair and water, for Black women. And the issues associated with poverty and the lack of opportunities to learn to swim. I think as Blacks become more and more upwardly mobile, there is and will continue to be much more comfort with swimming.

My kids take swimming classes and love it and have no fear of the water. We enjoy going to the lake, or to the ocean when we are in the islands, so it is important to me that they be strong swimmers. I think starting really young (6 months) was good for them. My oldest is pretty talented and I'm excited to see where this takes him as he is way ahead of his age group.

I took swimming as a kid and never really got that good at it - the Olympics has made me want to go back and take lessons, except for the chlorine in the hair issue - but I certainly can swim as far as the basics go. My husband also took swimming as a child and is quite a good swimmer. I hadn't heard the "Blacks don't swim" thing until fairly recently because all of my cousins in the younger generations of my family also take or took swimming and some do competitive water sports and had scholarships for that, etc. I was surprised to learn that my mama and her generation and up can't swim, even though they grew up on the islands and went to the beach all the time. I don't think my husband's parents can swim, either. So to me it was more of an "old folks" thing than a Black thing. I think it has a lot to do with having disposable income and time.

As to the OP, I'd definitely report that and find out if there are any witnesses to back you up. And don't let it discourage you from swimming.
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Last edited by Amneris; 08-17-2012 at 04:29 AM.
Thats steriotyping and racism. As others have said, I would make a formal complaint. This reminds me of my friend's situation. She is a 100 metre runner and holds the record for our area. She is white and when she went to go tryout for track and field the coach laughed in her face.

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Originally Posted by TangledTorii
Is the coach Black? Did s/he make a specific comment that your friend was white and that was why s/he was laughing at her? If she already holds the record, why was she trying out for track and field as if she is an "unknown?"

In all the time I've followed track, it's not unheard of for white women to be strong 100m runners. It's much more rare for white men. So it seems strange that a track coach would have an issue with this.
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Your coach is just a little bit insane I think. Ugh.

When I was in school, EVERY kid had to pass a swimming test in Junior High. You didn't have to be a GOOD swimmer but you had to know the basics in order to pass. Not sure if that is still the case today or not.

strictly, just ignore the idiots of the world, go do your own thing, swim, have fun.
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl
No where near the case where I'm from, but no school has ever had a swimming pool. Lol. Though the high school did have a swim team.?. I always wondered where they had meets, practiced during cooler months, etc... It was a mystery.

There are people from every single walk of life imaginable that can and can not swim. I can make my way under water, doggy paddle, and float like nobodies business but "try not to drown" is essentially the end of my abilities.

I am glad you got back into the water after your coaches remark. I am sorry it was said, and that it upset you, but please do *NOT* let it distract you.

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Last edited by Fifi.G; 08-17-2012 at 11:05 AM.
I was surprised to learn that my mama and her generation and up can't swim, even though they grew up on the islands and went to the beach all the time.
Originally Posted by Amneris
What the heck is that about??!?!

I dated a guy from Trinidad and we went to the beach one day. He got in, but when we all headed further out, he said he would go in and wait...he couldn't swim! I told him he was nuts as he grew up on an island!

He's living in Australia now and we were talking the other day. He assured me he can swim now
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This was the coach who said this?! Wow...
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Don't let it discourage you. I didn't learn to swim until a few years ago, but I'm not a pro. I can swim enough to stay alive but that's about it. Some people were surprised when I was taking lessons, but unlike some blacks, I always wanted to learn as I always liked the water. Hardly anyone on either side of my family can swim, even though a fair number of them live near water. I didn't want to perpetuate the culturally rooted fear of water rooted in slavery and so forth. That coach doesn't belong anywhere near young people. If you're so inclined, you or your mother can file a complaint.
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How timely. It was just announced yesterday.

And come to think of it, the first time I was ever called the n-word, it was at a pool, at summer camp, and yes, I knew how to swim.
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Last edited by Guide22; 08-17-2012 at 09:19 AM.

No where near the case where I'm from, but no school has ever had a swimming pool. Lol. Though the high school did have a swim team.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
Oh hahaha, our school did not have a pool. We all walked over to the YMCA to use their pool for classes.
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How timely. It was just announced yesterday.

And come to think of it, the first time I was ever called the n-word, it was at a pool, at summer camp, and yes, I knew how to swim.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I wish that's what I had been called.
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Tell anyone in my country they can't swim because they are Latin or descend from African slaves and they will laugh at your face. We love our beaches!

I doubt fear of water felt by slaves would have been handed down from generation to generation. And seeing how pools and swimming as a sport are fairly modern, I'm sure 20th century segregation laws are more significant. People being told they can't use a pool because they were "coloured" probably didn't/don't want their kids to go through the same humiliation. With pools, there's another aspect that's particularly painful, I would imagine, and that's the idea of cleanliness (or lack of, in the minds of racists).

But even today pools are costly to build and maintain, so there's still an elitist aspect to swimming.

It's just one of those things were a misconception becomes self-reinforcing. People confuse the symptom with the cause. Few black people swim, therefore, that must mean they can't swim. And the more you repeat this, the more people will believe it.
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Tell anyone in my country they can't swim because they are Latin or descend from African slaves and they will laugh at your face. We love our beaches!

I doubt fear of water felt by slaves would have been handed down from generation to generation. And seeing how pools and swimming as a sport are fairly modern, I'm sure 20th century segregation laws are more significant. People being told they can't use a pool because they were "coloured" probably didn't/don't want their kids to go through the same humiliation. With pools, there's another aspect that's particularly painful, I would imagine, and that's the idea of cleanliness (or lack of, in the minds of racists).

But even today pools are costly to build and maintain, so there's still an elitist aspect to swimming.

It's just one of those things were a misconception becomes self-reinforcing. People confuse the symptom with the cause. Few black people swim, therefore, that must mean they can't swim. And the more you repeat this, the more people will believe it.
Originally Posted by Dedachan
To the bold: that is true. My grandmother had a pool growing up, so i got to go swimming all the time. When people found out I had access to a pool, they thought my family was rich,; no, grandma and grandpa got money from selling some land to the city and wanted to get their grandkids a pool. I also got some people asking me if i could swim, or if i was afraid. I thought it was the strangers thing. i thought everyone could swim or liked swimming. Now that i'm older, I have meet alot of black people who were on swim teams as well as a fair share who goes no where near the water, ever the beach.
Tell anyone in my country they can't swim because they are Latin or descend from African slaves and they will laugh at your face. We love our beaches!

I doubt fear of water felt by slaves would have been handed down from generation to generation. And seeing how pools and swimming as a sport are fairly modern, I'm sure 20th century segregation laws are more significant. People being told they can't use a pool because they were "coloured" probably didn't/don't want their kids to go through the same humiliation. With pools, there's another aspect that's particularly painful, I would imagine, and that's the idea of cleanliness (or lack of, in the minds of racists).

But even today pools are costly to build and maintain, so there's still an elitist aspect to swimming.

It's just one of those things were a misconception becomes self-reinforcing. People confuse the symptom with the cause. Few black people swim, therefore, that must mean they can't swim. And the more you repeat this, the more people will believe it.
Originally Posted by Dedachan
Loving beaches doesn't mean you can swim though - Latin/African people in the Caribbean love the beach too, but many can't actually swim. And they didn't have segregation in the strict sense that the US did. There was unofficial segregation, big-time, but as the vast majority of people were of colour, it was in a totally different context. I agree with you though about the elitist/economic basis for the stereotype.

As to fears from slavery being handed down through the generations, many researchers do believe that this occurs in various ways, and it's something that I also believe to be true, but it's certainly a debatable point.
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Of course, but what I meant to imply is that they do swim. I can only speak from my experience, of course, but when I go to my hometown, Salvador, I see black youths diving from cliffs straight into the sea as well as many black fishermen too. In fact, the African Brazilan heritage is very much linked with the sea when you look at "candomblé" and how they worship Iemanjá, the godess of the sea.

I have to assume that stripping down and swimming in a lake or whatever else was near wasn't habitual. It's why I think this fear of water would not have rubbed on, if only for lack of context. Realistically, only some of those slaves that travelled by ship would have developped the phobia anyway.
Of course, but what I meant to imply is that they do swim. I can only speak from my experience, of course, but when I go to my hometown, Salvador, I see black youths diving from cliffs straight into the sea as well as many black fishermen too. In fact, the African Brazilan heritage is very much linked with the sea when you look at "candomblé" and how they worship Iemanjá, the godess of the sea.

I have to assume that stripping down and swimming in a lake or whatever else was near wasn't habitual. It's why I think this fear of water would not have rubbed on, if only for lack of context. Realistically, only some of those slaves that travelled by ship would have developped the phobia anyway.
Originally Posted by Dedachan

I don't think she is saying that the fear was passed down in their Jungian "collective subconscious" or anything. But just that Black people whose ancestors crossed over grow up hearing jokes and cynical remarks like, "you remember the last time they got us on a boat what happened..." and "we do better on dry land...don't believe me? Watch the Olympics."

Black people just tend to be acculturated that way. Not all, though. Especialy as AAs began enlisting and being drafted into the armed services and as large cities began building pools in neighborhoods where Black people live. And as AAs became more affluent in the 70s and 80s. Swimming became less "scary"
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Of course, but what I meant to imply is that they do swim. I can only speak from my experience, of course, but when I go to my hometown, Salvador, I see black youths diving from cliffs straight into the sea as well as many black fishermen too. In fact, the African Brazilan heritage is very much linked with the sea when you look at "candomblé" and how they worship Iemanjá, the godess of the sea.

I have to assume that stripping down and swimming in a lake or whatever else was near wasn't habitual. It's why I think this fear of water would not have rubbed on, if only for lack of context. Realistically, only some of those slaves that travelled by ship would have developped the phobia anyway.
Originally Posted by Dedachan
And the same is true of the Caribbean - lots of fishers, and rituals around St. Peter, saint of fishers, and so on. But still many people who can't or don't swim.

I think of the fear of water as not being that specific - no, slaves weren't asked to get undressed and swim. But the water itself was seen as scary, foreign and something imposed. There's a theory in the Caribbean that many Black people do not want to farm and grow food in part because they have a hatred of working on the land due to slavery. Modern farming is obviously not going out with a cutlass and cutting sugarcane, but it's the general collective memory of agricultural work as being unpleasant. Likewise, there's a generalized cultural belief that water is "scary." You might make your living from it fishing, etc. because you have to, and you might wade into it when you go to the beach, but intentionally putting yourself deep into it is another matter.
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I can swim. And my booty is my floatation device! Lol. I can't tread water though, I need to learn. Otherwise I would have to float until someone saved me from the middle of the ocean!
And I have trouble doing the classic stroke swim that professional swimmers do. But I can swim under water

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I can swim. And my booty is my floatation device! Lol. I can't tread water though, I need to learn. Otherwise I would have to float until someone saved me from the middle of the ocean!
And I have trouble doing the classic stroke swim that professional swimmers do. But I can swim under water

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Originally Posted by B-Nessa11
LMFAO me too girl! I'm not the best swimmer, but yes I can swim! Don't expect me to do laps around the pool though, I'm too lazy for that and too busy trying to look cute.

I didn't know how to swim until I was like 9 though. My aunt took my cousins to swim classes and she eventually started taking us since she watched me over the summer. I was ok. Wasn't the best swimmer, but I can swim!

My mom and aunts can't swim though. It's true that a lot of Black folks can't swim. I think especially in the south where I'm from.

I haven't gone swimming since the 8th grade (so 13 yrs old?) and I'm 23 so IDK if it's possible to forget how. Hopefully it's like riding a bike LOL!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-Nessa11 I can swim. And my booty is my floatation device! Lol. I can't tread water though, I need to learn. Otherwise I would have to float until someone saved me from the middle of the ocean!
And I have trouble doing the classic stroke swim that professional swimmers do. But I can swim under water

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Last edited by OBB; 08-17-2012 at 04:52 PM.

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