Are you crazy black people can't swim

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My huge booty must be filled with lead because I sink like a rock. I always thought I should at least be good at floating (front and rear flotation is plentiful) and I can't even do that right.

I did doggy paddle once, so there's that.




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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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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.
Originally Posted by Amneris
Yes the coach was black. And he basically said that white people cant run 100 meteres. She basically proved the coach wrong and he was forced to take her on the team. This was at the beginning of hs & she made the record after.

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Just because there is a high percentage of blacks who can't swim, that doesn't mean none swim. They certainly do...and they do it well. Anyone can swim. And they should.

My son a few years ago with a few of his HS teammates...South American exchange student, Black, my son, and hispanic. They all got college scholarships for swimming.

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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


One time I went to practice swim for my free dive test at work at a pool club with this other WOC, we were doing warm up laps and this stupid heffa came out and watched us (there was a life guard already but I'm sure I saw him radio her because I noticed he was eyeing us) and then she said after the first laps "OH THEY CAN SWIM" and then went back into her office. I'm still mad at that.
Just because there is a high percentage of blacks who can't swim, that doesn't mean none swim. They certainly do...and they do it well. Anyone can swim. And they should.

My son a few years ago with a few of his HS teammates...South American exchange student, Black, my son, and hispanic. They all got college scholarships for swimming.

Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Your son is a QT
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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.
Originally Posted by Amneris
^^THIS!!

Before me, 4 generations of my family didn't know how to swim, me and 3 of my family members almost drowned because of it. I never went to a school that had a pool, primary nor secondary. Even the neighborhood I lived in only had 1 rec center with a pool, and it was often overcrowded and offered no swimming lessons. So if my mom didn't know how to swim, and there were no community resources, how was I supposed to learn. Honestly it wasn't until I went to visit my uncle(who lives in a predominately white area and coincidently is the only one that can swim) and he taught me the basics. I then taught my sister, who taught my brother. I now live in a predominately white area, and have just enrolled my kids in lessons since we live around water and own a boat.

I actually saw that interview with Cullen that someone was talking about(too lazy to look back,sorry). The reporter was a black woman, who by coincidence also didn't know how to swim. She said that sure, while there was some truth to the whole "black women not wanting to get their hair wet", she also thought it was just some ingrained fear of water. My mom even says she won't get in "more than a full bathtub amount of water". Then they highlighted a story where several children drowned in a river in the south, because no one could swim, not even the parents who could only stand on the side and scream. It was tragic.

I could see the fear of something (in this instance water) being passed down. If you were never exposed, you know nothing about it, and therefore don't teach your children about it, and so on. Fear is powerful, it can go on for centuries. Look at racism, which is based on fear. Eventually with exposure, it fades a little, but it never has to be a rational thing.

Regarding the OP, good for you! The only way to break a stereotype (even if it may be partially true) is to prove it wrong. You just took another brick out of the wall!!
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I could see the fear of something (in this instance water) being passed down. If you were never exposed, you know nothing about it, and therefore don't teach your children about it, and so on. Fear is powerful, it can go on for centuries. Look at racism, which is based on fear. Eventually with exposure, it fades a little, but it never has to be a rational thing.
Originally Posted by Kinky DaySha
This makes total sense! If you hear about something dangerous over and over growing up, know no one that does it, why would you want to?

Kind of like families that don't have dogs, or interact with any. If you hear about dog bites, mean dogs, how awful dogs are your whole life, you're most likely not going to grow up and get one!
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so what Amneris is saying that the next time im being chased by a black police officer all i need to do is jump in the closest body of water
so what Amneris is saying that the next time im being chased by a black police officer all i need to do is jump in the closest body of water
Originally Posted by OBB
What's this about next time??? Seems like a story needs to be told!
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Audrey Hepburn
I hope nobody thought I was somehow being racist for posting that article. I just found it interesting that they actually dug deeper, beyond "Black people can't swim because they're poor" or "black women don't want to get their hair wet." By no means do I think all black people can't swim or that black people suck at swimming.

Somebody I know who grew up in Hawaii told me that there are many Hawaiians who can't swim. She said a lot of it is because the ocean isn't really conducive to swimming lessons and pools aren't accessible to many people who live there. She learned to swim when she was 40 and she only decided to take lessons because her sister learned at 35 and showed it was possible.
so what Amneris is saying that the next time im being chased by a black police officer all i need to do is jump in the closest body of water
Originally Posted by OBB
What's this about next time??? Seems like a story needs to be told!
Originally Posted by CurlyCanadian

no no no CC. a gentleman should never kill and tell
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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
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.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I LOVE bacon but have always given ham a side-eye. For some reason I just feel uncomfortable eating it.

I remember asking my rabbi about this and he said that many jews have an irrational 'fear' of ham. He said he thinks it's vestigial feelings from when jewish people were force fed ham and pig many years ago to embarrass and shame them.

INNERESTING. Just sayin'
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.
Originally Posted by Amneris
^^THIS!!

Before me, 4 generations of my family didn't know how to swim, me and 3 of my family members almost drowned because of it. I never went to a school that had a pool, primary nor secondary. Even the neighborhood I lived in only had 1 rec center with a pool, and it was often overcrowded and offered no swimming lessons. So if my mom didn't know how to swim, and there were no community resources, how was I supposed to learn. Honestly it wasn't until I went to visit my uncle(who lives in a predominately white area and coincidently is the only one that can swim) and he taught me the basics. I then taught my sister, who taught my brother. I now live in a predominately white area, and have just enrolled my kids in lessons since we live around water and own a boat.

I actually saw that interview with Cullen that someone was talking about(too lazy to look back,sorry). The reporter was a black woman, who by coincidence also didn't know how to swim. She said that sure, while there was some truth to the whole "black women not wanting to get their hair wet", she also thought it was just some ingrained fear of water. My mom even says she won't get in "more than a full bathtub amount of water". Then they highlighted a story where several children drowned in a river in the south, because no one could swim, not even the parents who could only stand on the side and scream. It was tragic.

I could see the fear of something (in this instance water) being passed down. If you were never exposed, you know nothing about it, and therefore don't teach your children about it, and so on. Fear is powerful, it can go on for centuries. Look at racism, which is based on fear. Eventually with exposure, it fades a little, but it never has to be a rational thing.

Regarding the OP, good for you! The only way to break a stereotype (even if it may be partially true) is to prove it wrong. You just took another brick out of the wall!!
Originally Posted by Kinky DaySha
I can't tell you how much your posted resonated with me. I started posting yesterday but got tired and went to bed. When I refreshed my page this morning, I was able to retrieve my post!

I grew up in a NYC housing project with no nearby pools. Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and the Rockaways were a schlep, so I never had a real opportunity to learn to swim. I taught myself once my children were born, because I felt it was important but my technique is terrible. I also have a terrifying fear of drowning. I feel like I'm going to start hyperventilating when I tread water. I just start to panic. I'm so afraid of large bodies of water. What's down there? OMG. I can't even think about it. I do okay when I'm snorkeling, since I can see what's below me, but I still don't feel 100% comfortable.

My mother, who is from the Dominican Republic, never learned to swim, and used to tell me stories of people falling into and drowning in Los Tres Ojos, and drowning in Los Siete Lagos. I couldn't have been older than 8 years-old. Those stories still haunt me three decades later.

My two older kids began lessons at 6 months and now swim like fish. My two younger kids are in their second year of lessons, but still wear floaties. Like you, we're on the water and own a boat. We also just bought a summer place on the water and I'm hypervigilant when I'm there.
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We also just bought a summer place on the water and I'm hypervigilant when I'm there.
Originally Posted by medussa
For a weekend at a summer house on the water...I will gladly swim & build sand castles with 4 kids all day!!!

*** Editing to add!!!! ***

Would like some assurance of wine at the end of the day!
medussa likes this.
I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
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Last edited by CurlyCanadian; 08-18-2012 at 11:02 AM.
Then they highlighted a story where several children drowned in a river in the south, because no one could swim, not even the parents who could only stand on the side and scream. It was tragic.
That happened here in Louisiana. One teenager fell in and five more followed while the family looked on. A whole family reunion and not one person could swim. A bystander went in and got one guy, but the other five died. It was heartbreaking to think of all those people standing around who couldn't swim. It was just the saddest thing.

I had never realized that there were adults who couldn't swim. I thought it was like riding a bike - just a thing all kids pick up at some point.
Then they highlighted a story where several children drowned in a river in the south, because no one could swim, not even the parents who could only stand on the side and scream. It was tragic.
That happened here in Louisiana. One teenager fell in and five more followed while the family looked on. A whole family reunion and not one person could swim. A bystander went in and got one guy, but the other five died. It was heartbreaking to think of all those people standing around who couldn't swim. It was just the saddest thing.

I had never realized that there were adults who couldn't swim. I thought it was like riding a bike - just a thing all kids pick up at some point.
Originally Posted by CGNYC
I found the story...it's just beyond heartbreaking. That poor family.

Six Teens Drown in Louisiana River - New America Media

From the article:

New data from the USA Swimming Foundation shows that 69 percent of African-American children have no swimming ability, compared to 41.8 percent of their White counterparts.

The foundation believes apprehension towards swimming is passed down from generation to generation in Blacks, and the need to get lessons is not stressed. They also cite limited access to swimming pools and lack of funds for classes as other reasons why many Blacks are not able to swim.

According to Jacksonville, Fla.ís WJXT, many YMCAs in Florida are trying to break the cycle by incorporating free swim lessons into their camp programs and giving special attention to non-swimmers.
I took swimming lessons at the YMCA for several years.
Also, through school, we had to take swimming in grade 4.

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