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'My Kids Were Victims of Racism'

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One mom whose kids were banned from Valley Swim Club is mad as hell.

Some kids from the Creative Steps Day Care center say club members made racial remarks.

A Philadelphia day camp of primarily Hispanic and African-American kids planned to go to the Valley Swim Club once a week. On their first visit, many kids heard other club members make racist comments toward them while they were swimming. After the first week, they were told not to come back. Shockingly, the club president said they changed the "complexion" of the club.

Outrageous!

Sharrae Thompson, a mother of 5, was personally affected by the Valley Swim Club incident. Four of her kids go to the day camp that was banished from the club. Here, her reaction.

ML: How did you learn about the alleged incident at the pool?

Sharrae: I have 5 kids, ages 22, 16, 14, and 5-year-old twins. Four of my kids are attending camp this summer. My kids have been going to the camp for the past 5 years. Normally on Mondays, my kids come home with wet towels because they go swimming. On this particular day, I noticed their towels were dry. They told me they didn't go swimming. The twins said I needed to call Ms. Wright (the executive director of the camp) because she'd explain what happened. My older boys, Louis (16) and Dymir (14), sat down and told me. Dymir explained that some people at the pool made racial slurs to him and other kids. He said when he and the other campers went into the pool, all the white people got out. A few white people said to other white people, "Grab your children before they do something to them." They also made comments like, "What are all these black kids doing here?"

ML: What was your reaction?

Sharrae: My mouth dropped. I couldn't close my mouth, I was so upset. At that time, I called Ms. Wright and spoke with her. We had a meeting with her and the other parents at the school and there was outrage amongst all the parents. The pool club refunded our money and said the kids couldn't go back there.

Sharrae Thompson and her children

ML: How did you explain this situation to your children?

Sharrae: My 5-year-old twins, Khalif and Khayla, don't understand, and I don't want them to know about it. I don't want to explain it to them because they are young and I don't want them to be focused on their complexion. There are more things to be focused on than the color of their skin. I sat down with Louis and Dymir. They didn't understand why people would say such a thing, and what was wrong with them that they couldn't get in the pool? I explained there are a lot of ignorant people in the world and they shouldn't let them impact their views, and they should accept people for who they are regardless of their skin color.

ML: Where do you go from here?

Sharrae: At this point, I am trying to find another swim club for them to go to. A local college offered to let the kids swim there, and the parents have another meeting with Ms. Wright next week. She's awesome, and she goes all out for her kids at the camp.

ML: What is your message to moms who are reading this?

Sharrae: There are more things in this world that people should be concerned about other than people's complexion. Nobody has the right to treat kids this way. I am hurt that any child has to be exposed to this. These kids are going to forever be affected by this. They will always remember this, and now they are going to feel unwanted and unwelcome by Caucasians. Hopefully, the kids won't grow up to be as ignorant as these people -- I can assure you mine won't, because I don't condone racism at all. I grew up in Philadelphia and never experienced racism, ever. I am so angry about this situation, and I am hurt that my kids and I have to go through this.

What do you think about the incident at Valley Swim Club? Comment below and share your thoughts.


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46 comments so far | Post a comment now
kristen July 10, 2009, 8:30 PM

I think momlogic is purposely stirring up trouble with the title of this story. I’ve read MANY versions of this story and I DO NOT believe that this was due to racism. I know this story is coming from a mother, BUT it’s coming from a mother who WAS NOT there and a daycare director who is just angry that her group was asked to leave.

Nicole July 10, 2009, 8:45 PM

I agree…this story is not credible to me as well.

MikeD July 10, 2009, 8:53 PM

Regardless of how the story play(s) out, there are obvious facts that are disgusting and should be the alarming elements.

1) Racist comments were directed to the youth from the Camp.

2) The Director of a Private Swim club made racist comments.

3) Some diversion techniques to question a mother’s testimony of events is going on here in the comments section.

jackie July 10, 2009, 8:55 PM

what is worse, racism or calling someone a racist without merit?

Debbie July 10, 2009, 9:23 PM

okay the mother was not there, but are you saying that the children are lying about what happened? especailly the little boy that was crying. and to answer your question jackie, racism is far worst!

L.A. July 10, 2009, 10:14 PM

I love how some of the posters automatically jump to the defense of the swim club members…are you saying all of these kids are lying? What a conspiracy theory…lol.
If someone made comments to small children based on the color of their skin, I’d call that racist…what do you call it? A normal day for you and your friends?
It’s just sad this sort of thing has to happen…and now many of these kids will think that every white person feels the same way.

concerned July 10, 2009, 10:19 PM

people need to realize that some people will remain the same.Some make it a point to intentionally inflict hatred toward others who are different, its really ironic because some of these people actually attend church, claim to be christians and proclaim there love for jesus…..never ever having seen him. how easy it would be for people like that to treat him the same….totally unsuspecting…….how sad…

Sandy Anderson July 10, 2009, 11:39 PM

I understand why the “paying” did not want those kids there. I am a black woman who pays for a memembership for my kids to swim at a upscale swim club. This year the same incident happen. I was at the club with my kids and one of these “day camp” boys was showing his private part in the shower area. He was told to leave. Now do not get me started on all the crazy yelling and using the n word. I also see from the picture that the mother try to seem like she is a lady like woman, but it quite obvious that she is the type of person who is looking to make some money. I understand why. These people need to send their kids to charm school but I guess it is not a “free or discount” program so they will not do that. I am thankful that my kids are not around children like that. They make us all look bad.

Tracie July 10, 2009, 11:53 PM

I have mixed feelings about this article. I am also a mother of two kids and I work as a lifeguard/swim instructor at a pool nearby. Every summer we have kid’s camps come in and for the most part a lot of us dread the camps. The kids are usually extremely rowdy, they break open the soap dispensers and pour soap all over the place, the break the doors of the bathrooms, they clog the shower drains with toilet paper, etc. The regular paying customers (mostly African American) complain a lot about the kids in the camp because of the chaos. A lot of times this is because of not enough adult supervision with the camps themselves. If this is truly a race issue than I’m all for the parents getting upset. But I was accused of being racist when I made the kids sit on the bench when they were fighting, which is ridiculous since my kids are mixed race. All I’m saying is that we usually do not get the entire story when we read things like this.

just saying July 11, 2009, 7:58 AM

These quotes are from CNN’s version of the story. Regardless of anyone’s skin color, these are two points to the story as well.

“There were a lot of children in the pool and not enough lifeguards,” he said. “As general members we were not told that they were coming. If we knew, we could decide to not come when the pool was crowded or come anyway. We could have had an option.”

[The director]He also said invitations to two other day care centers, neither of which contained minority children, had previously been withdrawn.

Also, I’ve worked with daycampers, mixed races and all disabled (from mild to extrememly severe)and we only went to a pool that was basically abandoned b/c we needed the lifeguard’s full attention.

Personally, I HATE taking my child somewhere and running into a school group or daycare group. I was a teacher, a spe ed teacher of kids with lots of behavior issues, and we went on fields trips but I made my kids listen and sit out of activities when they were unruly, I know they get excited and a lot of kids don’t go special places, but they must behave….just yesterday, I was at a children’s science center, a HUGE center with multiple floors of activites, with my child who is 2 in an area designed for kid kindergarten age and younger and there was a daycamp there with boys, big boys, about 9 or 10 running wild with no supervision from their camp leaders in the young kids area…I certainly called the front desk to complain. I am a member and can understand paying for something and then not being able to use it, not to mention it wasn’t safe for my 2 year old with a group of 9 year old boys running out of control and saying ugly things.

It really is unfortunate that this has happened, but there are always two sides to a story. It seems if anyone is ever accused of being racist, that becomes their label and they are never exonerated. And you know, people do lie and exaggerate.

Kristen July 11, 2009, 8:41 AM

I agree 100% with the exageration. I am not saying these kids lied BUT if the director of the daycamp already was angry and then starts talking about the kids being black, the kids will pick up on that and quite possibly run with it. Not to mention they are getting A LOT of attention for all of this. I think that the club is safe in saying it was NOT a race issue given the fact that they have told 2 other NON MINORITY day camps to leave for the same reason.

Ty July 11, 2009, 8:54 AM

Well its more than obvious that the people posting their comments about the mother lying or the site is make a big deal about this, that they are the type of people who would have taken part in making racist comments against those kids. No the mother wasn’t there and neither were you so how can you say it did not happen. Unless you have been a victim of racism how can you judge anyone who has taken offense to this! Just the fact that this happen to children should make you upset if you had any humanity about you!

Kristen July 11, 2009, 8:59 AM

Ty, what happened to the children? They were calmly asked to leave because there was overcrowding and not enough lifeguards…..I don’t see a problem with that situation. Oh and NO I would NEVER take part in acting badly towards children or making inappropriate comments to them. But I am a mother who goes to pools quite frequently with her children and I see this situation happen A LOT. Too many kids in a pool is something I would complain about myself, especially if they are from a daycamp that doesn’t have enough staff to watch the kids.

Ty July 11, 2009, 9:46 AM

Kristen, you just proved me right. Calmly asked to leave the pool huh, so the name calling is ok as long as it is done “calmly”? Are you one of those people who say the children are lying about what they heard?

Kristen July 11, 2009, 10:03 AM

Ty, I NEVER said name calling was ok and no your point was NOT proved. What I did say was that this article in particular is suspect to not having all of the correct facts.

Cassie July 11, 2009, 10:14 AM

Kristen I think Ty is correct and by you getting angry about the subject makes you look guilty!

Kristen July 11, 2009, 10:25 AM

Cassie, there is no anger on my part. I’m not angry, I just would like to see both sides of the story presented here on momlogic.

Nell July 11, 2009, 10:36 AM

Look, no one can say what did or did not happen unless they were there themselves—I get that. However, where there is smoke, there is usually fire. What I do know for sure, is that racism in this country is still very much alive. So, is it possible that these events happened? Yes! So, we should not be quick to discredit something because we would like to believe it did not happen. I have studied our county’s history (a lot), and I have found that racism existed all over this country—even in the north. Yes, I realize slavery is over, but it was less than 150 years ago. That is only three generations, people. Then, after slavery, there were Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were horrible, did NOT help race relations, and did not die until the 60’s. The 60’s!! That is less than 50 years ago, folks. My mother can still remember them. So, even though we have a Black president, that is like a band-aid on something that needs stitches. Time and proper care(like what you say and do) is the only thing that will heal this wound, now. Yes, the wound has scabbed up, be we all know that it only takes a few bad incidents to re-open wounds that are not completely healed. These are fresh wounds that are carried by white people as well as black people. If this were not true, then people (both black and white) wouldn’t be so sensitive when someone bumps the scab. I REALLY, REALLY hope that the man carrying the Jim Crow sign was something unrelated to this incident or that he didn’t carry it with malice. Lets love each other during this short time that we have on this planet. If you talk to any elderly former klansman or black panther (with common sense) they will tell you with regret that the whole thing was stupid.

3 sides - yours, mine, truth July 11, 2009, 10:42 AM

Kristen, forget that - you never will. The spin is always going to be much more interesting and ‘thought-provoking’. You won’t get past the thick wall of pre-conceived notion. Just let it be, and know that some must speak loudly that the whole world hears them

ugh! July 12, 2009, 11:33 AM

I know what some camp kids are like; I spent all of my summers having to share the NEIGHBORHOOD POOL (for which WE had to pay), with unruly, disrespectful, loud, purposely obnoxious,resentful camp kids. I agree w/ above comment.


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