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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.


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.

next: Couple Who Adopted 12 Children Killed
46 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pamala July 12, 2009, 12:59 PM

I’m a bit confused. Why is it people think this woman didn’t pay for her children to be at the swim club. She did, or did you miss the part of the money being refunded to her.

Second the director of the club took their money, allowed membership, and only after they showed did he have a problem? One would think he would have known 60 kids were showing since he accepted the membership?

So this woman pays for a membership to the pool and it’s revoked because 60 kids decide to come at the same time? I think that’s a bit of bad business.

Anonymous July 13, 2009, 12:18 AM

boo hoo, cry me a river

michelle July 13, 2009, 11:28 AM

Let’s assume that these hateful commenters are right that day camp kids are unruly or whatever. Does that mean they deserve to hear racist comments directed at them?? NO.

Kristy July 14, 2009, 6:11 AM

We don’t know what truly happened since we were not there. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen but after living and working in Philly (and I will most likely be bashed for this) there are so many little thugs running around that maybe the reason they were asked to leave was due to their behavior and since people love to throw the race card around it doesn’t suprise me that someone is screaming racism.

April July 14, 2009, 6:34 AM

How can say this story is not real. My family went had the same thing happen to them when we join the Y in MN. I let my childern stay in the pool and we did not stop going. Yes this stuff still happens if you think its all in the past you are mistaken!!!

davemyers July 14, 2009, 9:17 AM

There are some very thoughtful posts here … bottom - line though , we have all been , “educated” , relative to an subjective , and most probably , racist , white - skin priviledged pedagogical belief system , here in America , it’s inescapeable ; It then follows , that a lesser amount of non - blacks will have had the benefit of being in a position to have recieved an opportunity to acquire , anti - racist ‘tools’ , or behavior modification skills …

another ‘platitude’(smile) : “If you are not part of the solution , you are a part of the problem “

Inform yourself , then teach those that you love . Peace.

so sad July 14, 2009, 9:38 AM

Sandy Anderson~ i fee deeply hurt about your comment. You don’t know this woman or her children. How dare you act all high and mighty because you have a few dollars to pay for certain things. We are all Gods children and if you were so special you wouldn’t be in the same place (earth)as everyone else. You really need to take a long look at life and sit down and realize where you help comes from. I will keep you in my prayers.

Katie July 14, 2009, 4:19 PM

A few points for those that missed them:
1. The pool club “manager” took the group’s money and accepted that they would come once a week. No one was getting anything for free here.
2. It’s unfair to say that all “camp kids” are unruly and obnoxious. Give me a break, I’ve seen bad behavior from kids of every rung of the socio-economic ladder.
3. For those griping that this story is one-sided: Duh. This site is called momlogic. Deal with the fact that you might get a mom’s opinion, a mom’s story, a mom’s situation. I for one welcome it. If I want the other side, I’ll visit bigotedpoolownerslogic. If I want both sides I’ll visit MSNBC.

u July 17, 2009, 7:29 PM

I hope Obama knows this and closes down that stupid camp forever

Anonymous July 21, 2009, 10:57 PM

this incident was very upsetting to me.Children, think on this racism is a very ugly word. Racism bring the ugly true out in mankind. kindness goes along way. But racism is a evil infected disease that destory the soul of an individual. The soul is destroyed by rages, angry,curses,ignorant,stress, and madness. Do not let racism shape who you are inside! Racism the mind, body and soul of an individual.

Sandy Anderson July 23, 2009, 5:43 PM

To SoSad: Have you read my comment. Those “day camp” kids were using the n-word and a young man was showing his private part. And you say that you need to pray for me. Also the parents of the “daycamp” kids recieves a discount, I do not I pay full price. I do not think I am better I just worked very hard to be able to afford a certain lifestyle. I am a humble person, but I do not want my 5 and 6 year old to hear kids who look like them calling each other the n-word and seeing private parts. And what is the problem Tyler Perry is paying for them to have all-expense paid trip to Disney World.

ForexVew July 25, 2009, 12:11 PM

I think this is a cool forum so I finally decided to make a post.I thought about starting my own board but I‘m glad I found this one instead. Great Info!

Cyn September 22, 2009, 3:15 AM

This may seem tangential, but it isn’t to me. What kind of “day camp” accepts kids over 12? What were those 14 and 16 year-old boys doing there with the younger kids?

I did *intense* research when my stepson hit 12, trying to find ANY kind of program that would take him, and there were NONE anywhere near us in the metro Atlanta area. (I didn’t find any far from us, either, but I wasn’t checking places that were out of the question anyway.) Kids over 12 are generally assumed, right or wrong, to be old enough to take care of themselves, and too old to be running around with the younger kids.

Because of that, I have to wonder how many teens were with the group. Yes, I perceive a bunch of teens (regardless of skin color) very differently than a bunch of younger kids, and if I saw a group of unknown-to-me teens coming en masse to a pool, I would probably pull my kids out, too, until I could judge their behavior (without any kind of epithets or accusations, of course).

:] September 13, 2010, 7:56 PM

Well the women Kristen, who cares about what you have to say because you’re just defending the swim club. Because you are being racist right now the way you are writing your comment. And anyways today racism still goes on and it shouldn’t be. Why, because why should color matter to people. it shouldn’t matter at all. Any racis should feel welcome. And why does it matter if the mom wasnt there. Her kids heard what they heard and they are telling the truth. Kids that are five dont lie what they hear and same for older ones too.

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