The Outrage of Being Criminalized for Swimming While Black

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From a reader in the South:

If you’ve turned on the news or logged onto social media in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen them: videos of fucked-up, racist white people calling the cops on Black and Brown people for the offense of cooling off at the pool!

This shit has become so widespread that the hashtag #SwimmingWhileBlack has appeared all over social media. A number of videos have appeared within the last two months showing white people threatening, physically attacking, and of course calling the police on Black people for the “crime” of swimming in a fucking pool! Here are just a few of the incidents (caught on video):

  • June 24, a white woman named Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, now known as “Pool Patrol Paula” on the internet, physically assaulted a 15-year-old Black boy at a private community pool in Summerville, South Carolina, claiming he and his friends “didn’t belong” there, then exclaiming, “Get out, little punks!”
  • July 4, a white man named Adam Bloom singled out the only Black family at a crowded community pool in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and demanded to see the mother’s “identification,” even though she had used a resident key card to enter the facility and no one else at the pool had to show an ID. When she refused, Bloom called the police.
  • July 4 in Memphis, Tennessee, the manager of a large apartment complex engaged in a similar act of racial profiling. Even though several other people were wearing prohibited clothing in the pool area, Erica Walker confronted only the lone group of African-Americans. She reprimanded 25-year-old Kevin Yates for dipping his sock-clad feet in the water and eventually demanded that he and his party leave the pool. When they refused, she, too, called the police.

An Ugly History...

This psychotic racism has a history. To take one of the worst examples, go back to 1919, in Chicago.

In 1919, an African-American teenager was drowned in Lake Michigan for “violating” the unofficial segregation of Chicago’s beaches. He was murdered by a group of white youths hurling stones at him while he struggled to keep his head above water. Black residents were outraged, not only by the murder, but by the refusal of the police to arrest the white man who instigated it.

This led to a weeklong series of racial attacks by whites in league with the police force and self-defense by the Black masses, resulting in the deaths of 15 whites and 23 Blacks, with more than 500 people injured. One thousand Black families were left homeless with their homes torched by whites.

Battles over integration of pools happened beginning in the 1930s, when the federal government built pools, and through the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Attempts to integrate were met with rioting, beating, hurling rocks and bricks at Black people, and violent arrests by the pigs when called in. A well-known photograph shows a white motel owner pouring acid into a pool when Black and white protesters were swimming in it.

...Now Being Continued

So there’s a history to these white people with their racism caught on videos gone viral, garnering widespread disgust among broad sections of people. But many of them claim to be the victims, howling about being called racist and the impact it has had on their personal and professional lives! Boo-fucking-hoo.

It is outrageous—but ask yourselves why these racist shitheads feel so emboldened today. This is Trump’s fascist America. These people are being told from the White House (no pun intended) that they are the victims, the “forgotten people.” Finally, their messiah, an orange fascist who promises to “Make America Great White Again,” sits at the helm of the most powerful country in the world. Everything he does tells them that it’s their time and he has unleashed these racists to run wild.

The whole future direction of society is on the line in thousands of ways. The reassertion of the white “right” to police Black people out of public spaces—and to literally to use the police to do so—now being so aggressively reasserted, is one significant expression of that. What kind of future we get will be up to us.

June 24, Summerville, South Carolina: “Pool Patrol Paula” on the internet, physically assaulted a 15-year-old Black boy at a private community pool, exclaiming, “Get out, little punks!”

1964: The manager of the Monson Motor Lodge in Florida was photographed pouring muriatic acid into the hotel "whites only" pool trying to force out protesters for integration.

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