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Swimming While Black


Swimming While Black

Robert C. Koehler

“He came into the call out of control, and as the video shows, was out of control during the incident.”

And cellphone videos continue to unravel America’s “law and order” paradigm. You might almost call it the cellphone revolution, as random video clips keep exposing a dark side of our social order that used to be so easy to deny. YouTube has become the gateway to our collective conscience, such as it is.


I have always been amused, in a dark and nauseating way, at the power of swimming-pool water in the USA to extract and distill the essence of pure racism - the chemist’s “universal solvent” indeed!

Even here, north of the M-D line - with no actual Jim Crow laws on the books - Pittsburgh, city swimming pools were quite segregated into the 1970s. Then there was the public pool in suburban South Park - the black people were forced to go instead to the official “black pool” - a old dirty pool subject to flooding from an adjoining creek, called “Sulleys”.

Then as recent as just a few years ago, a local private pool club in a Philly suburb (Media or Springfield or thereabouts) thought it would be nice and charitable to open their pool for organized trips that took kids to it from the poorer parts of Philly one afternoon a week. They must have known that the kids would be mostly black - but something about the sight of black skin coming in contact with the pool water caused the white pool club board of directors to cut the swim hours short and cancel the whole charitable venture. A bit of a fuss was raised, but being as they were a private club, no laws were broken.

I’m not making this up!


I’m going to say this about the way Freddie Gray in Baltimore really got his neck damaged and then got a second dose in the paddy wagon, for good measure, leading to his death. See how Officer Nutcase takes his knee to the swimming suit clad girl? That’s how they’re trained to subdue and gain compliance. And, while we may never get to the bottom of Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore, methinks he was busted down, on concrete, in a similar fashion by those 2 or 3 officers. I’m sorry to think Mr. Gray was already a dead man, being dragged to yet more torture by those Baltimore police officers, and I hope I’m proven wrong. We need to disarm the police and redefine " community policing ", please.


Your change-the-subject comment suggests a certain racism-denialism… Freddie gray was killed because he was black. And those kids assaulted by the cop were treated the way they were becasue they were black.


You can’t read, obviously.


Yunzer, I recall reading about the recent episode in Philadelphia. Has there been any follow-up on that?


I noticed there was an obvious problem with Freddie Gray when the police were dragging him to the paddy wagon. His legs didn’t look right then. Something happened initially and was obviously exacerbated once he was put in the wagon.