Memo to Valley Swim Club members: racism is seen in action more than words

A week after showing up to protest the Valley Swim Club’s seemingly racist policies – things have cooled down a bit. The club offered to have the camp back, the camp said no, and the story will soon fade from memory. Before that happens I want to have one last say.

One thing I’ve come to believe is that words can’t obscure racism. Since the Creative Steps day camp was booted from its agreement with the Valley Club, we’ve heard that the president’s comments about the kids changing the “complexion and atmosphere” of the club were foolish, stupid, or taken out of context. What they weren’t, according to the members,  were racist – the whole event had nothing to do with race and everything to do with space.

To that I say bullshit.

It’s very convenient when you’re caught with your pants down, to try and straighten things out by saying you’re misunderstood. The facts are this – regardless of how many other camps had their contract terminated, the action to cancel the contract took place the very next day after the camp full of blacks and hispanics made the mistake of showing up and expecting to be welcome. The very next day. The booting of the other clubs then appears to be a move to save face. The members who are saying it’s all about space should ask themselves what would have happened if the 65 kids that showed up were white instead of black and hispanic? Would they even have noticed?

The statement that the club released mentioned a diverse membership, but member John Flynn told CNN that they have one black member. Which is it? Or are they counting the grounds keepers as members? Plus isn’t one of the first things someone says when they’ve been caught in a racist moment: “but I have black friends!”?

Let me make this point: you may think you are not racist, but until the moment when that belief is put to the test, you really don’t know. Racism is seen best in what you do. And often, no matter what your words say or what you truly want to believe, your actions tell a different story. So to everyone who has told me that these people weren’t racist – I can’t believe that until I see their actions proving otherwise.

  • http://www.girlvsrobot.com Elissa

    I absolutely agree with you. There is this tendency lately to act like everyone in the world is racist instead of white men… who “say things out of turn” or “make mistakes” instead, etc etc like you have said. It’s these same people who accuse Obama and Sotomayor of being racist.

    They need to get a clue: Just because their status quo is being challenged doesn’t mean they’re being repressed. A black president doesn’t suddenly shelter the black community from racism, and a hispanic justice doesn’t either.
    .-= Elissa´s last blog ..#041 Post-Racial America =-.

  • Spencer

    It’s a whole new Republican strategy to show that we’re just like them. They don’t want to be sensitive and considerate of others, so they’ll prove we’re insensitive and inconsiderate – just like them.

    The whole “wise latina” thing is such a joke. Funny thing is that I believe and buy that thinking – not specific to a race or nationality, but in general – if someone has to struggle against all odds to get where they are – I trust them more than the person that had everything handed to them. I just believe there is an experience there that I value and trust more so than the experience of the prototypical rich white male that represents us inordinately in Washington D.C.

  • http://www.girlvsrobot.com Elissa

    Exactly and in any case, if you don’t have the experience of being a minority how can you claim that you have more understanding of and empathy for minority issues than someone who, you know, is one?

    It’s crazy.
    .-= Elissa´s last blog ..#051 “No Fat Chicks” =-.