Valley Swim club backtracking

It seems as if the Valley Swim club has realized the errors of its ways and decided to go back on their decision to remove the three day camps from their clubs. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer – the club has decided to invite the day camps back to their club as soon as they figure out how to deal with their safety issues.

“Safety issues.”

I still don’t believe the safety issue excuse and I don’t believe race wasn’t an issue. First off : Timing. I don’t think the banning of the children a day after they showed up for the first time is a coincidence. Second: if safety was an issue, the quote about the the “complexion and atmosphere” made by club president John Duesler don’t make sense whatsoever. Finally, even though it’s only hearsay, it’s hard to dismiss the reported racist comments from the parents.

The club is making strides, and I really hope this situation has led to some soul searching – but I hope they are being more honest with themselves than they are with the public – otherwise nothing will change.

Protesting at the Valley Swim Club

IMG_0349Today I went to the Valley Swim Club to protest the very egregious statements of their president and how they have treated the children of the Creative Steps daycare. In the morning we had 4 people and reporters from CNN, ABC, NBC, and the Inquirer and Daily News. In the afternoon they were joined by every national news outlet and the story had blown up.

It all started with a tweet last night. The power of twitter. There were only 4 of us out there this morning, but we were enough to shut down the club. And by the time 5:30 rolled around, there was a renewed protest with many more people and a lot more vigor. I feel like we did something. But we still don’t have an apology – and there needs to be one.

The club changed it’s website tonight – and let it’s members do the talking instead of having an official come out and make a statement. It was an amazing show of poor crisis communication and showed amazing cowardice. And the statement they made doesn’t address the comments of the president. I am tired of apologies that are not apologies. The president made insulting comments and those need to be addressed. You say the reaction had nothing to do with racism – and that there were other camps that were barred – but the comments were made about the minority camp and the barring happened the day after they were at the club.

BTW – Thanks to the Preston and Steve show for talking about this on their morning show on late notice. Their help was surely felt in the later hours as this story built momentum.

Black kids booted from a swim club in Philadelphia

Just read a story about a swim club here in the Philadelphia area that booted a group of black kids from the club because of their skin color. The news stories state that all the white kids left the pool once the black kids entered. That the black kids were asked to leave because the club doesn’t allow black people in the club. That parents complained about the safety of their children.

If you don’t believe me, read the following quote:

Then the swim club president  John Duesler issued this statement: “There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.”

I can’t believe, given time to craft a response, that the response they came up with. I do believe in this day and age that we have racist bastards out there.

The story has blown up to a national story on the Huffington Post. If you think racism is dead in this era of a black President, think again.

I’m ready to march on this club. We need to embarrass the members (the ones that can be embarrassed) and out the ones who support this policy.  Who’s available Thursday morning?

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video.

Old News: Tennessee GOP appears to be full of bigots

Yesterday I read a comment from a friend that stated – “since when was the “new” optional in “news?” I raise that point because from a state where the GOP Party Chairman Chip Saltsman sent the infamous”Barack the Magic Negro” song, it’s clear that the KKK – err, I mean the Tennessee GOP condones and fosters this type of language.

The story that raises my ire today is one that’s gaining momentum (home page of CNN will do that).  It’s about Republican legislative aide Sherri Goforth who sent a racist email out in her capacity as an aide, about President Obama.

Here’s the image (link opens in a new window)

The image is very offensive and maybe that should have been enough to have the woman fired. Actually, initially I was fine with her being rebuked – then I read her explanation.

From Christian Graham of Nashville is Talking:

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.

“I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button,” Goforth told NIT. “I’m very sick about it, and it’s one of those things I can’t change or take back.”

First off – great job by Graham to get her to address the root problem. Given a second chance, Goforth did not. I’d like to know who the right list of people would be? The fact that she didn’t dissociate herself with the statement made by the image says it all. How can any politician even be seen with her?  The fact that she wasn’t fired says that this behavior isn’t toxic enough to affect our image, otherwise she would have been fired just give an appearance of outrage.

Bowl season: College entertainment, nothing more

I have never been a fan of college “sports”. They take money away from education, and basketball and football have become professional development leagues with the players making millions of dollars for fat university administrators and boosters while the players are not paid by the universities. Yes they get an education (wink). Some of these “educated” men can’t even read much less earn a college degree. I don’t even believe that college football is a sport. I believe that there is no subjectivity is sport – a voting system to determine your champion? Well you might as well have The Rock break up the game with a chair shot to the head. (That’s a professional wrestling reference for the uninformed).

My big issue with college sports is that they continue to be run by racist boosters. In 2009 we will have a black President, but a black head coach in Division II football? Well that’s rare. Out of the 119 division II teams there are 7 black head coaches (of which 3 were hired in December). By comparison, the NFL’s 32 teams also have 7 black head coaches. Progress is being made, but after reading that Charlie Strong has been told repeatedly that Strong has been passed over because his wife is white, I realize that the NCAA remains stuck in the 40’s.

The history of major college sports has always been sordid. The treatment of black players in the 50’s through the 70’s was horrible, but they’ve barely gotten much better. They’re willing to use these players as indentured servants, but nothing more. Until that changes, we should all turn our head away.

How to guarantee your child has no future

Thanks to Grace for bringing me out of my shell.

If there is ever any proof that morons are in fact allowed to breed, there can be no more proof than the story of the Campbells from Lehigh Valley, PA.  They’re in a disagreement with ShopRite because the supermarket refused to put their son’s name Adolf Hitler Campbell on a birthday cake.   Yep, that’s right – they named their son after the worst mass murderer of the last century.  Could there be any greater commentary about their hopes and prayers for their children – might as well skip the bottle of milk and start serving them forties of Budweiser instead and teaching him how to make a shiv.  Of course their daughter JoyceLynn Aryan Natian (you can’t make this shit up) will fare no better.  A stripper pole in her bedroom is the training she’ll need for her bright future.

I actually have no problem with this. Other parents out there are probably wishing it was this easy to tell what kids you want you children to avoid.  It’s like putting a bright orange radioactive sticker on your kid’s forehead.

Apparently they’re upset that ShopRite refused their request (as ShopRite had done in years past – one year they requested a swastika on the cake).  Yes you have a right to be a moron – but it goes both ways. ShopRite has every right to say “we don’t want you as a customer”.  I can’t imagine ShopRite asking an employee to even put that on a cake.  I can’t imagine these people even eating that cake.  Anyway, if you’re going to name your child Adolph Hitler, or Attila the Hun, or Idi Amin – you probably should expect some  repercussions. You also should probably expect your kids to be pissed at you.

One thing this story did do for me, is confirm my distaste for Walmart.  I thought I needed no more reason than the fact that their new logo is a sphincter, but they’ve given me more reason. Yes – Walmart agreed to put the name on the Campbell’s birthday cake – which as I said before, is their right.  Just as it’s my right to never shop there ever again.

“AIDS is a black disease”

This is a quote from the following article.   I post this article because I think the statistics are important – they provide important insight and distinction between black and white Americans.   I know some will say that there is only one America, and this should be true, but when you look at the difference in poverty, education, mortality rates, etc – it becomes apparent that this isn’t true.

I think what’s surprising is the comment about “white AIDS organizations” being concerned that money will be taken from them to combat the issues in the black community.   It seems sad that we need black AIDS organizations and white AIDS organizations.   One wonders if there are Native American and Eskimo AIDS organizations for fear of being left behind.   The problem that these different organizations face is that there needs to more than a “one size fits all” approach to battling the issues that face us as a country.

It is a failure for us as a country that this is an issue and we should be ashamed.   I know I am.

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Beyond the Spin: Worth the risk of rankling to say: AIDS is black disease

Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, utters five words that send people into a frenzy: AIDS is a black disease.

“Everytime I say ‘AIDS is a black disease,’ it irks everyone,” he explains. “Whites call me racist, and blacks say, ‘You have stigmatized us. We’re not the only people with AIDS.’ ”

Wilson says critics from both camps miss the larger point. He is trying to rally the black community to confront the raging epidemic, he says.

“What’s more disturbing is there are so many people more concerned about what other people think of us than whether we survive or not,” he says. And because the African American share of AIDS diagnoses has nearly doubled from 25 percent in 1985 to 49 percent in 2006, some white AIDS organizations fear that funding will now shift from them to black groups, Wilson says.

There is no question that African Americans are disproportionately represented among the ranks of those with HIV and AIDS:

Though blacks represent only 13 percent of the population, nearly 50 percent of all people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are African Americans.

Although black teens represent only 16 percent of U.S. teenagers, they account for 69 percent of all new AIDS cases among teens.

A recent study in five major cities found that 46 percent of black men having sex with other men were infected with HIV, compared with 21 percent of white men in the same category.

AIDS is the leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34 and the second-leading cause of death in black men between 35 and 44.

To dramatize the depth of the virus on African Americans, the Black AIDS Institute released a study titled “Left Behind,” which paints a portrait of what black America would look like if it were a separate country.

With nearly 39 million people, black America would be the 35th most-populous country in the world. It would have the 28th largest economy in the world.

In life expectancy, black America would rank 105th (73.1 years, 5.2 years less than U.S. whites), lower than in Algeria, Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. The infant-mortality rate of blacks (13.6 per 100,000 live births) is twice as high as the rate in Cuba and considerably higher than the rates in Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, ranking 88th.

With a poverty rate of 24.3 percent – a rate three times higher than for whites – blacks are substantially more impoverished than any of the 27 countries in the European Union. Black unemployment, at 8.6 percent, is higher than joblessness in Laos, the Philippines and Russia. One-tenth of blacks are incarcerated, with more blacks in prison than in every country but the United States, China and Russia.

A freestanding black America would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with HIV, exceeding the HIV population of such heavily affected countries as Botswana, Swaziland and Ukraine.

There are more black Americans infected with HIV than the total population in seven of the 15 countries in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that devotes $3 billion a year to the countries hardest hit by HIV.

Some worry that not enough money is being spent at home.

“Over the last five years, the White House and Congress have increased spending on HIV prevention, treatment and support programs for low-income countries dramatically – at the same time that domestic spending has remained all but flat,” according to the Left Behind study.

For example, PEPFAR spending increased 46 percent in 2007 as domestic spending on AIDS increased 2.5 percent. This year, global funding is expected to increase 34 percent, while domestic funding will rise only 1.2 percent.

Any effort to lower the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the United States must take into account the different ways black men and black women get infected. Of black men living with HIV, 49 percent were infected as a result of having sex with other men; 22 percent from women; 22 percent from injection drug use; and 7 percent from a combination of drugs and having sex with other men.

The overwhelming majority of black women – 75 percent – were infected by having sex with men; 23 percent from drug use; and 2 percent from other causes.

Wilson says he will continue calling AIDS a black disease: “I think it’s better if they think ill of us and we’re alive, instead of thinking well of us and we’re dead.”


George E. Curry, former Washington correspondent and New York bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, was editor-in chief of Emerge magazine. He can be reached at gcurry@phillynews.com.