How African Americans beat one of the most racist institutions: The swimming pool


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Most conversations about black people’s relatively poor swimming skills begin and end with the assumption that it’s all black people’s fault. For example, there are swimming pools and beaches all around this area, so if black people don’t swim as well – so the thinking goes – it must be because black people don’t want to know.

But what if there is a more sinister reason to black people’s unfamiliarity with the water? What if it’s as simple as the long history of black people being kept out of otherwise public pools and beaches?

In a blog post this week at, environment writer Brentin Mock describes the swimming pool as one of America’s most racist institutions.

african american swimming photoPhoto by Seattle Municipal Archives

Featured photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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