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July 10th, 2009
08:36 AM ET

“Why are these Black kids here?”: African-American Children Turned Away from Private Swim Club

A Philadelphia-area day care center said Thursday that members of a private swim club made racist comments about the center’s children, and then canceled the day care center’s swimming privileges. One of the day care center’s children, 12-year-old Marcus Allen, said through tears that he heard some club members ask “why are these black kids here” and added that he felt “sad that people were still thinking like this …when I felt like these things were over.”

The club disputes allegations of racism and says they could not accommodate the number of children, but the director of the club is quoted as saying that the day care center’s children changed the “atmosphere and complexion” of the club. Watch the video and read the full article here, then leave your thoughts and comments. We’ll read some of your comments on-air in our 10am hour.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (366 Responses)
  1. Shorty

    Hearing the children give their reactions was so heartbreaking. Children should not have to deal with this. I am angry that such a thing can still happen.
    For the children to even overhear "adults" talking like that is shameful.
    This just goes to show that bigotry is still around with us even in 2009. I am angry about this, and hope the children know that not all White people are that ignorant.
    If I were a club member, I'd resign. I hope people do just that.

    July 10, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  2. D Kitchen

    This is the saddest part of our country-we are all Americans! When is the racism going to stop so we can move forward as a true America? We are created equal!!! I hope the kids get to come together and enjoy the summer. It's always the adults who get in the way-kids see kids and that is how it should be!

    July 10, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  3. K Richardson

    For the people that thought Obama change the landscape of racist, it's alive and well. To Marcus Allen and kids, stay strong and know that God is on your side. And if God is for you who can be against you!

    July 10, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr.

    people see what they want to see has any one stoped to think that maybe this wasnt a racial remark but only a way to identify a group of people our law enforcement and government officials seperate and identifies people in this matter every day just maybe this remark wasnt racist.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  5. Larry

    When we overcome racism we'll find world peace.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  6. Rob Ko

    Obama becoming president is progress, but will only intensify racial discord for those that were and are displeased with an African American president. Racism is alive and strong, albeit in a subtle and suppressed form.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  7. N Miller

    I don't think some people understand how much racism hurts. So much emphasis is placed on how wrong racism is but very little addresses the emotional pain it causes. I think the little boy interviewed in the story demonstrated that pain perfectly.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  8. Steve

    It's interesting how you pick this story and totally ignore this one: where a white family are attacked by a gang of black youths who are chanting "This is a black world".


    July 10, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  9. Dave Lewis

    Certainly smacks of racism to me. I'd love to believe otherwise, but I can't.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  10. Sherry

    Why does white America seem to think that racism is not alive and well in 2009?

    July 10, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  11. Paul from South Florida

    Anyone from an urban area know that disadvantaged children often behave badly at parks and pools.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  12. forbi foncham

    It is a very sad story but that is the world we live in today. It is better the kids realize the world they live in now than for it to hit them in the face when they get older.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  13. Anthony

    This is just another example of the racism in which myself n other people of color experience on a regular basis.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  14. Lincoln

    Scramble the letters in America and you get I am race.

    race will always matter in America.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  15. Michael

    Dumping a busload of rowdy summer camp kids into what was probably a fairly sedate private swimming pool would quite likely cause problems. Why should dues-paying members of the pool have to put up with it? It's their club; leave them alone.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  16. smiles

    How sad. I hope the swimming pool owners get a huge fine for this. You just dont do that to kids. All these kids should not be experiencing racism in our day and time. Hope the kids know they are loved from people around the world. What a sour taste this is going to leave in these kids mouths. Grow up people,racism ended a long time ago. a men created equal. live it, learn it, love it!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  17. Danny

    one its a private club, so even i would be turned away if they wanted so.
    i am not a racist person, but in the past several times at public pool areas and even a small group of people whom are black behaved aggressive, loud and even took my ball causing situation i didn't go to the pool to deal with. its all based on behavior, not skin color, come on America, stop being ignorant.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  18. Kenneth Simpson

    The atmosphere has changed all over the world. Unfortunately; these people are living under a rock. It is not surprising that these comments are coming out of Philly. You recall the movie"Pride" where the black kids were not allowed to compete in swimming meets at white facilities over 30 years ago.. It shows you how deep-seeded racism is still hidden within our society. "City of Brotherly Love? Really.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  19. J Link

    When is this country are people going to realize that this kind of discrimination, or any discrimination, will no longer be tolerated. We no longer live in the time of separate drinking fountains, restrooms, etc.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  20. HeidiCollinsWhy?

    Heidi why didnt you say the word complexion in that quote when you just reported it? Is there a reason why you are sugar coating these monsters' words?

    July 10, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  21. marcus Creighton

    Why is everyone so surprised? Racism is and always will be a MAJOR part of American culture. Why would we think that just because we now have a President with a little color that all the hate in people's hearts is just going to evaporate? This kind of thing happens EVERY single day! It only gets pointed out when people speak loudly enough for someone to listen. The most unfortunate part is that these young people just wanted to swim and now will have a scar of racial hatred for the rest of their lives. My money is there won't be any consequences for the club, either!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  22. Anthony H. of Houston, TX

    You cannot deny the fact that certain ethnic groups drastically alter the atmosphere and environment where they are not NORMALLY concentrated.

    Some individuals, children as well as adults, are raised with a decreased level of awareness, common sense or concern for the others around them.

    I cannot blame anyone for wanting to maintain a certain level of comfort and security in a private institution or club.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  23. Chuck Billings

    Most likely these kids were rowdy and got complaints and were asked to leave. Someone's parents are playing the race card.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  24. Sheila Strider

    Wake up America!!!! The Swim club incident in PA is neither surprising nor isolated. Just because Obama is Pres does not mean that this country has made progress! In fact, folks want to say that because WE made it to the "Big House" the problem is over. However, Obama's Presidency brought out the wost in this country and legitimized hate as is evidenced by what happened when Palin entered the picture and encouraged the Arian philosophy as the main street Republican Base.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  25. Alex Wildfeuer

    I'm sorry, but "fundamentaly changed the atmosphere of the camp" when all of these children were of Hispanic and African race is just another way of saying that the camp didn't want these children around because of their skin color. I remember watching public news in Connecticut covering this story, and it just disgusting what certain parents thougt, seriously, can someone agree with me on this? These parents were afraid that these children posed any threat to other kids at the camp, that IS racism and it is just completly INTOLERABLE.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  26. Byron Saldana

    It is what is: a hate full comment that only stems from individual who feel they are racially superior or a better Class. These children will never forget and will carry it as some of us still do.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  27. Stevie B

    In the richest country in the world we still have people that dislike others for no other reason than the color of their skin. When will citizens wake up and realize that the world is watching? And to direct this sort of bigotry and hatred toward children is unfathomable and unforgiveable. The club's director can't clean this up with a follow-on statement. The damage is done. I reflect upon ' Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all." Apparently in most places but definitely not at this "Private Swim Club."

    July 10, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  28. Wanda B

    The focus is on the children who have to hear the evil spewed from the adult mouths, WILL make them did me. But, there is no excuse for ignorance or bigotry and it's not a disease....No, Obama becoming President did not end racism, only we can do it, each one of us...but there's always an apple or an organization in the barrel. Stay strong people! Also, to'make that change' one has to look at the 'man in mirror'. Seems like the people at the club won't be doing that unless they are somehow forced to. Thanks for the story.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  29. Brian

    Private Clubs have traditionally been allowed to get away with racism by being "private." This really sad story about these poor children being invited (and charged money) then turned away when their race was revealed has brought to the light how racism in 21st century America still thrives "privately."

    July 10, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  30. alfred meditz

    greed has won agan...some one took the money the first time,chidren should not be put into a races position god loves us all, dont let the greed of cnn rateihg cloud your storys

    July 10, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  31. Hershi Moscovich

    The director of this club should the director of the club is quoted as saying that the day care center’s children changed the “atmosphere and complexion

    It's unfortunate that there are still some out there that have not joined the 21st Century....
    Obviously the “atmosphere and complexion" of this club has needed a change for a long time.
    It really is a shame that ignorance is still so prevalent in today's day and age.

    I just hope these children realize that there are more people on their side than on the club's....

    July 10, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  32. redjet

    I am certain that a hefty lawsuit will change the "atmosphere and complexion" at the swim club as well, one they won't care for either. Hope you follow up on this.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  33. Jeffrey Jones

    Frustrating! This is one of those stories that simply makes your blood boil, pulling up historic images of "whites only" water fountain and, sadly enough, swimming pool signs. Alleged "capacity" issues aside, what those innocent children heard is shameful. Children are remarkably resilient, but we should be mindful how impressionable children are as well.

    Speaking as an African-American, I'll admit that I feel race issues are sometimes blown out of proportion. But it is also equally true that race issues do, in fact, exist. Seeing that child's tearful reaction is all the proof one needs to know that something very wrong happened.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  34. Doreen

    Any day that something like this happens is a very SAD day. This should now be in the hands of the Court and whomever the judge, lets set a level playing field example of how being racist is not acceptable!

    Also, I'd like to send a message to these abused Childern. Please remember the majority of Americans do not think this way and we will always "speak up" for those treated badly and ask our Justice system to please help put a stop to these horrible acts!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  35. john

    Unitil Stupidity and ignorance is effaced, these alleged, bus class comments will continue to be made. Nonetheless, when media and "reverse – bigot" groups fuel the fire and create diversions from the REAL problems!* Thus, they are equally evil and even more culpable.

    The greatest pop star of all times , the president and many other wonderful, infuentual figures are African Americans...we have arrived lets not look back!

    *get america working, feed our poor tend to our sick and fight for peace, protect our freedom of religion .

    July 10, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  36. gwen

    When you hear that complexion is changing,what does that mean to you? This place is a perfect example of the good ole boys and the racial divides that still is it so many whites want to have our skin color and hate us at the same time?

    July 10, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  37. A.K.

    This is the 2009 and still America is overflowing with the imbedded hatred brought by the so called forefathers who hijacked the land from the indigenous people. This is an attribute of the wicked devil that so many americans have been raised with and I do not see it getting any better. If it's not color it is faith...shame on you!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  38. Natalie sheffler

    When you use the word complexion referring to children, it's obviously a racist remark. I'd be interested to know what kind of groundwork was laid out for this visit. to a white private club to insure the children weren't hurt the way they were. Not so much fun to be "2Black in America"

    July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  39. Sandeep Misra

    This is ridiculous. We are never going to move past racism and prejudice is the next generation is subjected to this sort of treatment.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  40. M.R.

    I'm appalled that people would have the nerve to say such horrid things and to do so in front of these children will scar them for life. I believe that not only should the manager or whoever called for a vote and cancelled their useage of the pool should be removed immediately, but the state should step in immediately and fine them for racism. Then the daycare should sue as a class suit with the parents of each of the children for long term emotional distress. This needs to be stomped on immediately so that it this kind of discrimation never rears its ugly head again. I am white and VERY ashamed of the kind of treatment these children received from this place and from the club members! If I lived near them I would be out picketing this club daily to show my disgust for their ignorance.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  41. Olivia

    I don't know what to say – let's see, there's Black Attorney's Organizations, Black Ms. America, NAACP, LULAC, Hispanic Attorney's Association, National Association of LaRaza – college grants for Hispanics and Blacks, Professional Association of Black Women and Men, Black Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce......- and the list goes on. Tell me again where IS THE PROBLEM HERE?

    July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  42. michael page

    This story is perposterous...It saddend me to my core when I watched that young boys pain that CNN reported. To the directors and members of this racist club "shame to all of you". If in fact racism played no factor here, why no further comments? To the decent members of this swim club...Take a stand and cancel your memberships to this seemingly foul organization..... Take no action and you will send an equally discusting mesage to your children and families.To all the kids involved in this horrific un invite, I send my deepest heart felt appology, we stand united in disgrace of the deplorable conditions that exist in this club!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  43. Nathaniel

    I am quite sure that the swim club got an estimate of how many children were going to be swimming in their pool. Turning the children away once they had arrived makes the club's decision seem quite discriminatory.

    -Nathaniel S. Bloomington Indiana

    July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  44. Ann R.

    This story bought me to tears. I am so very tired of this ignorance. It amazes me that there are a group of adults that would take deliberate action to hurt children. I cannot believe there are members of this club that have not at least spoken out in protest or resigned. I hope the Human Rights Commission will fine them an amount punitive enough to hit them where it hurts.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  45. abkirby

    It sounds to me as if the kids were rowdy and took over the pool–too many kids. I have seen this thoughtless misbehavior in similar situations where the adults in charge do not discipline the kids. It is after all a private pool for the use of club members. I suspect it was not race that was objectionable, but behavior.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  46. Michaela

    @ Mr. Armstrong, yes law enforcement and the medical profession do use descriptive words for legal reasons. But when you see a group of children and you say, "Why are all these black kids here?" and "I'm afraid they will hurt my children" I raise an eyebrow to wonder why the statement wouldn't just be "Where did all these kids come from?" or "This kid is kinda rowdy I think my child will be hurt". Big difference in my opinion.

    In response to the clubs claim that they were over capacity:

    I wonder who approved the kids trip to the club in the first place, why didn't they ask how many children would be in the camp? I would think that for insurance purposes they would ask that and make sure that they weren't over booking thier facility. If you invite a summer camp expect A LOT of children. That's just common sense.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  47. Daniel

    America you don't get it, what causes racism is believing everyone is racist and reacting. With Black history month and TV programs you separate yourself and put the attention on you to be open for racism. if I'm wrong then why is there no Native American Months? Or Irish? Everyone Bled for and on this country's soil. recognize that before we call ourselves equal.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  48. The "D" factor

    I also heard that they turned away a couple of white children groups as well and that the reason was a crowd issue and not a race issue. Is the media jumping on this and making this a black and white issue or is the manager of the pool really a meat head. If so then should be fired. If not then the media should have showed the groups of white kids that were disappointed as well.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  49. Betty

    And for those who think times have changed for us we go again!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  50. Renee Merritt

    This is a harsh reality that hurts, but can not be dismissed. When we travel abroad, we education ourselves and prepare for the cultural adjustment. This is not different at home. While I do not support how the cancellation of the privileges where handled by the club, I am a middle class black woman and can relate by assumption to what happened. If my assertion is correct, the children did change the atmosphere based upon behavior and etiquette. Black people who are not accustomed to certain environments do not adjust well without coaching. They can be loud and rowdy innocently having true unharmful fun with no intent to hurt anyone. I blame the chaperones who did not prepare the children to meet, greet, and fit in as best they could attending a new place. When in Rome do as the Romans.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  51. Timothy Watkins

    I am amazed by the conversation that lingers on about why racism and poverty continue to exist....and even more amazed by the notion that so much has actually changed. Certainly, a Black president and being able to sit wherever we want on a bus or at a lunch counter are indicative of change, but what kind of change? I live and work in Watts. I've tried to bring voice to big media conversations to no avail. Racism and poverty are merely symptoms of poor public policy on a national scale greater than any other single denominator. Poor public policy sets up the dynamic that perpetuates illiteracy, homelessness, joblessness, hunger and poor health. Bottom line is, as long as the descendants of slave masters continue to dictate policy to the descendants of slaves, nothing much should be expected to essentially change.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  52. Lucius Millinder Jr.


    Unfortunately, the measures taken by this country club is racist, pure and simple.

    In spite of their denials, there is little arguement the measures this country club has taken against these children, are the unwitting victims of their racist actions.

    President Obama's "new Change electorate" notwithstanding, it's clear the ugly, virulent, victims of color-oriented disease has gone come in the way of recreation for these children – an entitlement for most other kids.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  53. Tiffany King

    I feel that this is just pure racism. These childrens parents have poisoned there minds with this nonsense. this is so sad and down right terrible. What are they gonna do when they get to heaven there gonna see all races not just the white race. I feel that something should be done about this.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  54. Corey

    As a country I feel we have made huge strides in reducing such an ignorant way of thinking. It is no surprise to me that the same person who made the decision to revoke the summer camp's membership, also chose to, and allowed the word "Complexion" to be used in their responding statement.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  55. Patrick

    Didn't they say that there were two other clubs that were cancelled as well? How come no one is talking about their ethnicity? Could it be that there are some people running away trying to create a story out of nothing? If the other clubs are white then is there really racism here? Could it be that the three clubs really were too much for this private club?

    One thing I think is disturbing is that everyone is on this story try to dramatize it yet no one is talking about the white family in Akron that was attacked by dozens of black males over the weekend. Reports say that while they were beating on the father they were shouting racist statements.

    If everyone is going to jump on one story how about covering the other or are we afraid to talk about. Has this country gone so far over board on the political correctness wagon that we are worried about offending the minorities? If you want to talk then it lets do what everyone claims they want, have a level playing field not one that the whites are the only targets.

    July 10, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  56. Mike

    Why all the media negativity pertaining to the swimming pool incident in Pennsylvania ? The swimming club is a PRIVATE organization. not a PUBLIC facility ! Therefore, no taxpayer monies are paying for the operation of this private club. Don't the members of the club have civil rights ? or do only minorities have civil rights ? What's next ? Will minorities have the right to enter our PRIVATE homes to sit down at the dinner table without invitation ? Is the "Equal Protection" clause of our Constitution real, or is it a mirage ? EQUAL should mean EQUAL ! God Bless America ... and all it's people !!!

    July 10, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  57. Tiffany King

    this is pure racism. the parents of these children have poisoned there minds with nonsense. what are they gonna do when they get to heaven there gonna see many races. not just the white race

    July 10, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  58. Carmen Lee

    Most private clubs do not want a lot of disruption that bother members or actions that might bring about a law suit. How were the children behaving? Like children? How well supervised were they? Pools are no place for rowdy behavior. Black people often refer to white people as white so let's hope it wasn't racially motivated in spite of CNN's bringing that point to the fore front without the above facts.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  59. Edward Gabriel

    I am surprise that cnn is surprise to hear that this kind of racism still exist in American Cities. As an african American man I am constantly dealing with racism, a week do not go by when I don't feel like I was treated unfaily because of my race in some way or the other.
    These racist devils are now being expose for what they are.
    I feel bad for the children on both sides of the isles.
    Just because we have a black president doesn't mean that we have reached "the promise land", it only means that we are close...

    July 10, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  60. Angela Bush

    This situation is so hurtful. The negative comments made towards the children from the daycare center can never be taken back. If over crowding were the real issue then the private swim club should have informed the daycare center of the problem and rotated the children in and out of the pool where the ratio of children to life guards was at a safe level. The swim club, more than likely, reacted to the complaints of some of it's racist members rather than fully thinking the matter through. It's good that the swim club has invited the daycare center back. They should also apologize to those children for the poor judgement of some of it's members.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  61. Shar Lombardo

    It's sad to think that there are still people that hold such racist views. They are refusing to grow and embrace the beauty of this country's true diversity. I am appalled by the director's statement. He should be fired, as I'm sure his job description doesn't include being a racist.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  62. JT

    I think it is disgusting and shameful of those parents to have said something so horribly vile to children – of any ethnic-background!
    How would they feel if someone said something like that to their "precious" children? The problem with racism is that people spewing this hatered never think about what it would be like to be in the shoes of the person or people that are at the receiving end of the hatred.
    Can we say. "HYPOCRITES??" – A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
    I wish I could look each of those beautiful children in the face and remind them that they are smarter and more mature that those nasty WHITE parents....

    July 10, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  63. Gary

    It is all well and good and too easy to shout racism. But when some city children were brought into the club I use, this loud, unruly, had no respect for the facility rules and the the people that brought them had no intention of even helping to monitor control them. In general them were extremely disruptive. Why should I as a 'Paying' member should I be subjected to this type of behavior because the parents did such a terrible job of teaching them common courteousy when in public and espcecially when being allowed to use the facilities that others have to pay to use? This is not RACISM it is merely asking for common decent behavior that too many young people of all races seem to lack these days because there is a lack of respect for Private Property and the people around them. And when I parents with children in restuarants that are quiet and well behaved and thank them for doing a good job at parenting and the child for well mannered in public to reinforce his or her behavior and I do not make exception for race. if you want to change things do something positive in your own community and don't keep playing the 'Race Card' it old and out dated. I respect a person for how they act and treat me not the color of their skin.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  64. Neil

    People obviously dont care what pain they cause to other people. How would they feel if it was a black only swim club and whites came? they say, Why are these White kids here? People dont understand what pain they are causing to other people. Its wrong and it should stop. all i have to say is that whoever made disrespectful comments should go to jail. its sick.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  65. Jordan

    If the only motive of canceling the day cares privilaged swimming lessons is basd upon rascism, that is absolutely wrong. However, many ethnic children are not taught common social skills that help them "mannerably" function in society. As a native Philadelphian/ African-American, I passionatly desire peace and tranquility and not boisterous behavior as many inner city minorities publicaly present. I am not proud to make such statement, yet I feel it is true. So instead of these parents causing an uproar, they must first take a honest look at the positive and or negative principals taught in their households and move from there.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  66. Andrew

    The person/persons that made these comments pay a monthly fee to go to this pool. One day these montly paying patrons show up and there is a ton of kids there. Now kids from my knowledge are loud and crazy no matter race/color or whatever. If I understand right a change of atmosphere would happen when these patrons come in expecting a calm swim and theres a ton of children running around. I dont agree with racism and I am not saying these comments "if" they were racist are ok. However if enough of these patrons feel the need to complain then the manager has to step in and make a decision. His was simply to side with the people that are there month in and month out.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  67. Phylis W

    As a black woman this story hit me hard. But, I tried to remain objective. After all, private clubs are in a bind because of the economy so they've had to open their facilities to the public to gain revenue. There's bound to be misunderstandings and discomfort on the part of these clubs' members about having hoi polloi using their facilities. What made me lose my objectivity was the statement the club released about the children changing the "complexion" and "atmosphere" of the club. Talk about Freudian slip! That made the incident reprehensible and possibly a blatant disregard of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Once you open up your private facilities to the public, you can't discriminate based on race. Eternal vigilance, and strict enforcement of civil rights laws is necessary.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  68. Charles Johnson

    This should come to no surprise. America has always and shall always promote an imperialist and separatist behavior amongst its own people. We will always be a nation of fear-mongering and ridiculous stereotypes. I am not surprised, but I am amazed that we continue to have false hopes that this country will ever realize that a person's preference of race is as important as their preference of a "green" M&M over a "red" M&M. I am thankful for the actions of this facility to confirm that this country has major race-relation problems and that there are far more racial separatist in this country than ever before. Let's just accept the fact that racial hate, racial separatist and fear-mongering is the foundation and future of this country.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  69. Kevin Leo

    No child should ever be made to feel unwanted or inferior to others based on their sex, race, religon, or anything else! For those who wonder and say out loud how can you say that racism still exists it is because of incidents like this where the wrong messages are passed on from one generation to the next.

    Growing up as an African-American in Rochester, NY, I can honestly say that I was not exposed to a lot of discrimination against myself. However, the few times when it did happen, I can recall to this very day. When I saw the young boy crying as he was talking about the incident brought back all of those memories and pain all over again. We as a nation are better han this.

    The one thing that I was very proud to see was that the outrage of this transcends colors and cultures. There is hope for us to rise above this pettiness after all.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  70. Von in Georgia

    Absolutely repulsive! If you don't want other than whites swimming in your pool then that's your free choice..... install a pool at your private residence and swim there. To introduce such blatant racism not just to the african american kids but the white kids also is simply inexcusable. This so called swim club should be heavily fined or shut down completely! We should not have to subject our children to this type of behavior regardless of race. Use this "private club" as an example to others. Now here's a "good reason" to sue.These obvious racist actions should not be tolerated!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  71. jona

    Racism isn't going to end because you jerks moderate any posts that don't agree with your agenda. That kind of thinking only exacerbates the situation because those of us who actually understand what is going on only get more frustrated and less patient. We also become hardened and less compassionate. So if that is what you want, keep moderating.

    Black America needs to look at itself and stop blaming everyone else as if they are innocent bystanders.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  72. Rick

    I disagree with the person who said public protests won't help to fix the situation. We would not have heard this story on CNN if people had not complained. I'm not sure what state authorities can do, but I am certain the people at Valley Swim Club do not enjoy being called out for intolerance on national TV. Low-level racism thrives on ambiguity and coded language, and we should commend the parents of these children for refusing to overlook this intolerant snub.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  73. J.R.

    M. Armstrong makes a very valid point and I can't believe how newsrooms and people are buying this story hook, line, and sinker! There is more to it than just this one camp being denied the priveleges of using the club, 2 other camps also had their money refunded. I believe this has more to do with paying members of a private club not wanting to put up with 60 or so kids with minimal supervision. I know I'd be upset if I was a member and a group of that size showed up.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  74. b.orsini

    I feel the need to say how sorry I am to these kids. It makes me ashamed. All this does it keep the hurt as well as the hate growing.Its wrong.I am so sorry. B.Orsini
    West Palm Beach ,Fl.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  75. Berta

    That saying 'The more things change the more they stay the same" is so true unfortunately. It's a good thing Our Heavenly Father is color blind. He will take care of these rude and racist people i'm sure of it in his own do time. They might get by but they won't get away.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  76. Walid in Toronto

    This is a great example of ignorance from people (bigots) that believe skin colour is associated with delinquency or ...
    Imagine the impact on those kids and the resentment that they now impregnated in their brains ... of course it becomes a self-proclaimed prophecy when in the future these kids run into people that physically look like the bigots at the pool and react to them negatively.
    Why don't they ban the bigots from entering the pool when they are the ones that not only are jeopardizing the atmosphere at the pool but in their own country!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  77. Nick

    This is outrageous! The club is obviously trying to justify their racism with lame excuses. They need to be sued for discrimination which is the only way to make sure this doesnt happen elsewhere

    July 10, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  78. jona


    July 10, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  79. Spring

    Its a PRIVATE CLUB, they have every right to deny whomever they wish for whatever reasons they want to. If this were a PUBLIC POOL, then I could see why they are complaining and would back them up.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  80. Roger

    Children should not be subjected to hearing racist remarks by adults.
    It tears my heart to hear a child repeat what he heard.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  81. Haile Rivera

    Heidi, I can not believe that in this day and age, having made history and broken those racial barriers with the first African-American President, discrimination remains so openly. This club needs to shut down and everyone should be up in arms about this.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  82. Chip

    It was hard for me to see the kid cry about it but I also think that he needs to know that not everyone is like that

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  83. Andrew

    If two other clubs that have white kids in them where givin the boot to then in no way shape or form does this have to do with racism. The people that pay to swim there can say what they want, its their opinion and they are entitled to that.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  84. Patricia Farrell

    I think it is reasonable for people who pay a membership fee for a private club to expect that only members and their guests will be allowed access to the club. I don't understand why an entire day camp – regardless of the race involved – would be allowed to use the facilities in the first place. Moreover, in this economy, I would think the day camp would attempt to keep costs to the parents as low as possible. It would seem more reasonable for the day camp to use a municipal pool and charge the parents less money. The amount paid to the swim club could also have gone for educational day trips. This isn't necessarily a racial issue, and I don't think people should assume it is.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  85. Mark

    Why do I care what Shorty or anyone else says about this. What has happened to journalism? What an unidentified person thinks is not only irrelevant, it is boring. Your job is to inform, not solicit opinions. Your journalism professor would be embarrassed.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  86. E. D.

    It is a travesty that, in this day and age, people still prove their ignorance. I don't think that the people of that club were misinterpreted. I think that they need to be fired for making such comments and that if they are allowed to keep their jobs, then the club should be shut down by the members who attend. This is truly disgusting.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  87. julius

    This is stupid. this is 2009 not 1909 where a black child cant even go to a pool aand not be judged by the color of there skin. someone really needs to investigate this case becuase that comment those white ladies said about those kid was 100% racist. no if and or buts about it.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  88. Janet

    I think the attitude of the Valley Club is deplorable. They can post any statement they want on their website, but I say where there is smoke, there is fire I think they are trying to do a quick save to avoid legal troubles, but there are obviously some racists on that board of directors

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  89. CAROL

    I will bet you that the people who made these decisions and made the horrible racist remarks voted Republican. I am sure of it. Shame on them.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  90. Jane L

    In the Phiadelphia swimming pool situation- Everyone is over-reacting.

    The bottom line is , if I went to an all African – American basketball court or swimming pool and I was the only white girl, you better believe a parent/adult would say- look at the white girl, or maybe worse...

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  91. William L. Lee

    There is no reason for discrimination like this in this country today, it brings shame to all of us and should not be tolerated. I say close them down or sue them to build a pool for everyone!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  92. N Miller

    I once heard Samuel Jackson brag that his fame brought him access to clubs that don't accept African-Americans. I hope he sees this news story and I hope he realizes how utterly foolish and hypocritical his braggart comment was.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  93. Skye

    Oh come on..
    Have you ever been at a pool that YOU pay for with your kids, and seen a group of summer kids come?! It is always a disaster!! There is NEVER enough counselors to watch the kids, and it always ends in me packing up my bags and leaving!!!
    PLUS the kids “statement” sound VERY parent oriented… I dont know many 10 year olds that use the word “harm”!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  94. Stacy

    These children are, white, brown. It shouldn't matter! I cannot believe that these "white" people are so ignorant. It doesn't matter what the clubs consequences are now....the harm has been done.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  95. Walter Harris

    Since one of the primary definitions of "complexion" refers to facial skin color, Duesler has let the cat out of the bag. And the name of the cat is "Jim Crow."

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  96. Vivian A. Miller

    The pool and everything involved w/the pool should be permanently SHUT DOWN!! ALL employees of the pool should be fired immediately!!!! LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  97. Roger Heisen

    It seems tome that minorities do not want to play by the rules and use anything that affect them as "discrimination".

    The same game is being played by the Spanish networks to suggest that the attempts to limit the illegal immigration is racist

    Its time to go back to basics or this country will become another Haiti.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  98. Ellie, MD

    Heidi –

    Valley Pool was blatantly RACISTS. The President of the pool should be FIRED for his racists remarks toward the Summer Camp kids. It was horrific and showed LACK of judgement on his part.

    If Valley Pool was NOT being racists WHY didn't they randomly ask OTHER groups in a FAIR and EQUAL number to LEAVE the pool, WHY did they cancel the Summer Camp's contract if they weren't being DISCRIMINATORY? That's the question?

    Valley Pool should have their business license revoked if they do NOT reinstate the Summer Camp's contract and/or any other minority contract! Bottom line.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  99. Ron Mitchell

    When I went to "" web site, this is what is posted:
    "The Valley Club is deeply troubled by the recent allegations of racism which are completely untrue.
    We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps. All funds were returned to the camps and we will re-evaluate the issue at a later date to determine whether it can be feasible in the future.

    Our Valley Club deplores discrimination in any form, as is evidenced by our multi-ethnic and diverse membership. Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board. "

    Shame on this bunch of snobs!! To, in good faith, sign a contract and then say what The Valley Club said to the children is just plain criminal.
    If I were a member of this organization, I would not ask for the entire boards resignation, but remove myself from being associated from such an oranization!
    Ron Mitchell
    Phoenix, AZ

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  100. marcha


    yesterday racism today racism always racism does every road have an end

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  101. Molly

    So. Sad. First story I heard this morning and I simply cannot believe it. That little boy stated it perfectly when he said..."but we are just like your kids." That club should be very embarassed, furthermore, I tried to visit their site to communicate with them and their site only has a statement that weakly "defends" their position and the site does not direct to anywhere else but that screen. It's a shame.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  102. Asbert Williams

    i think they the kids deserve an apology , the statement was down right racist , Stop the excuse .


    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  103. Nora Franklin

    Wow, I always knew racism was still alive and well, however it is still hurtful. To see that little boy crying because of those statements should be hurtful to all human beings. This is 2009 and our kids should not have to expericence this sort of treatment. It is truly sad to hear and see this situation.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  104. Marvin

    It broke my heart to see this very smart and well-spoken young man so distraught over the way he was treated. I think the club will need an immediate shift in leadership. They will also probably have to find a way to compensate the families of those children for their pain and suffering. Some of these children will be scarred for a long time and will require a good amount of therapy so that they don't internalize these racist and hateful attitudes. It's so sad.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  105. outraged!

    For the pool's owner to say that the kids changed the "complexion" is the smoking gun. Not only is racism alive and well at the Valley Swim Club, the manager has the audacity to not even attempt to mask his reasons. I guess this is their idea of letting the chips fall where they may.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  106. Real America

    Yes it is sad that children have to hear comments like this, however this is the reality of the world. One person making a comment does not make ever member of this club a racist. Sounds like CNN is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  107. Heather Burson

    I just saw the clip on CNN about this day camp being turned away. I am white and I got chills of anger! Just to see that child CRY because of some ignorant comments made by some ignorant individuals!! I believe that this was 100% racist...The individual over the club stated that it changed the 'Atmosphere'. WOW How ignorant can you get?! Innocent children. It is 2009 for crying out loud! When are things going to change?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  108. kerry

    Racism at private swim clubs in nothing new. My family (we are white) went searching for a swim club to join a couple of years ago. At one particular club we were told point blank not to bring in any black people as guests. Of course we did not join this club as we did not wish to be associated with a club with this type of prejudice. I am sorry for the children and day care workers involved in this case, but I am glad there is some light cast on the issue.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  109. Endora Roberts

    I am ashamed that there are still people like this in the world. Yes, it IS 2009, not the 1960s so some people need to hurry up and get with the times. As a kid myself, I am somewhat saddened that there are people still stuck in the past and that revolve their minds around stereotypes. Children are children, and what this club did was wrong not only to the camp, but to all children in general. What example does this set?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  110. Travis P.

    The pool being overcrowded was out of the question. In fact, the club dug a deeper hole for themselves by saying "the underestimated the capacity." Would not that wording imply that they could hold more guests?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  111. Sonja Fitzgerald

    Heidi we started this discussion yesterday when the news broke about this incident. It is so sad that the chidlren still have to be subjected to this type of treatment. As a parent, we teach our children to be kind and treat people with respect. Then we take them to places in society where we teach them to interact appropriate with other members of society and they are treated as if they are unequal and not as we have taught them to treat others. When will this ever come to an end or should we be teaching our children something different?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  112. Eric S.

    Hello Heidi,

    I'm a member at a club and whenever there's a summer camp, tons of kids come and use the pool and let's just say the water gets REALLY warm... I have never placed a complaint about it but I'm sure some uptight members have.

    I understand the members part but It's a shame for these kids to have to go through feeling discriminated in this way

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  113. charmaine weinberg

    How sad that these "white folks" are still living in the past. Will they ever grow up and realize they are the disadvantaged because oof their opionions.?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  114. Robert H King

    Some of those kids will be scarred for life because of this experience. This is shameful. You can spin this all you want but this was racism at its ugliest.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  115. Norma

    Anyone who thinks this was not a racist act is out of there mind. This is just another example of how blind we as a nation are to the biogtry that exist in this country. Those children should not have to be subjected to this kind of behavior. I am sitting hear crying that in my 63 years of life I am still witnessing such racist acts.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  116. Maria Bolton-Joubert

    WOW. Unreal. Are these white people aware what year this is!? May they remember they also have a half black president!? I guess we can assume who they voted for if this is how they feel about black people. Its 2009 already... wow. SO SAD. I hope these kids turn this around positively somehow, and buy out this country club, and kick these losers OUT.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  117. Shamara

    I want to thank you for covering this story and bringing national attention to it. I'm work watching and listening with tears in my eyes hearing those children talk. I work in the public light in the city of Philadelphia and it saddens me just like the child said that it's 2009 and stuff like this is still happening. The Valley Swim Club or any other swim club/public/private/etc should NOT get away with this at all!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  118. Christian

    Racism is still around today, the only thing that has changed is the ability to hide it.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  119. Chris

    I think that maybe that pool was overcrowded and that's why those kids were turned away, the only problem was it was overcrowded with racists.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  120. Ezekiel OJo

    It is VERY sickening that the board of the Valley club decided to drop the membership of the minority school children. I also feel so sorry for children who have to hear "enlightened" adults say such DISGRACEFUL utterances at such an age. It is dissapointing that others believe that such an act is not a form of racism and the children would like to hear they want to. I do not believe children so young can make up such a thing with tears in their eyes.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  121. patty parfait

    i cannot fathom that there is so many ignorant people still

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  122. Mike Do 07

    Why is that guy making racist remark, it's like he never seen a black person before?? That was just dumb and stuoid. I hope that guy get prosecuted and sued for violation of civil rights.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  123. Victor

    To the question, yes, I do believe that there were some statements made that were racially biased. Yes, there may have been an overcrowding issue at the time, but the fact that comments of a racial nature were made at that time instantly charged the whole conversation about the race of the kids present there. I am saddened that those kids had to be subjected to that kind of bigotry when they were only there to enjoy some time in the pool.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  124. Barbara in Palm Springs

    Please..stop with the hypocrisy.

    "White flight" to the suburbs is still alive and flourishing in the "real America"....white parents do not want their kids to go to school, socialize, worship or swim with black/brown kids. This has been a "wink/wink" situation since the 60's.

    It is shameful and so very hurtful as the tears of little Marcus Allen showed. I cry for him. How disgusting that this could happen in 2009. I hope President Obama and Governor Rendell take notice.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  125. JB BROWN

    This story hurt my heart. How long will our children have to endure this type of racism? It is 2009 and we still have to be treated as sub-human. The color of our skin is not going to change. The ignorant people of this country are going to have to get with the program. We bleed red blood just like you. We want the best for our families just like you. We are God's children, just like you. We are not going away. Get with the program.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  126. Karl


    If the facility was overcrowded, the three contracts should never have been signed.

    Given the contracts and deposits, if the pool was overcrowded, the club cannot simply cancel the contract – but should have re-scheduled pool use by its own members, right?

    Lame excuses for cruel racism. Shame on them for such hateful behavior and for hurting those children in a way that they will never forget for the rest of their lives.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  127. Debby

    What happened still doesn't surprise me, but I think the president of the swim club should be fired immediately. I live in the south and there will always be racism, ALWAYS. It is disgusting but true. I disagree with male member who said that the comment was misinterpreted , I DON'T THINK SO.

    Fire the president of the club immediately and allow the kids to come back in IF THEY WANT TO, which I hope they would rather now go elsewhere.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  128. Nana

    Sad if the story is true. However, I'll hope CNN and the other media would give the club a chance to respond to the allegation before we ask for some heads. Very sad though.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  129. Rand Laird

    Is it possible that what was said was taken out of context? Sad as it may be there are still folks of all races that don't want to be around other races. Being a private club I am sure they have the right under the constitution to do as they please. It's time in America to accept the fact that we are different and handle things different.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  130. jane

    The point you are all missing is that even if other groups of non-African American children were also not allowed, those children were not racially identified and called out speciafically now were they? No one said 'why are the little white kids here?' You racists have just inflicted a painful permanent scar on these children, who may never have been discriminated against for their color before. You make me sick, and I hope the whole club goes out of business as the ethical members pull their memberships. You are so racist, and saying you are not doesn't change anything. I hope that young boy is President one day and you recognize the face in the White House that you discriminated against today--SHAME on all of you.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  131. Gloria-Gaye

    My husband grew up in that area & as African-American he wasn't allowed to join that pool. That area is & still racism. The club knew about the camp coming at that time & they SHOULD had arranged enough staff for that time period. Many private pools in the Philadelphia suburb were & we had to protest to join. (e.g. Lansdowne Swim Club in Lansdowne, Pa) back in the early '70's. I feel the president's of the club comments were wrong.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  132. Greg, Ontario

    The club disputes allegations of racism , then when are the clubs lawyers going to file against CNN and the child for defamation and slander? If I was innocent of this I would have you in court so fast your head would spin.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  133. kiki in Omaha

    To Anybody that think this not racism I said this:
    I've seen this happening every that in my appartment complex pool area. Any time so see one or two people of color comes to the pool all white folks disapear from the water and only returns when the people of color left but you will never see the opposite happening. And you tell me that is not racism?
    Ignorance of racism will still be in the society because it's a gene that is transfered from some parents to their kids.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  134. Dennis Mowry

    It seems clear that this was a case of Racial discrimination. However, the club must claim the "convienient excuse" that the club was overcrowded as an after thought to stay out of trouble. I will not be convinced that this is not discimination unless the club permits the kids to come back on a regular basis (for free).

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  135. Brian

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I am an advocate for freedom of opinion, expression, and speech – however I do not support infringement upon rights, crude racist comments, or exploiting false-inferiority of black children. I have been following this story since it was first posted, and I have just finished watching an interview with a child who was a target of the racist remarks. This is an outrage, and shame should be brought to this club.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  136. Jimmy

    If race was involved why would they have signed the contract in the beginning. It is possible that race isn't involved even with black people involved.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  137. Ann

    Although racism is to be deplored in any sector of our society, I have to ask, is this a membership only club? If so, they have the right to include, or exclude, by will. Whenever a person of white skin is barred from an organization, or college, or function, it is never identified as "racism." White people in this country have allowed "blacks only" institutions, functions, celebrations, organizations, etc. for some time now. We have factions of our government that are dedicated solely to the African American culture and experience – from Black history month to black caucuses to universities to affrimative action and so on. Even this comment, I am certain, will be regarded as racist.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  138. Chuck

    I agree with many of the posters that this disgusting show of racism is a sad development and statement of where we are as a people.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  139. CR

    No one doubts that racism still exist in the United States. What some people excuse as indifference is blatent racism. Living in the perfect world is not an excuse for racism or rudeness. But some have lived so caught up in themselves that they have become unskilled living among many others. I feel sorry for [white] persons who invest massive resources in their kids only to handicap them with a thinking that might even, in extreme, get them killed. At the same time I do not feel sorry for the these [white] kids when they become victims to such thinking when such makes victims of others.

    This thinkin is the same as Bernie Madof's.


    In a time when communities have been identified to the bone with regard to their character:

    2008 Elections Revealed the actual location and boundries of white communities
    which are the havens for "closet racism". Closest Racism in the
    U.S. are those various communities which because of religion,
    foriegn nationalisms vs Americanism, racism, economic separation,
    etc. consider other communities of Americans almost as lesser
    class and undesirables

    Swim Club Incident Communities who outwardly assess what is and what is not the
    the proper, "normal",...cultural behavior of communities they are
    not familiar with and have become foriegn of because of the non-
    diveristy of thier experiences and ability to tolerate differences.

    Damages Damages done by Wall Street, Bernie Madof's, etc have leveled the
    playing field between diversed communities as ALL communities
    have suffered due to the greed and indifference of all who identify
    affluent suburban communities as made of those like Bernie Madof
    and that those who made such mistakes as not as worthy as they
    the suburban elite have previously self-privileged themselves.

    In effect, closet racists, have become emboldened enough to do what their fathers and grandfathers have taught them to think and do in the closet settings of the suburban communities they though were hidden.

    Racism, etc is just as bad as it is in any other part of the world, still.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  140. Lynn Mann

    As a parent who takes her children to public pools in the summer, day cares and day camps do provide a rush of LESS- supervised children. Sometimes these kids are not as well-bahaved as they are with their parents. It's simply based on the ratio of adults to kids.

    The parents who made racial comments are ignorant and stupid.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  141. ANobleRealtor

    My family lives in the town adjacent to where the Valley Swim Club is located. Huntingdon Valley, PA and the neighboring towns are absolutely segregated and polarized. People need to wake up and "smell the coffee." NEWS FLASH -> Get used to seeing hispanic and black Americans in every facet of life....including as the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Times have changed, and people need to get a grip! I totally believe everything Ms. Wright's son said on your program. He was such an articulate and sincere little boy. Valley Swim Club's management and members should be absolutely ashamed of themselves

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  142. Nikki

    This is just as bad as the terrorist that want to harm America. It is a level of hate that should not be tolerated. I feel so bad that those innocent children had to endure such pain because of ignorant adults. I think the people who are members and do not support racism should withdraw their membership and no new people should give them another dime, that will show them that no one will tolerate such behavior any longer in the country!!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  143. RaSheed Lemon

    If America is so blind to not see and recognize that racism is still prevalent then this country is in a state of severe delusion. I have to deal with it at my job, and I work for the US government.

    This case is absolutely racism and I am NOT suprised at all. We seem to forget that the civil rights and Jim Crow era was no more than 60 years ago. Just because we have a Black president has not changed a thing, it just presents the beginning of dealing with an issue America needs to face head on.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  144. HODGE

    Personally i believe that this situation with the kids is sending a racist message for all to see. more often then not these upper ecilone clubs have been doing this segregation for decades, without any sort of reprecaution. They african american and hispanic kids parents should deal with this situation in a fundamentally legal manner to where this would never happen again.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  145. Kevin Leo

    M. Armstrong is very correct in that various asepcts of the government uses racial and cultural identifiers when describing groups of people and there is nothing wrong with that when used in a non-judgemental or discrimantory fashion. However, when any person or group uses these terms as a blanket to assign prejudicial commentary, that is hen the line is crossed. In this case, with the young children, stating their fears that the Black children may do something to their children or steal something...that is just plain wrong. When the government does it, it is considered profiling and is just as wrong at the local level as it is at a national level.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  146. Steve in South Jersey

    Heidi, I am so angry at these people at the Valley Swim Club! I grew up in that area of Philadelphia and my parents and family still live nearby. That area where the swim club resides is just outside the Philadelphia City limits. I am not surprised that a bunch of white, elitist snobs would be alarmed at the sight of black children. I consider myself at times a white, elitist "snob" but would never feel threatened by the sight less-fortunate children, of any race. I guess I'm just more grown-up than most of those parents at the Swim Club. I'm also used to living and working in a community in NJ that shows diversity everywhere. I hope the Valley Swim Club reconsiders their decision.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  147. Beth Briggs

    My children watched this story with me in horror - I was so prooud of my kids because they could see how wrong the reaction of the club was.
    My heart breaks that the children had to experince this kind of hatred and prejudice - this was just wrong. I wish I could hug those children and tell them all white people are not as ignorant as the ones they encountered at the club.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  148. Susan Milles

    Thank you for telling this story. Racism is alive today, but by talking about it openly, and exposing the perpetrators, we can move forward.

    Hopefully, because of your coverage of this story, those children will learn that most people find racist sentiments apalling and will not be tolerated.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  149. Sierra

    Watching the little boy with tears running down his face should be required viewing for all the club members, and everyone in America.

    I burst into tears along with him.

    What is his name?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  150. northwest philly

    Hey Heidi Im from philly and I can tell you first hand that the suburb's outside of philadelhia have a lot of racism still there, especially those private type pool clubs. Im black and when Im out there you get a feeling like your less than nothing, I can tell you something first hand because Im from Philly the state of Pennsylvania has a lot of rascim still here even in 2009!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  151. greghaa

    TO: michael armstrong sr.

    If this isn't racist then why didn't the adults ask what all these white kids are doing here? The fact that they even said black kids means they were singling them out. Mike Armstrong Jr. Get a clue!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  152. jason

    Their are times when things are exactly what they appear and their are time when they are not. Every time some one thinks something is racist someone blows it out of control. If the pool was over crowded it was over crowded. People need to relax and start trusting their fellow man that new times are here.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  153. Sean McCarthy

    I support the swim club. At 45 years old, I have hit my limit with black "culture." I have no desire to be around blacks because of their aggressive, in-your-face confrontation. They complain and whine about everything. I'm tired of their rap, spinner wheels, gold teeth, garrish display of jewelry, sagging shorts, dreadlocks and corn rows, and their embrace of everything ghetto and devoid of culture or substance.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  154. Frank

    Its disgusting to see that racism still exists today. I cannot believe that they had the nerve to do this to children and their actions are criminal. The head of the club signed a contract and accepted their money, thast was fine but when he and others saw these black and hispanic kids, they weren't allowed in. This club should be investigated and those children should get justice. Additionally, that club should be made to pay not only restitution but damages to these kids who just wanted to have a fun time. This type of behavior needs to end and if those who think that its ok, they should be made to pay. The image of that poor boy in tears is heartbreaking.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  155. Michele from Dale City

    I cannot believe this is 2009! this is a story I would expect to read about in a history book. This cannot go unchallenged or it will set a precedent.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  156. Andrea from Indiana

    You reported that other groups who are white had there contracts cancelled also. If this is true, then this is not racist. This is poor planning on the Swim Club's part. Some comments made by the Club staff are horrible if they are true and action should be taken. Public apologies sound necessary to all groups who had contracts cancelled. I'm African-American and the Swim club should have handled their forecast error much better.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  157. Ruben Ramos

    I hope that soon in my life time we will find life on another planet so we can all come together as humans. We can all start to hate the aliens as we tend to hate what we dont understand or differences.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  158. AlienEvil

    If the issue was capacity, the club could have honored its agreement by putting a limit on the number of children who could attend on any given day. The fact that they opted to cancell the contract indicates that they didn't want the kids there at all.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  159. Rick Powell

    Racism is alive and philly may have alot black people but the west side of PA is very racist. Being a black man and traveling around country some areas i could feel the racism and western side of PA was one of them.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  160. Shirley Jordan

    It was heartbreaking seeing that 12 yr old crying because he was clearly exposed to racism.Then the vote came back to exclude the day care and we're supposed to believe it was because of an overcrowded pool...yea right!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  161. Sonia Vivar

    The fault I find here, is in the fact that they accept money for a service they refused to provide. The swim club should of thought out every possible scenario, before they accept payment, the oops factor should not be a factor....rake them over the coals for being stupid.


    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  162. Allyson Jaikaran

    Why would kikds lie, to see this kid with tears in his eyes nd the hurt on his face. Why the adults who were at he club come forward????? it had nothing to do with the pool being over crowed, it all comes down to race. I suggest the watch Cnn Black in America,

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  163. Patrick Murray

    Heidi, that is racism at its best right there. There is no reason in the world that those kids should of had to go thru that. Clubs with that type of status does not make mistakes in overbooking or whatever. THat is why the people who attend or join those type of clubs pay that kind of money to be part of them. We have a black President to is doing a fine job trying to fix this country and you want to discriminate against the kids, I dont think so. Please advise the kids to get a lawyer like Jeffery Fieger or someone of his status and maybe they can own that club and the people sho told them to leave can ask the kids for permission to use the pool.


    Traverse City Michigan

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  164. Christine

    I think this is an outrage. Racism should not be a part of our world today. These childreen have just as much of a right to be there as any other. These people who made the remarks shoul be making a public apology to the childreen for what was said. Childreen today should not have to deal with racism, i thought racism was a thing of the past i guess not.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  165. Jim

    This story deeply saddens me for the children and angers me towards the organization. I am an african Amerian healthcare worker of 30 plus years, 20 of those years were in the USN. It truly amazes me that some white people really think they are so precious and pure. They actually believe that there precious offspring can be damaged by swimming in the same pool. For those of you who think that way let me tell you the facts. I have seen more healthcare diseases, viruses, mental issues, neglect, and homicidal tendencies over the last 30 years with white people that any other race in his country. Hmm I wonder who should really be worried.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  166. Tom Antoine

    It's sad to hear about this kind of attitude. Although it cuts both ways. I am white and have been married to a black lady for over 30 years, and I have been on the outside too. Many times I had to be validated by my inlaws by: "Oh, he's OK", or during gatherings comments about whites have been made, then they turn to me and say: "No Offence" or "Present Company Not Included". Thank you, but that doesn't make me feel a lot better. This will always continue, regardless of all efforts to stop racist language.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  167. Kathy

    I just tried to log on to the The Valley Club website and they have altered their site to not allow any comments or searches. They have posted a statement about the recent allegations and that is the totality of their site. It seems to me if they had nothing to hide or if they felt they had truly not done anything wrong they would not block their website or screen their phone calls. I also tried to call them and an automated systems answers and states the voice mail box is full. I am disgusted by the actions of this club and my heart and support goes out to those children and adults involved in this racist action by the club. I sincerely hope the people who are members of this place either demand the resignation of the board members or withdrawl their membership. This kind of thing can no longer be tolerated in this country.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  168. Adrienne Gilchrist

    Hello Heidi,
    Goodmorning that news story was very disturbing to some of my co-workers and I who are all of different races and we were all on agreement that this child was faced with racism and no child black or white should have to endure such ignorance from adults who should beyond the face of race. let these kids swim were ever they like and for that parent to make such a comment about her kids belongings probably getting stolen was ridiculous. This world will never move on if we cant look pass black and white.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  169. Jackie Anthony

    Yes these are "racist" comments and they are still very hurtful today as they have always been. These type comments are made more often than reported. Children are not ignorant and they understand fully what they heard. Yes the little boy had tears in his eyes - I also teared up when I heard him tell what he heard. I have been subjected to racism - in previous years as well as sometimes in our current time. You definitely know when you are being discriminated against. This is not something you make up. IT IS REAL. All people, white, black or otherwise, should strive to grow beyond this – it is "UGLY" and "HURTFUL."

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  170. Shalni Tamdji

    Bigotry in any shape or form is dispicable but when it involves children it is heartbreaking. No child should ever feel the way this 11-year old is feeling right now. It saddens me to think that in the year 2009 so many people still practice this kind of bigotry/hatred. We still have a lot of work to do to make this country and the world a better place for all children, not just for those who have the 'right' skin color.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  171. Louis Glynn

    That little boy who told his heartbreaking story of what he heard directly has more credibility than any adult will ever have either in the swim club, or the media, or any other spin doctor! The truth is in his tears, and in his indictment of the American public's continued prejudism in this late day and age.

    Louis Glynn

    July 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  172. Larry Blackford

    We are living in very diffcult times and people still have not learned that All people are created equal and should all be respected. For some crazy reason certain races of people believe that they are better than others. People like that need the LORD to come into their hearts or either come to a good conscience of morals. If they don't they will never change.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  173. debra

    It is so sad that racist seems to still be living in 2009. It just goes to show you that ignorate people are still existing. We just lost the king of pop who all his life tried to make this a better world and break the color line. It doesnt matter if you are white or black. Shame on the ignorate that would make a statement like that around an innocent child. Maybe if that person doesnt like the fact that a black child is swimming in a public pool then maybe they should swim elsewhere.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  174. SH

    This is a private club and they have every right to decide who can be there and who can not. I believe the club – a group of children regardless of race or color would deter me from going to the pool.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  175. Judy Kostun

    When will we ever learn??? How in the world can we set an example to people all over the world and be so cruel to our own children right here at home? To be cruel to a child goes beyond racism. I am ashamed, not only as a "white" person, but as a human being. I hope the people of that area raise their voices in protest against the Valley Club. These beautiful young children only wanted to swim, and did not deserve to be confronted with the deplorable ignorance of adults. As a teacher of all our children, I stand united with them.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  176. gg

    i feel so bad cause i am an african american and if someone did that to me i will be VERY EXTREMLY sad! the other people should feel very ashamed of themselves! its wrong! VERY!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  177. Michelle

    This is horrible. No child should have to endure this kind of treatment from anyone. JR, it's hard for me not to believe this is a story riddled with racism because the white kids got out of the pool when the black kids were there. The comments that were made are racist, please stop making excuses for this. It's like we've come so far as a country but we have a long way to go and there's no benefit from defending that kind of behavior. If 3 groups were sent away due to overcrowding, that's one thing. Having the inferiority comments made presents a different problem and one that they must deal with head on. It's unacceptable and so are the excuses.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  178. Gwen

    This is defintely discrimination against blacks. Racism is over. The center should be shut down totally.

    Thank You

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  179. Darren Hundley

    more than "Racism" here, just hatred in the human race, this time again ivolving our children, our future, ..

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  180. john simmons

    In your story a comment was made that they were afraid the colored children may steel at the pool. Does that lady realized she just stole all of those kids dignity. Shamefull.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  181. Tony

    I don't know why we are been so tolerant to bigotry. No child, of any race, should be a victim of racism and make feel that he/she is less of a human being just because the color of their skin. We should march, we should march indeed in front of that facility and protest; protest in the name of every minority.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  182. Berta

    Correction: That saying "The more things change the more they stay the same" is so true unfortunately. It's a good thing Our Heavenly Father is color blind. He will take care of these rude and racist people i'm sure of it, in his own due time. They might get by but they won't get away.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  183. Heather Espeut

    It breaks my heart to hear those kids testimony ,it brings back bitter memories. This clearly is racism so sad that these very young kids had to be exposed to such discrimination in 2009. We have come a long way but it is unfortunate that we cant change people's heart.. No amount of excuse now can repair the damage done to these kids.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  184. is it 2009 or 1709?

    It is sad that black, brown and yellow people are still being denied the simple pleasures of life. Children being denied the right to swim in a pool "it changed the complexion of the club" . As an African American woman I am offended, appalled and deeply saddened. I have lived through so much blatant racism and I had hoped that things would change and people would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. This can not be explained away... it is wrong, wrong wrong on so many levels. Do people of color have to be Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey or President Barack Obama to be allowed in by the people who are not Anderson Cooper, Brad Pitt , or Madonna. We are more alike than different! I don't have words to express how this feels!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  185. Vivian

    It is unfathomable that in tihs day and time, with many of the awesome advances and contributions that people of African descent have made in America, that our children (Black children) are still subjected to levels of ignorance, hatred and racism that boggle the mind and crush the soul. The tears, hurts and pains of racist comments still sting and cause just as much pain today as they did 80 years ago. It was no mistake, misstep or misunderstanding that led the people at Valley Club to turn away children and make the comments they did in the earshot of those children. If America is ever going to be the real leader it proports itself to be, we are going to have to leave far behind the overwhelming legacy of racism that we have. We have to stop handing down from generations to generation intolerance and pain.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  186. Carmen G

    Dodging the issue by blaming the media for making this a racist issue or dimissing the comments as "a description of a class of people" is sad and disgusting. You cannot take out of text the teary description given by the child who overheard the adults make statements that the black children may harm or steal from them. Those who diminish the magnitude of this incident only wish to perpetuate that which is alive and inhumanely well in America - BIGOTRY and RACISM. As anyone of color has said EVEN with a black president in office... racial equality has a long way to go...
    A woman of COLOR

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  187. Doug Edwards

    Seeing the child crying over not being allowed in the pool shows us where the truth lies about the comments from the pool club in PA. I moved from NJ to Fla five years ago and see racism all the time here. It was really eye opening when I moved here. On a daily basis, you see people working on lawns and roads in horrible heat. The workers are always black or hispanic ... and the overweight, white guy is sitting in the air conditioned truck watching them. It's everywhere. I'd hate to be black down here. I finally got my neighbors to stop using the "N" word in my presence. Being from NY/NJ, i'm very sensivite to that. I'm white, but trying to do my part to force my "so called" friends to grow up ... as small as my part might be.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  188. Nicole

    I think the situation is racial related. If you have never been part of a 'minority" group then you may not be easily able to identitfy because you may not have experienced it. No child should ever have to be subjected to any form of racisim in 2009 its disgusting and unheard of. It does not matter who said those comments staffers, club member's etc.In reference to the way minority groups are identitified I believe its wrong; just because people use a word does not mean its ok for us as a society to use such language.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  189. Rita

    When are people going to treat others as the treat themselves. What this country club did is deplorable. They are young children and they tend to learn from others. How are we going to change their opinions of racism when this type of behaveior is an opportunity to grow. Refund their money and change the country clubs policies.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  190. Andrew Gabriel

    I have lived in Philadelphia for more than 30 years and I can hardly remember an incident that has outraged me more than this one. Shame on this club for treating these precious children so abysmally. People should go out of their way to not say things that could be taken this way, but I am convinced the kids are right. Adults should set a better example, and if they can't, they should be expelled from the club for changing its "complexion" because we are the City of Brotherly Love and this isn't showing it. As for the staff there–fire them. And finally, open your Bible. The tongue is a poison and a fire that can destroy if not checked. Liberty Bell and Rocky are fine. We don't need a reputation though for this.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  191. Natasha D Williams

    It's unfortunate, but the fact is that we in 2009 are still dealing with ignorant people who not only is implementing but teaching innocent children RACISM and PREJUDISM.
    Here's a question: "If the children are not being taught this ignorance where is it coming from?"

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  192. Kurt Dishong

    This is absolutely racism, the swim club should demand that every board member resign and elect a new board. Club members should also boycott using the club until this happens. The long lasting damage that this child has endured will leave scars forever.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  193. Sidnickels

    The director of the club should be fired immediately!!! This is completely unacceptable and should not be toleriated!!! Anybody else on his staff that participated in this should be fired as well. This kind of shannigans is what's wrong with this country. There are no excuses for what this clown has done. I for one will continue to follow this to see when he will be dimsissed!!! I feel for those kids... This is a very sad situation that should have never happened.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  194. Anonymous

    I think that things WERE taking out of context, everytime you turn around you hear african americans screaming racism. They are allowed to have ALL black colleges and BET... Why is this? If they want equality, they should allow it themselves.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  195. KP

    CNN should be ashamed of the reporting of this story. I had my TV on for a short time and all I heard was promoting of this story before every commercial break and how racism was rampent in PA. They hyped the heck out of and then didn't do a complete job of telling the story. They glossed over the "other" day cars that were turned away and only focused on the one. Is that because that "one" would sell more stories? Easier to hype? Tell the full story or don't tell it at all. The daycare was probably turned away because the members voted it down...the media seems to be making this a racial issue. And by continuing to play the race card in the media to "sell stories" the media will continue to keep racism alive.

    Oh...the boy who was interviewed...great job. And the person that coached him did a great job. Someone is trying to turn this into a race issue. Next time CNN should consider doing their homework and report the full story or don't report it at all.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  196. Craig

    Here we are 2009, racism is still very much alive.
    I can understand members of the club being concerned, about several kids, basically turned loose in the facility. But why was it said "BLACK KIDS". a perfect example of "What are "THEY" doing here".
    Look at 90% of the Black Communities in America. Where do the children have to go? What do they have to do? It's summer time...
    Oh I forgot, just put them on the streets with crack and guns...That's where they belong.
    Welcome to the new "Black America", we are coming on strong.
    We are in the White House, Golf courses,Boardrooms, Museums,and the Stock Market...GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  197. Sam

    Why do people try to appear as though they had no idea that racism does not exist. It is evident in every aspect of our society.

    It is evident that racism exists simply because of the fact that President Obama is the first African American president. In a society that has been comprised of many different races and nationalities for 0ver 232 years, it became an oddity and a spectacle to elect Barack Obama, a half white man, as president after 232 years of presidents.

    It is evident that racism exists simply because of the Voting Rights Act.

    It is evident that racism exists simply because of James Byrd being dragged to his death through his Texas town.

    It is evident that racism exists simply because of the vast differences in the income and asset levels of whites vs other people of color.

    And yes, it is evident that racism exists simply because of the fact that incidents like the one that occurred in the suburbs of Philadelphia, although unreported, happen hundreds of times each day thoughout this so called great nation that we live in. Wake up!!! Just because you ignore doesn't mean that it will go away.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  198. ADrian Lott

    It goes to show that money and power breeds racism just about anywhere. Ad our countrys history of treating minorities, especially "African Americans". The private company will wait this whole thing out and then bragg abt what they've done around the dinner table slapping hi- fives in their 300,00 dollar house. It's so sad

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  199. Shane

    Armstrong doesn't make any sense and the fact that she read that on air was crazy. It shows you the 50/50 bull crap that CNN practices which for the most part makes CNN unwatchable and useless in the realm of informing the public. Remember both sides are always equal even if one side makes absolutely no sense!!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  200. Clint L

    Not racial? What does "What are these black kids doing here"? Then to go on to comment that are these kids going to steal my stuff and hurt my kids? What is this CaddyShack??? Are the Black kids going to go wild and take over the pool or something? Are you kidding me? This is what happens when you take money without doing the research! They accepted a money from a signed contract, then decided under pressure from their members to deny them access. I don't see how prejudice or racism is not apart of this, at least among some of the members at this club! It is alive and well! People need to get out in the real world to taste, feel, and touch racism then do something positive to at least reduce it! Knowledge is power, and knowing is half the battle!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  201. Mary Graham

    My heart goes out to the child in this story, as well as to all the children affected. I'm hurt that our children must suffer intolerance from thick-minded, thin-skinned people who offer only poison to society. Such attitudes should not be reproduced. Unfortunately, the poison from the adult contaminates their young and perpetuates hatred and intolerance. Pitiful and insecure are they!... Don't expose our children to your sickness! Keep looking up little guy and do NOT be discouraged. In fact, BE ENcouraged!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  202. Rick

    The end of this story stated two other youth groups were turned away as well, but their ethnicity was not disclosed to the viewers. If those two groups were white then how can this be considered racism? The club states this was a crowd issue, and I am forced to believe it. Had they not cut three youth groups and there had been an accident due to over crowding and understaffing they would have made the news again, but for a different reason.

    In addition, these clubs are private; if paying members are inconvenienced by overcrowding of youth groups then some youth groups should be cut.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  203. Natasha

    This is blatant racism and mortifying to witness in 2009! To boot, there was a legally binding contract in place. The daycare center should definitely seek litigation and refute any offer to return to the facility. I am totally outraged by this act of discrimination! Let justice prevail!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  204. Bobby Jimenez

    I relived a pain of my own watching these children cry. In 1969 at Lynwood pool in Lynwood, Ca.. We showed up to swim and we were told by the pool staff and the white kids in line N****r & B*****ers can't swim here go to the black pool in compton that pool was closed.

    We complained to our parents and the City changed the policy and said, "Only residence can swim in the pool". I know these children are hurt and feel rejected I went through it in the 60's why is this still going on?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  205. Karen L. Jones

    What a poor choice of words! The Freudian slip, that reference to "changing the complexion of the club" made by the swim club reveals so much. I am surprised the more hasn't been made of this ironic, double entendre.
    It is so all sad to see the children hurt so. Ultimately prejudice is just fear and ignorance and it is sad for us all.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  206. MIT '13

    I don't like how the race issue is blown up because of the day camp of primarily white children was also asked to leave, but I do acknowledge that it makes for a better headline. And it did get me to log on and comment on for the first time.

    But people should remember that children are children.. if they hear someone describing them as "black" with a slightly negative connotation (i.e. "what are these [insert adjective – red-headed, short, nerdy, funny, mentally retarded, black, you name it] doing here") then they will assume that its aimed at them because of what that adjective describes them at instead of what the comment really means – asking why there are so many darn children at the pool who are not members of the club. Also, what other adjective are you supposed to use to describe a group of African American children who arrive at a swimming pool that they don't normally attend? I hate to say it, but its an issue of semantics and political correctness.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  207. Sara Rook

    As a transgendered American woman this does not surprise me. Racism is alive and well in America. I know I live it everyday. I have always taught my children to never hate anyone because they seem or appear different than them selves. You can only teach a child so much and when they have it thrown in their face it is hard to explain to an innocent child. This will make a permanent impression on these kids and sadly they have lost some of their innocence in the process. Where do children learn to hate? From us...........These folks should be ashamed of the example they have set for these young Americans........

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |

    As a black kid who grew up in the 60's with multi-racial relatives we were taught that racism in unexceptionable. So I believe that although what happened to Marcus Allen is horrible, the only way we can even begin to resolve these problems is make the government enforce the law. A law that was set during the civil rights wars. Unfortunately there are still many politicians who are still closet racist.
    So we do what America is famous for – protest at their doorstep and insist on change until it works. It has too or we all loose.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  209. AJ

    This is a sad reminder there are folks still out there who harbor negative, racist views with regard to non-Whites. The key to combating those who maintain and act upon these anti-social beliefs is to 1.) expose such behavior to the world whenever it happens, and 2.) have as many Whites as possible who oppose racist beliefs and behavior step forward and vigorously condemn those Whites who perpetrate racist beliefs and acts. In the past racism flourished because too many Whites who may have abhorred racism stood by silent and let the racists set policies, make laws, and go as far as lynching minorities. I accept the fact that America allows us to believe what we likel and express our beliefs, good or bad. However, when negative, racist beliefs result in specific actions that harm non-Whites then the good peope of all races must mobilize and bring the force of law to bear against those who would deny others their rights.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  210. Jacqueline Lipsky

    I am crying for these children and the young boy who had to listen to the UGLY AMERICANS remarks he overheard as tears rolled down his cheeks. I am ashamed for these individuals who thinks and speak such outrageous thoughts. The director should be fired for not backing up their contract and reprimanding the individuals for spreading such hate to their children and others. When will this country understand we are all the same regardless of skin color or religion. Did we not just proudly elect a black president with a beautiful first family? Their shame should be publicly displayed, and letters of apologies sent to these children and their families. Thank you CNN for putting this in the news.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  211. Jeff Huddleston

    Wow! What cruelty! I just don’t understand how you treat people like that! I was angry when I saw this storey. I’m glad my child wasn’t involved, because I would have made life untenable for that swim club. When I finished with that club they would have to close down. That being said, the club shouldn’t take money from groups for use of the pool if they don’t know the composition of the group. I’m sure that the daycare didn’t hide the fact that most of the children they serve were minorities.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  212. J. Williams

    You know when children have to feel the aching pain of not being wanted, it's enough to make Heaven shake! The Valley Club made a decision ( and comments) that were intended to hurt, not considering how deep it would affect the young children. The only way companies/people will learn to behave civilized is to severe their viability. This club should be closed!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  213. Ursula

    One of your commenters stated that he/she did not think it was a racial issue. I beg to differ if it was racial the comment would have been; "what are all these kids doing here?". But when you inject the color of a person's skin into it, it's a racist remark. Plain and simple

    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  214. Randy

    What has happened here is simply deplorable and takes us back to the early 60's and before and is very sad to see that this type of outright discrimination is still happening and is allowed to happen.

    We have Federal civil rights laws to protect all citizens irregardless of race and it seems very apparent that these laws have been seriously broken and need to be investigated by Federal officials.

    As a 55 year old white man, to me there is no difference between white, black or any other race of people....we are all the same. This takes us so far back to even think that this kind of thing still happens and is very sad.

    You couldn't sit at the front of the bus, you couldn't sit at the lunch counter, you couldn't use public restrooms and now, you can't swim with everyone else. The executive director of this organization should be summarily fired as should the board of me, I don't want them to be on my bus, lunch counter or restroom because people like this are not the kind of people I would even want to know. I would however be happy to share those things with black people and these people are very decent whereas the people that rule the club are not.

    I would recommend that legal action be considered and hopfully the Federal system will take care of that.

    Shame on them, they are embarrassing!


    July 10, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  215. Emily Gibson

    This is truely the truth of our country! We have come a long way, but their are still those who believe in living in the past. They will have to answer to the maker for thier judgements. The worst part is that they are talking about children. My heart goes out to the children and their families, my only request is don't return their ignorance, instead, stand up with your head held high. They don't realize our children will be governing us one day. As far as the Administrator's comment , he has to dispute the allegations because he has been put on the national hot seat! Kudos to the one that made this public!!!! As far as "changing the atmosphere and complexion". What is the atmosphere supposed to be? Stuffy, Boring, Quiet, Calm, yeah right its a pool. And the complexion, I bet when he sits out in the sun too long he turns red and then turns brown. D**n he's not white anymore! Just a very light shade of black. Read your Bible cover to cover and tell me what it says the color Jesus skin was. It wasn't white ! He had skin of bronze, which is a rich deep brown! Go figure! All you biggotted, racist, ignorant, lost people who feel you are better because of the color of your skin. Remember you have to face the Lord and see if he doesn't judge you!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  216. Carole

    What I'm hearing in these reports is that a child overheard a personal opinion said by an individual member. Individuals are entitled to their own opinions,whether they are simply questioning, positive, hurtful or uninformed. In addition – ALL invited groups had their invitations revoked and refunded, so irregardless of personal opinions expressed by an individual member, it doesn't appear to be discrimination. It sounds like the two events happened at the same time and a parent took the ball and ran with it. (And that's not to say I would want to be a member of a private swimming club. Anyone who understands history knows exactly why private swim clubs came into existence in 1954 – our state (Virginia) is full of them). But no one of any color can demand that another person be enlightened and free of prejudice, one can only choose who they associate with. The parents would have been better served to explain that to their children. While drawing attention to the club through negative publicity, I doubt they have changed the minds of a single member of the club. Those who were racist will now have reinforcement for that opinon, and those who weren't – well, they probably know exactly who had the backwards attitude to begin with.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |


    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  218. Henry Finnegan

    Simply put, satements like this shows that individuals ideals and views. I would take them just the way that child did. I believe that the whole club should take a good look at themselves, and realise thier "Complexion" needs changing. It's disheartening that these views are still around.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  219. Ron Buff

    I have CNN on all day in my office and there is nothing that I have to do today more important than show our outrage over the swim club issue. We are a white family in Michigan living in a mostly white upperclass area and would welcome the club to our house to run through our sprinklers!!

    Shame on The Valley Club

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  220. Erik

    To determine if this is a racial incident I would look at the ethnicity of the current membership. What percentage is minority? I know that at one point in time, in order to keep minorities away, "priviate clubs" were formed in order to justify discrimination. This is a "private club", right? Also, if the group had a signed contract and paid their money, the club broke the contract and could face legal issues.

    While I hate this happened and believe the group needs some form of justice, I would not want the group to return to this club. First impressions are lasting impressions. Not to mention the fact that we are supposed to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I guess I'm just nieve.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  221. Deborah

    I don't think there was any racism going on. I believe that the pool was full and had to turn those children away as they had to other children. I believe that the black adults are using racism to their advantage because they didn't get there way. That is what some, not all black people do,(use there color to there advantage to try and get there way). After all, we do have an african american president!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  222. rgaines

    It is most naive, even in 2009, and even after the election of a black president if it is thought that racism is dead. It is more alive and well than ever.

    By virtue that the question of whether racism occurred or ot while these children was visiting this club and subsequently asked to leave is racist. There money should be refunded and they should be allowed to have their outing, as well as given a deserved apology. The head of the club should resign, obviously he/she is incompetent in receiving the contract and money, and once these children show up, the capacity becomes an issue. The adults making these remarks for children to overhear just let me know that in 2009 they themselves need to be more socialized, because they obviously think they are superior to the blacks that came to the club. They should be ashamed of themseves.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  223. Kim from Georgia

    All I can say about this comment and so many others that have targeted African Americans is that every time it happens, it causes a real pain that cannot be explained; every derogatory comment brings out questions of self worth and a desire to be accepted. The reason the little 12-yr old black boy was crying is because here is yet another attack on who he is; he is being told that he is less than his white counterparts. I am, and surely all African Americans are, hurt because we live in, work in, and die for a country that seems to hate us. Time and time again, these comments are "explained away" with no real apology or acknowledgement of a wrong. As blacks we are expected to just "man up" and take it as just a part of life. This lump in my throat says otherwise. I pray for a change in attitudes on race and acceptance.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  224. Louis Glapion III

    Honestly I'm not surprise by what happened nor shocked. I'm simple sadden by those that claimed that they are surprised and shocked. Problems like this don't simple disappear or go away by burying your head in the sand or closing your eyes to the ugliness that surrounds you. Sooner or later you have to open your eyes and deal with what's starring you in the face.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  225. Nicole

    I love you guys, but I think CNN is being way quick to pull the "racist" card here. If racial slurs were thrown around, WHO said the comments? Were the parents racist or the pool officials? And when it comes to children and the color of skin, is number one priority. Maybe some more time needs to go to see if the pool was overcrowded (go to the tapes!) I understand controversy is your livlihood, but so is fairness.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  226. Darren Lee

    If this was not racially movtivated, then why did they have to use the word "black" to describe the kids. Why couldn't they have just said "why are these kids here". It's sad to say but I think it's obvious racism is alive in America.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  227. Barry Soetoro

    This may come as a surprise to Liberals, but this is where the rubber of race relations meets the road of reality,so to speak. Were I a paying member(Exclusive clubs aren't cheap)I would have also been outraged at the"invasion" of the pool by a bunch of children,non members I add, regardless of color! The members of the club have every right to question why they were not told of the clubs decision to seek revenue from a youth organization! I am sure the club recieved(or was going to)tax benefits for allowing a non member charity youth organization in the club at reduced fees. This premature decision making will lose members either way;be it perception of racism,or the fact that members were not involved in the decision making process! Furthermore the story,skewed as it might be by msm such as yourself for the percieved racial aspect, is told truthfully anyway. The children were unsupervised by youth camp personnel; basically dumped at the pool! The counselor/s were outside unaware of the unfolding situation up in hte pool house, so we know that the children had only the supervision of two lifeguards. Anyone who has ever lifeguasrded before knows that is not enough safe supervision for 60 kids in a pool environment. I have grown up around black people my entire life here on the East side of Houston, Texas. Beleive me when I say I am not racist(you wouldn't live long around her if you were). Those children got caught up in the excitement of being at the pool in new surroundings. They probably saw the shock on the members faces and hammed it up a little too much. I also beleive the children were coached to say they heard racist coimments as this seems to be the chosen tool of the black race when things don't go their way. Since counselors were not supervising the children as they were supposed to they cannot honestly say there was any racist commenyts made .

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  228. Michelle A

    I feel the most sorry for the adults who made that racist comment. I have never been discrimnated agaist to my face but i know it can be done because of my race. African american children can be a handful dont get that wrong but to deny the entire group because of the color of thier skin is ridiculous. They must have thought that the pool would be contaminated. I want all people to know If you believe in jesus christ. It doesn't matter what color you are because he made us that way to teach us to genuiely care about one another no matter what the color of your skin is.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  229. Shane

    Armstrong and the rest of you actually belive those kids just made all that up? The kid who was crying was just hamming for the camera . Is that what your saying?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  230. Seth

    DISGUSTING! I'm shocked and shamed to see adults behave like this in front of children. What kind of examples are they setting for their own children?

    When a director genuinely tries to investigate and make this right, he's been asked to step down. This reaction is very suspicious! Just because you pay for membership doesn't mean you can discriminate. SHAME!

    Someone needs to investigate this and find what really happened. Children don't lie, especially when there's tears racing down their cheeks. Heartbreaking!

    Thanks for covering the story Heidi!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  231. hsyoo

    I don't understand why people are surprised that racism is still around in 2009. It will always be here. There are definitely people genuinely more tolerant of diversity, there have always been those kinds of people. As for the others, I think more are suppressing their feelings, then truly accepting differences. Will we get better, perhaps, but will we eliminate bigotry, I don't think so. Was it racism at that pool, of course.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  232. Alonzo

    For the folks that are making the claim that this is not a story of racism, it makes me laugh. There are actually people talking about 2 other camps being rejected and that this is not a situation of racism.
    When you have club members refer to these young kids as being "those black kids", "I am scared that those black kids will hurt my kids or steal from my kids" and a club manager talking about concerns about changing the "complexion of the club", the only thing left out for this case to be any clearer is for the use of racial slurs. I have also read a comment stating that these kids were probably going to be loud and unruly since they were from the inner city. I have news for such folks, you have just as many rude and unruly white children from the suburbs. Kids are kids and bad parents exist in all races. There was even one person whose comments were read on CNN talking stating that since racial profiling is used by law enforcement, it is acceptable in this case. Racial profiling is not acceptable for law enforcement and it certainly is not acceptable to be used on kids. For goodness sakes, these are young children. They had a 12 year old child crying. Would you want this for your kids? Judged based on their skin color.

    This is the same type of cases of racial denial that exists at the work place. As to the comments that the club was a private organization, they took payment from the folks bringing these kids over and made a decision based purely on race. They took payment from the club in advance, so they knew how much space they would have, so that is a cover story. Whether it is a legal case since it is a small claims amount ($1,900), it is still a despicable case. I am glad Senator Specter put those folks on notice.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  233. Elizabeth Drew

    The swim club had no problem accepting payment for the kids' group to use the pool. The ejection should be of the ADULTS who made obnoxious, racist remarks about these CHtILDREN Would they like for their children to be embarrassed and humiliated?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  234. Erica

    The clip of that little boy convinced me that racism was the reason behind it. He looked absolutely heartbroken, I felt furious! It is so disgusting that anyone- especially a child- was treated that way. As a woman in a interracial relationship- and one day a mother of interracial children- I constantly see how blind people are to the persistence of racism running rampant in this country! That is the most frustrating part, that the myth of defeating discrimination leads to mass ignorance and belittling of those who are victims of it.

    I was fired from a job at a internationally known food chain as a cook because they thought my black boyfriend and his friend looked like drug dealers when he would pick me up! He attends church 3 times a week and has no record- juvenile or adult. While my white boss was a pot smoking drop out with 8 piercings!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  235. DL

    Huntindon Valley, Pa is 92.6% white. This 'club' accepted payment and terms for a daycare to use the pool every Monday afternoon thru the summer. On their first visit, after 60 black and hispanic kids 'invaded' the pool, the white patrons pulled their kids from the pool and complained. Two days later the 'club' sent a refund and a note telling them they are no longer welcome with no further explaination. Racism or uppity richie-rich white people just being mean? You decide. Payment was made and accepted=CONTRACT!!!
    Furthermore, how does "changing the atmosphere" void the contract?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  236. Chip

    The excuses given by the club president were just examples of the "new" way people express their racism. He's a coward for not standing up to the members who said those shameful things in front of the children. He should've resigned and left it in the hands of one of the bigoted members to explain. Racists these days try and justify their bigotry by saying things like "complexion" and "the pool was too full". They can say whatever they want but they're not fooling the majority of people who don't think this way.

    It's appalling that 45 years after the Civil Rights Act was passed we still have idiotic bigots out there. We have seen progress in many areas, such as electing an African-American as our President and an African-American Mayor in Philadelphia, MS, but you still hear about incidents of racism once-in-awhile and it's very sad when you do.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  237. b

    Its amazing that no one pays attention to the fact that two groups of non minority kids were also turned away. Why did the media focus on the one group of minority children for the entire story, and then at the end mention that two non minority groups were also turned away? It seems that the media wants to make normal, everyday disputes into race issues for their own agendas. If we really want to move on from racism in this country, then we need to focus on actual race issues, and stop making every disputes involving a minority a race issue. Its become a crutch for those incapable of owning up to their own mistakes and problems.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  238. Disappointed

    If their rebattle was that the pool was too crowded, wouldn't it have made sense to ask the day camp officials came up with a solution like setting up a schedule where some kids came on Mon others on Wed and others on Fri or even just getting into the pool in groups of what....10? easing the issue of congestion....rather than breaching the contract and then renegging? I think the idea that they decided to use that as an excuse was a strategy to divert the real issue....notwithstanding the loose comment by a club official....may the chips fall where they may?

    As a person of color in the education system, I see this everyday in its most subtle form. But these kids should never have been introduced to this garbage...and these folks didn't even try to keep it subtle. On occasion, I hear claims that these issues happened centuries ago and that current generations should not be subjected to taking responsibilty/the brunt of those injustices, but here it is, in 2009 and a child...our future had to be the one to get the brunt of it.
    So one wonders, what kind of ideas are the children of these "superior" people, being raised with? Makes you wonder if we shall EVER move ahead because these kids are the future and have already been scarred.

    One also wonders, do these "superior" people hold prominent positions where decisions are in their hands? Would they refuse to accept the job application or offer a qualified person of colour a job for fear that "they will be too many"...we would never know because all they need to say is something like....unfortunately at this time we cannot extend the offer....the person of colour on the other hand has no idea if that other person who got the job was actually more qualified than them. So, is it wise to get rid of affirmative actions when our own kids are facing certain issues at such a tender age?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  239. Dr. Freedom

    These people of the club are two faced cowards. The people and children that were there no the spirit in which the comments were made. I believe that some of the qouted statements that were made clearly exhibit what the intentions of these club members were.

    "Why are these black children here?" Not, why are these children here. Perhaps the club members that believe and have those feelings will feel even more comforted to know that they share the same mean spirited ignorance of groups such as Neo Nazis and Skin Heads, And just because these club members may on an average possess more education than their neo nazi and skin head brother and sisters, and the club members may even dress better...I would like to remind them that all that glitters does not shine.

    I hope that the individuals who took part in the comments and the turning away of the children shall meet with their just Karma. Furthermore, may God exact the justice that they all deserve.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  240. Wayne

    This is an outright travesty. This just proves that race relations in America still have not changed. Racism in America is alive and it hinders the overall growth of a nation. This us against them attitude is tearing apart the very fabric of the so called "Melting Pot",and seems to have deeper underlying issues. Race in America has always come down to black and white. There has not been any other minority group that has been so highly scrutinized than that of African American /black people. No other race has to be identified by their origins first then the word American last. No European American,Korean American etc. etc. I say let those kids swim they paid, they did not misbehave, and they should be allowed the same freedoms and respect that others who seem to think they have entitlement to have,when it comes down to it hate and ignorance fuels all racism. We need to try love and understanding tolerance and open mindedness.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  241. Darion

    This is racism no matter how you look at or try to spin it. These blacks kids were not welcome there because of the color of their skin. The club claims to have rejected others as well, but if you want to know if it is racism read the director comments. This is what I call hided racism by rejecting others as well so you can claim that the blacks were not the only one who was rejected. The others (not the black/hispanics) are welcome back behind close doors or when the media stop reporting on the story. Wake up America.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  242. Suzie

    I just saw the interview from one of the children who were apparently banned from this swim club. It broke my heart that a child had to endure feeling downlooked and even kept from enjoying what any other child in this world is entitled to. Children are the most innocent beings on this earth and should never be subjected to this infamous and bigoted treatment. They know not of color, race, or ethnic background. They are simply who they are...children. It is extremely disappointing that some citizens of our 21st century society have not learned that we are all created equal and in God's image which is superlative to any idea or law made by man. And although some people's views of others may never change, there are so many other places and things to do that youngsters can enjoy while on summer vacation. In any case the children who were banned should be reimbursed for a breach of contract from this Club.

    San Antonio, TX

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  243. Notsurprised

    This situation should remind those of you that say racism has been overcome in America that, that notion is nothing but wishful thinking. What’s must disturbing about this story is that the children (the minorities and non-minorities) had adults imposing their own bigoted and racist beliefs upon the children. What kind of a person makes little kids cry; just to feed they're racist fears?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  244. Keith Richardson (Germany)

    I am an "African-American" who was born and raised in Philadelphia. I am saddened to say I am not shocked by this story.

    I want to give the swim club the benefit of the doubt, but how can anyone deny what those children heard said about them?

    How can anyone deny the now former club president's remarks to the Philadelphia media?

    Seeing the young boy crying as he recalled what was said of he and his friends brought me to tears. I had more than a few situations like that growing up in that area myself.

    However, I also found "White" people who accepted me for who I am and never seemed to see color.

    I understand this story could have happened anywhere not just in the USA but anywhere in the world.

    And that, my friends, is the saddest thing.

    BTW, some might wonder why I have "African-American" and "White" in quotations when referring to races.

    It is because I wish I did not have to be identified by my race and I try not to identify others by race.

    When people ask "what are you?", my proud response is AMERICAN.

    I long for the day when everyone from our country are just "Americans" and we don't identify fellow Americans by the color of their skin or their economic situation.

    Keith M. Richardson
    Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  245. kmb

    Last night the news had one or two people complaining and this morning it was full blown national coverage.
    I also find it hard to believe that "Marcus" around 8-10 years old knows what appalled and tolerated mean and how to use these words without being COACHED!
    I see IPODS in the camps future........

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  246. Leslie Anang

    Heidi, to hear the lil boy talk like that wth tears in is eyes is so heart breaking. You don't use words like "WHAT ARE THESE BLACK KIDS DOING IN THE POOL" and try to tell the world the pool was over crowded. That's a bunch of BULL. I cannot believe we in 2009 and people are still thinking like this. This is a shameful act and whoever is in charge and whoever said that should be fired.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  247. Jacob

    Three youth groups were cut.

    My questions are:

    Had the club cut three white youth groups in order to keep the black youth group, wouldn't that be racist? Or is it okay to cut the white youth groups so that the black youth groups could stay? Would the reaction had been the same had the club cut three white youth groups and white parents screamed racism? Is it okay to cut back youth groups as long as none of them are minorities, even at a rate of 2 to 1?

    July 10, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  248. Paul

    Definition of racism:the belief or doctrine that one race is superior.
    Definition of Prejudice:an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without thought or reason,regarding a racial ,religious or national group considered collectively.
    Which definition does this situation fall in?The club staff accepted the money from Ms Wright knowing she was black, after the club members reacted, and the staff received negative feedback knowing they may lose money they reacted by denying access.We are focusing on the club, is it not the members who are the ones who were prejudice which forced the clubs hand.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  249. Lovely

    This topic touch my soul specially when I seen the young boy crying. the children shouldn't have to hear things like that.
    I can't believe adults can talk about children in their surrounding. If that was black adults talking about their children they would call them out on the situation and then call the poilce. God made all of us the same the only difference is the color of the skin. If you bleed will you bleed black or white? The anwers is red for all human being.
    We are here to make a better place for all children. I hope that the children can recover from this. I know this can have an effect on the children. Keep your head up Creative Steps Day Care. Prayers are coming your way.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  250. Laura/Morristown NJ

    As a 46 yr old white mother of two young boys in NJ, I just stood in my kitchen, shaking with tears streaming down my face as I listened to little Marcus talk about what he overheard. This little boy will, unfortunately hear those words in his head his entire life. Hopefully it will not bring him down, but make him stronger, kinder and more determined to succeed. That this can still happen in 2009 America is just beyond my comprehension. The club should make a very public apology to these kids. The bonehead who was in charge of coordinating this and took the deposits should be fired -stat. Seems to me there could have been a day set aside & widely publicized for this type of event so that the members would have known there were going to be children (regardless of race) at the pool and could decide whether or not to attend the club on that day. And those members with their cruel and thoughtless words- you know who you are – should look inward at themselves and think "there but for the Grace of God go I (or their children, perhaps?). Their hate will be dealt with by a higher power someday. My heart breaks and I am so ashamed of my race right now!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  251. Im just saying

    Let it go,the opinion of the members sholud not having anything to do with legal action towards the club.The members that made the commetsa should have their memberships taken away.But also everyone in the country needs to stop wearing their feeling on their shoulders,So what if someone made a of colored commmets i hear them everyuday but I dont go getting all upset.This country needs to stop babying the young people of this time.People see thge situation for what it is, not how you think it is or how you feel.Racism will always be around no matter what we do.Do not take my commets as im a racist, im a reallist that is tired of people being upset over every lillte thing that is said or done.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  252. Objective my Bahine

    It seems that a lot of people forgot that the kids group were paying as well. I would think that at least for a day the majority of patrons would win out instead of the "minority" club members who are so selfish they feel the need to lash out against innocent children. The management decided to take the money and allow more people so it is up to them to satisfy the MAJORITY in this case!! I say refunds should have gone the other way around since the children were the majority that day.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  253. donna

    If they cant accomodate the number of children on there facility,then tell the parents about it and schedule another day, instead of saying those terrible things, I think we got enough problem in this world than racism,i think we should not let the kids feel that it seems they dont belong on some certain places.were adult we should serve as example to our kids.and what this facility do is not serving as a example to our youngs.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  254. Vivian


    an earlier post by Gary is proof positve of how intolerance, racist attitudes and behaviors yet persist in America today. the gentleman clearly is making excuses for bad behavior. It is sad, I mean really sad that we as a nation have not learned to look beyond race, class and income and just see the human race to which we all belong. As a teacher, my greatest joy is to look out at the faces of all the children I teach on a daily basis and simply see CHILDREN. Not white children, not black children, not hispanic children...merely CHILDREN. There are times when trying to break down the barriers of race, color, creed and ethnicity seem overwhelming but yet I strive and will continue to strive to have my students see themselves as members of the human family. I reiterate, what happened at the Valley Club, the tears of children hurt by racism and intolerance should in no way be taken lightly and this SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN NOR BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  255. annette

    it is really ashame that our kids have to hear white "adults" talk like this specially in 2009. If the club president or members were worried about their pool being too crowded, why did they accepted the money. If the comment simply said " why all these black kids doing in the pool" is not racist, I dont know what is** I love this country sooo much but when I hear comments like this, it just makes me sick to my stomach.


    July 10, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  256. sharon

    Good morning to you at cnn.....well my comment about the kid's who was turned away because of the color of their skin.. It is a shame that adult's like that would have a mind set of such this is 2009 what kind of world do they live in????? how would they feel if it was done to their childeren???? (I know) They would go through great lenghts too talk about it not only that they would want to SUE for money one day it will come back to all of them..... what goes around comes around so get ready for it to, The adult's that made such statement's wooo unto the god the worship......Keep in mind now i bet thoses same adult's lay out in the sun everyday to catch a tan why do they do that??? simply because the like the color of brown thats the color they turn from tanning is brown people come in all different color's to include brown so if black people's color is what they dont like stop trying to change their own color.... And this message comes from a white woman have a great day

    July 10, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  257. RT

    This so called swim clubs actions, border on the line of hate groups. What is so sad is that the children of the parent's that made those comments will grow up just like them. Fighting bigotry starts at home. Parent’s need to raise their children to love others, then racial tensions and actions will disappear. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. We might love our neighbor but despise their actions.
    This swim club needs to be shut down because of their actions. Filing an injunction first and then finding out exactly who made these decisions and fire him/her or them. I would file petitions with the intent to sue for breaching the contract. I would do whatever I could to shut down that so called club. Please tell that little boy that there are good white people.



    July 10, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  258. Disappointed

    PS: Can Soledad O'Brien incorporate this issue as a means of dialogue in her show "Black in America" because these ARE some of the issues...and people wonder why some African American men grow up to be angry and some even become very intimidating

    July 10, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  259. T Easterling

    I was outrage that grown people would have no moral and subject children to comments that are racist and curel. As an African American it saddens me that some people in this country are still so small minded. I wished that everyone understand that we need each other to survive. I imagine that the number of enrolling members were listed in that contract. The club is trying to find a way to keep from being sued. The club needs to make a public apology.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  260. M.R.

    I am really shocked at some of the comments I've read in this blog. Patrick, for instance, tries to say CNN is dramatizing this story and saying it wasn't due to racism, yet in the same breath he talks about the story of the white family in Akron being attacked by black males. Patrick – you have issues and seriously need to look within yourself to determine how you can change your racist mind – oh wait – you aren't racist are you??? An entire race cannot be blamed for the ignorance of a few, if that were the case then we as whites would be hated by all other races in the world. Mike believes that just because it's private that people can treat other people (and in this case little children) like trash – Mike perhaps you treat people this way – but just because a facility is private does not give them the right to treat these children with no respect and with such flagrant disgust. And, finally, Carmen Lee, first of all this private club apparently is opening their doors to these "contracts" to bring in more money. They knew how many children would be coming so for what you believe to be a disruption would be these children being black or hispanic??? First off, judging from what I saw on the interviews, they were very articulate and intelligent for such a young age, and had they not been black then the other parents would not have pulled their children out of the pool and complained about it. Children love a lot of kids in the pool – the more kids the more fun. If there weren't enough lifeguards to watch that many children – they should not have accepted their check for their use of the pool. Simply put – some of the parents were just ignorant when they saw these other children and made a stink out of it and the management got nervous because this is where their money comes from. Anyone who thinks there was not racism involved – is clearly a racist themselves or the most naive person I've ever heard of. It's sad that they try and come up with any excuse possible to turn this outward display of racism into an acceptable action by trying to cloak it as too many children – get a clue – management knew how many children would be coming and I'm sure they've had that many children in the past – the only difference – whites!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  261. RusRus

    This is sick, and if the private club really feels sorry, perhaps it is time to give their more ignorant members the boot. People need to wake up to the fact that, its not skin color or nationality that determines character, and those making racist comments better wake up to a new world of equality, or get off our planet.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  262. Lola

    Although my heart goes out to these children and their families for the situation as it appears, I cannot help but disagree that this was an act of racism. If there were club members present at the time of the camp's outing, then I believe that the area was over crowded. 65 campers is a lot for a pool, and when mixing campers with club members, this number only increases. If I were a club member and a group of children overtook the pool that I paid money to attend, I would be annoyed as well. I am not denying that there are still racist Americans, but I do not believe this was an act of racism, especially if there were other camps/organizations that were denied return to the pool.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  263. Joshua Jerome Graves

    This is racism because this was a majority of African-American and Hispanic children. It was not a White Child any where in the camp. I am against the statement that the director gave that the pool was just too crowded, and the children change the complexion of the pool. If the white people was use to white people swimming there, it is still wrong because this means that they just want white people there, and they try to move in the surburbs where there are a higher percentage of white people living. Finally, the children should not have been denied privleges to the pool. Instead they should have been given a choice to rent the pool out for one day or a hour. Truly, the swimming director does not care for African-American business. This tells me that if he does not care about keeping African-Americans and Hispanics business then he does not care about them as customers. Now some are saying that this is not racism, and think this is racism. Then it is surely poor customer service.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  264. K B

    Hello, Heidi

    How many blacks were part of this swim club beforehand? Yes, the comments made were racist! Blacks know a racist comment when they hear it! How would it sound if, a white child(ren) overheard; their ancestors were cruel, greedy murderers intent on destroying the black race at any costs?

    We live in a country unaccustomed to the acceptance of others who aren't caucasian! Racism is still alive and is rampant everywhere! Escaping this mentality would be naive. Stop denying racism doesn't exist because it does, it has, it's never stopped. It needs to!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  265. Diane Kistler

    Re Elizabeth Cohen's segment today about the patient's allergy consultation charge and her insurance company won't pay.

    I was surprised to see Eliz Cohen recommend a lawyer.......I would have called my state insurance commission and then my state attorney general before getting a lawyer. Insurance companies have to abide by certain state rules in order to operate in that state.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  266. K NOWAK

    RE: Racism & Swim Club.
    I believe, YES, that some "prejudice" has occurred, HOWEVER I can also see how a predominantly Caucasian Swim Club would have that view. I am sure it is predominantly Caucasian for a reason...these folks paid the price for the location they are in, to get away from inner city "disfunction", they paid the price for their clubs & memberships for those very reasons. Being that inner city is predominantly African American & Hispanic, well we would assume that this location would have mostly Caucasian, etc...
    So, knowing this...I would see that the reaction is to be expected. I do not see that racism is is used wrongly against all color & walks of life.
    Again I see that these original Swim Club members view on the situation, however it should not have been handled with disrespectful comments...EVERY INDIVIDUAL DESERVES AT LEAST "ONE" CHANCE IN LIFE...NO MATTER THEIR WALK OF LIFE.

    If you took the perspective from the flip side...would a predominantly Caucasian Day Care/School pay to have their children taken to a predominantly African American & Hispanic Swimming pool? I do not believe so...per my own experience. If it were to happen I am certain the same thing would happen from the opposite ethnicity. I watched it happen just 2 days ago at our city pool, predominantly used by African American folks, once the pool closed & the gaurd left at 6PM...the gang banger African American Children & Teens stood around in gangs of 60+, intimidating the Minority, shooting firecrackers, etc... while the Minority (predominantly Caucasian) were waiting to get in to the Swim Club hours for Swim lessons. Officers had to come run the gangs of ruthless children off.
    Now if I had the money to pay for a Swim Club so this didn't happen, I WOULD! To protect my CHILDREN from seeing this ruthless behavior that seems to predominantly act out within the African American & Hispanic ethnicity, in our location.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  267. J

    The employee should be fired. A formal apology should be made to the children and family. And the club that denied them passage should be required to pay for all the children's college tuition as restitution.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  268. Mark

    Due to the fact that the water that is use in the pool is from the public water system, the pool should be shut down for any and all use till the policy is in place not to exclude any person or people based on race, sex , religion or national origin. This club should be liable for emotional distress and breaking a contract by which United States currency was taken to bind agreement. When this club has displayed it action to take United States currency to make money, it can be shown that is should not be able to keep its private status and exclude the plublic.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  269. Cami

    Yes this was a racist act and the persons that made the remarks are racist.
    Simply stated, they are ignorant and anyone that attempts to sugar coat this disgraceful incident is in pure denial.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  270. Karen Caruso

    I would prefer that the President of the club be fired as opposed to having the dignity to resign. There was no dignity afforded the kids that were treated so abysmally. All kids should be re-instated and make the entire season for both sides a learning experience to get along and make it an annual invitation to help advance this new understanding. The 12-year old on TV that had tears will remember this for the rest of his life. What a shame! It could be turned into a positive experience for all if an attenpt to resolve this takes place.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  271. Rob Wiebell

    What I've been hearing broadcast this morning is the uproar
    over the implied discrimination against the kids at a private swim club. Having been a member of a private swim club , I would have been upset that any group of people who didn't have a membership were allowed to visit the pool. The gentleman interviewed who asked for the managers resignation was probably because the manager deviated from the membership rules. Ay my club, the only non members allowed in our pool were members of a swim or diving team from another private club. Just like country clubs, you need to be a member to play a round unless you are invited by a member.
    Maybe someone did ask where all the "black" kids came from but it may have not been a racially disparaging comment.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  272. Tracy G.

    I feel sorry for ALL of the children affected by the stupidity of this private club. The club management should have known that inviting large groups to use their facilities would create a larger crowd and that it would cause a problem. This has to do with race in regards to the comments made by the president of the club and as well as poor planning. If you know how many people might be coming and you don't adequately have the room or staff to accomodate them, then you politely tell them that they can't come due to club inadequacies. Don't make pigheaded comments after the fact once you have realized that your elite club can't handle the extra people. All I see is a greedy club president wanting to make an extra buck and now his plan has backfired. Shame on the club president for his comments and shame on the members who made these complaints against innocent youth who were looking to spend a summer day having fun. Don't deny America's youth their fun!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  273. margarette

    now we know why mj a perfectionist wanted to look different.
    black is <to white.who will not go for that if you are a true perfectionist born and raised in america where black had been beat up, portrayed as the lowest especimen on earth.i love america but iam still happy i was not raised here where people thank if you are black you have no class.i am from the poorest country of the hemisphere take a trip to the schools private , public,lower class,upper class.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  274. K NOWAK

    RE: Renee Merritt
    "When in Rome do as the Romans."

    July 10, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  275. Me in NC

    So the woman who was overheard by the child saying something like, "what are all of these black kids doing here" and " I'm afraid they may hurt my children" was the ONLY white person who thinks and more importantly believes such things?? You, white america, are in denial. She and the misguided president [of the club] were just stupid enough to be overheard. They are but a small cohort of what a lot, not ALL, caucasians. It's important b/c that woman may be my child's teacher or doctor. The man could be a police officer. Get the thread I'm going down. I agree that disruption and overcrowding were valid reasons to break the contract, but "complexion" has NO PLACE.

    P.S. Children are loud when enough of them are together, regardless of the amount of melanin in their skin.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  276. RusRus

    For those who think "private clubs" are hideaways from regular people, lets abolish "private clubs". Make all places accesible to everybody period, and those who don't like it, can buy their own pool with the membership money they save, by not having to pay "membership fees", which are just smoke screens to keep poor people from these places.

    It doesn't matter how they phrase it, exclusion is wrong based on any standard, be it skin color or socio economic status.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  277. Moon

    Although I am white.. things like this turn my stomach.
    I wonder.. on an earlier report I heard that other children were turned away as well. Is this true? If so what race were they? I feel this is an important detail.

    Either way.. I hope that little boy learns that not all people are as ignorant as those he came in contact with.

    If this club discriminated against them.. I hope the surrounding community does the right thing.. and boycotts this place.

    Hatred can not be tolerated.. especially towards our children. Shame of those involved!!

    July 10, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  278. Cooper

    why is it always about "us blacks" and "those whites", this isnt about black people being oppressed (yeah i know strong word) by white people. If these allegations are true, this is about bad people being jerks to kids for the wrong reasons. Things will never change if all you do is try to divide people.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  279. Sgt. Jimenez U.S.M.C.

    I hope the hurt these children feel will eventually go away. I served my country and wore the uniform proudly. But when me and my fellow Marine which was afro-american stoped in flagstaff arizona in uniform to eat and was turned away from a Resturant Bobs Big Boy in 1977. It hurt me then and it hurts me now to see it still exist. We were told the resturant was full and they were short staff. We waited and hour and they were sitting white customers ahead of us. The manager told us we could only get a to go order. We just left. I was proud to be a Marine but at that moment I wondered why was I serving this country.

    They can say what they will to fix why they did what thay did at that pool but those who have been in those kids shoes know why they did it. I wouldn't be surprised if they put up a sign "We reserve the right to serve or not to serve in this establishment" Oh! that's what the Manager of Bob's told us before we left.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  280. Karen W

    The Valley Swim Club had little hesitation in accepting fees from this daycare center, as well as two other groups, for the privilege of swimming in their pool. Were they truly unaware of the number of children involved? If so, then I would seriously question the ability of this club's director to competently manage its facilities. Admitting groups with large numbers of children require an appropriate number of lifeguards and supervising personnel. If the Valley Swim Club so desperately needed money in these hard economic times, then it would have been possible for them to set aside a day specifically for larger groups to enjoy their facility without disrupting the "complexion and atmosphere" of the club.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  281. Randy Greene - Monroe, LA

    I am a 56 yr old white southerner and have seen a lot of ugly racism in my time. I recognize it when I see or hear it. I can assure you that this was all about racism!
    Watching the clip from your report of the little boy tearing up while describing his feelings over the incident says it all.
    Rather than offering explanation and excuses for their action, this club needs to welcome this group of kids back to their club and get rid of some leadership and members for their despicable actions!!

    July 10, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  282. Jacqueline Clayton

    I was just saddened to see little Marcus crying and not understanding
    The ongoing bigotry that still exists after many many years of
    Trying to resolve this issue...I was raised in the sixties and was an
    Activist with many others, and have been happy to see wonderful
    Growth in the area of gender, race, and diversity...
    To see this story is incredibly disappointing, because we've come
    So far as a nation, and now it seems as if we're back at Square one
    Once again! Listen up people...Separation is the Greatest Sin!
    We need to Teach our children LOVE and ACCEPTANCE!!!
    God Loves ALL his children...

    July 10, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  283. Jutta

    I assume this camp required payment
    and once payment for use had been received and thereby accepted,
    then there is no reason to refuse anybody.
    If the pool was overcrowded at the time, then the club must have handed out too many tickets and it's their fault.
    One way to resolve the problem:
    They could request to allow only as many swimmers into the pool as possible or allowed at a time
    and then turn the pool over to the next group.

    It is appalling to hear anyone make these prejudiced remarks –
    I thought we are on the road to improving humanity!
    Consider the message that was given these poor kids + they will carry this with them for the rest of their lives!

    July 10, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  284. KP

    "pay for all the children’s college tuition as restitution"??? does THAT solve racism? Maybe the club should also buy all the kids a house and give them a job and a new car...

    Everyone wants to jump to racism right it REALLY that rampent? Or is the fire just easliy fueled because everyone wants to play the "racism" card. Don't you think that this blog continues to build that fire? If CNN never reported the story or reported both sides of the story (interveiw someone from all the day cares that were turned away) this would not be as big of story as they made it.

    IF the story woudl have been about a group of kids, mainly white, turned away it would have NEVER made CNN. WHY? Should the club pay college tuition for the white kids that were turned away? If not...why not? How do you think THOSE kids feel after being turned away?

    Keep fueling the "race" fire and it will keep growing...

    July 10, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  285. Jay

    It's somewhat insensitive, but probably not racism. If you're a Scandanavien-German-Irish-Welsh-Cherokee-American (white dude) sitting at the pool where you have maybe seen 60 African-American kids total the entire 3 years you've been a member and all of a sudden 60 African American kids show up at once, is it racist to say "why are all those black kids here?"

    July 10, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  286. Patti Dillaman

    I think this is another prime example of the news media fanning the flames of race in this country. If I had paid for membership in a private swim club and it was invaded by a bunch of kids from day camps – and I don't care color or race – I'd be pretty upset. Why? Because I just paid to be in a private club. I would have gone to a public pool if that's the atmosphere I wanted. If I belonged to an all black swim club and noticed a bunch of white kids in the pool swimming and asked "Why are those white kids in the pool?" would you be showing pictures of adorable white children crying because someone made this racist comment? Or isn't it racist when it's directed to whites? Why aren't you giving fair coverage and interviewing the young people from the other groups that had their contracts rescinded? Hmm. Maybe you'd have to find something newsworthy to report.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  287. RASUN


    July 10, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  288. Jim McNabb

    Dear Heidi,
    Whether the comments that young Marcus Allen and his fellow camper heard were intentional or not the experience that beautiful young boy has had is enough to scar someone for a very long time if not a lifetime. It shattered me to watch his interview and tears. He does not deserve this treatment. I wonder how vigorously the adults who made comments waved their American flags last weekend.
    Until we have "leaders" in this country who are actually willing to lead their constituencies to righteousness I believe all our children will suffer. Each one of us must take a stand and not tolerate intolerance.
    I would like to make a contribution to Creative Steps so they can look for a pool where they are welcomed and share time with a different type of membership than The Valley Club seems to have attracted. Would you please let me know how to send a donation as I couldn't find their address through a search.
    Thank you,

    July 10, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  289. C Wilson

    Growing up in the south as a black male, I have been exposed to racism all of my life. It's difficult enough when you are being followed in shopping malls by security or store employees, questioned by police when you are on the "wrong side of town", or always fitting the description of someone who has committed a crime, but no child should be subjected to any racial remarks or discrimination. Racism can have many adverse affects on a child. It is not o.k. to degrade someone because of the color of their skin. The owners of the pool handled this situation in the wrong way. Racism is still alive, and for anyone to think that we, as a society, are past those days, is sadly mistaken.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  290. Joe

    Recently a friend of mine, who happens to be black, asked me a question regarding CNN's program Black in America 2. He said "Joe what do you make of this?" Ididn't know what to say, I was born in a mixed neighborhood, my nextdoor neighbors were a black family (whom I loved and still do), I asked him what he thought of the program to see where he was going with his question, and he told me he has to wonder if CNN (or whomever is behind this program) is trying to start a race war, by airing Black in America then following up with Black in America 2, rather than giving equal time to another race, like Asian in America, or Hispaninc in America, maybe even Native American in America but no, they choose to focus on blacks as if we are the only ones who have ever had a tough history. Then this morning CNN shows this story about the black and hispanic kids at the swimclub and starts crying "Racism!" again.
    I think my friend may be right, who are you trying to get stirred up here?
    As my friend has stated in the past; "you cant imagine the uproar from some leaders if a program called "the united white college fund" or "white myspace" ". Why does everything have to be tied to one race or another? Why not just have programs that address all humanity? My neighbors are my neighbors and friends, regardless of their ethnicity or skin color. Stop promoting racism CNN! it's all about "ratings" isn't it!? what will get people fired up. You should be ashamed.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  291. prophecy75

    I wonder who will pay for the counseling that these kids will need after having to hear adults speak as if they are a different species because of their skin color.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  292. Karen W

    One more thought... I'm amazed at some of the assumptions being made by those who've submitted comments so far on this news story. If Marcus Allen is representative of the type of child in this group, then I would hardly classify them all as potentially displaying the "boisterous behavior of inner city minorities." Kids are kids, and as a parent who has had her three daughters take swim lessons at local pools, I know full well that the lifeguards take their job seriously. They don't tolerate inappropriate or unsafe behavior and have the authority to restrict such actions. Rules are posted at local pools and strictly enforced.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  293. frankie

    The last card i like to play in the game of life is the RACE CARD. Children of all races have the propensity for unbridled passion for life and are going to be noisy. That unbridled passion can persist,perhaps, until they over hear an adult caucasion complain: "Why are all these Black children here, they might hurt my children and steal my stuff?" Whether the club had a right to admit whomever it pleases, that adult did not handle this situation correctly. How are you going to explain to your self why you would wound a child like that. The little boy was crying for heaven sakes. Did the media make him cry for the sake of drama? I don't think so. Some grown azz man or woman with a heighten sense of superiority said those word so a child can hear. I suppose there are many great crimes committed toward children every day but to wound a child's spirit is the worst crime.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  294. Marianne Cohen

    In my opinion,if you are asking, the people that made those comments about the day camp children coming to the pool are the ones that should have been asked to pack up their towels and leave!
    The director of the program and everyone of those children deserve an apology from those people who commented. Send Rick Sanchez out to speak to them and ask them what they meant by the comments, I would enjoy that. He is great!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |

    Not Surprised. Im a black american male, 30 years old, grew up in the south and have encountered so many racist whites in my lifetime. I've been Hated and treated poorly because of the color of my skin but I will never fix my lips to say "I HATE WHITE PEOPLE" . Nor have I ever treated a non-black person as savagely as whites treat non-whites. My parents taught me better than that. Miseducation and Ignorance are the driving forces behind racism, and I must say that the racists of this country are definitely miseducated and ignorant (no matter how many collegiate degrees they have). I blame racism on their white ancestors and bad parenting. I feel sorry for those that spend so much energy on disliking/hating an entire race because of the color of their skin. You must have a very MISERABLE LIFE. Black Americans have every right to "reverse discriminate" but we dont...why?? Because its not in our nature to be HATEFUL. Throughout History the AFRICANS have never HATED another culture the way racist whites HATE BLACKS. Only whites are born with HATE in their hearts. If they're not born with it, there parents instill it in them. NOT ALL WHITES ARE RACISTS but MOST RACISTS ARE WHITE.

    I am an AFRICAN and so is every other "Black" person on this planet. We should all be addressed as such.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  296. diane

    I live in Philly and have to say that the lady who booked a bus load of black kids to a private swim club in Huntington Valley must live in a bubble. She set those kids up for heartbreak. That's like a bunch of low to middle income kids going to a swim club in Beverly Hills. They would not want you there. Before everybody gets on this racial discrimination bandwagon, how about if a bus load of white kids went to a swimming pool in North Philly you think those people would say come on in have a good time??? They would be telling us to get out of their pool and their neighborhood and go home. It is a shame that these poor kids had to deal with that and it will leave a lasting impression on them but next time the swim club should check out better who they are accepting and the lady who took the kids there should live outside of her bubble. I know it's harsh but it's the truth.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  297. peg

    I was hopeful that racism finally stopped with our election and inauguration – remember the joy and euphoria on inauguration day? Don't see that in Huntington Valley today – just the tears running down that precious boy's face. Next I'm writing to our senators – we will not stop til the club is closed down permanently – thanks Heidi for your follow up – Peg, Warminster, PA.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  298. why have a contract

    if this was a pure race issue, the club would have never accepted their contract in the first place. this is a private club so they do have the ability to refuse the initial contract if they felt that capacity was an issue. Plain and simple, this was poor planning by the swim club because they should have known the amount of kids in question ahead of time.

    This does not excuse the club for the treatment of kids but if they just planned more efficiently, the kids might have not been subject to all this and they could have enjoyed their summer.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  299. Theresa

    It is so hard to believe that the comments made were not intended to be racist to the point it made the children cry. If in fact the club did turn away others, were those individuals called out by having their color and race identified? Or even further, did the club feel threatened because of their presence. Also, in my experience, whenever contracts are involved, the applicant is required to give a head count in advanced as not to exceed capacity. Looking at the size of the pool it sure looks to be accommodating! Even if the lifeguards were not available for a large group, couldn't they just have suggested that the group be broken down to attend at separate times?
    Children are very impressionable, and I am a witness. Once you shed negativity in their life, they become scarred. I am a firm believer that a "A Child lives what he/she learns". So for them to see and hear those things, some may move on, but others will carry it deep in their hearts for years to come.
    For me, I especially pray for this world we live in, because I want to see our children of all races grow up and improve upon the attitudes of ignorant ill-mannered behaviored adults that continue to tarnish our existence instead of learning to live as one. Richest blessings

    July 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  300. Phyllis Ponisciak

    To all the members of the swim club that complained to the board, take a long look in the mirror and see yourselves for what you are: racists. Don't disguise it by saying the pool couldn't accomodate the number of children. You should have known that before you agreed to take their money and allowed them to come. Unfortunately there is a generation of people that have absolutely no desire to associate with people of color and they raise their children to think the same way and racism goes on and on. These were children that you hurt with your cruel, unforgiving racial comments and I know that children can be noisy, and pains at times. All they wanted to do is swim in the pool for 90 minutes one day a week. Was that so much that you had to get on your white pedestals and cause such an uproar? I think not.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  301. gladys koenig

    this is my comment on the children were not allowed. it was defintly a sad thing. but, i belong to a club with a pool, and i have to say that, it is mainly white. and from my experimence that yhe blacks do not listen to the life guards. there is no diving, but they continue to dive anyway., partents do nothing to make them swim by the rules. i have hurd the mothers say, they are picing on there kids because they are black. this is not true. childen under a certain age must wear safty gear, and they do not. for some reason blacks think there are rules for them and rules for others. this my seem like am against blacks, but parents should respect the rules that are posted for everyone, not just whites. I have black friends and i love them as friends, so lets stop this black and white thing and enjoy this summer as one. parents keep watch on your children black or white.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  302. Martin Martinez

    That is truly cold Blooded to deny Minority Children a place to swim.I thought that was eliminated in the 1960's.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  303. Liz

    I noticed that this club was established in 1954. They must have the same Excutives in office. It is a shame that ignorance is alive and well. How could these members allow this type of representation? Christianity and a good education is not a critria .

    The member who commented on the Boards response "that the facility could not accomodate the number of children" seemed sincerly disappointed "his" club have these practices. When the application was submitted and the contract was drawn up, did any one in the office even ask how many children would be attending at one time? The name of the Day Care must have thrown them off. Was persuasive decision when the check cleared the bank?

    Saying "these children would change the atmosphere of the pool" is apparent. I was not aware smiling faces, hearing the laughter of children could be so traumatic to these "Whites". This club definetly needs a change in "their" atmosphere.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  304. Carl Alexander

    Shameful, illegal, immoral, and ignorant. Yes, let the chips fall..., like bricks!

    July 10, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  305. Terry Gerber

    Its a real shame, but racism is world wide. It starts in the home, and has to end in the home. Its not only about black-white, but religion plays a big role in it. Look at the Middle East, Africa,and in Northern Ireland a few years ago, and now going on in China.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  306. Gerald H. Butts

    Private Institutions have a legal right to limit their membership but legally correct is NOT always morally correct. The law sets our society's outer boundaries of morality, we the people the set inter limits of the morality. Society's distain for such behavior should ring loud and clean.
    The membership as a whole should review its charter by means of an ad- hoc committee to assure this type of behavior will never happen again. Also an internal investigation by the committee into the behavior of the person who not only made a poor decision but also made comments which could be considered racist.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  307. Charles Johnson

    My earlier comments stand firm. The comments by Gary and jona are prime examples. If these children were white, there would not be a problem. Gary seems to believe that white children are more discplined than black/hispanic children. I can assure you that is far from the truth. Children are children...period. I think the separatist views of jona are correct, Black America needs to stop complaining and take action. Avoiding or exposing people like Gary and jona will not help, it only fuels their prejudice. And I thought my only problem in 2009 would be international terrorist, hypocritical politicians and crooked capitalist. I can now add "Closet Racist" to the bunch...and you wonder why the president of Brazil said what he said about the problems of this world.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  308. Kim

    Check the accuracy of the comments that were made. I am from the Philadelphia area, and when I watched the local news the night before your coverage, the boy was not so descriptive about the things that were said. I do not remember hearing anything about the word black, or toys possibly being taken. If the young boy exaggerated the comments that were made, this should be brought to light.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  309. Nicole Smith

    I am appalled at your obvious bias in reporting the network's opinion, uh I mean the "news. You all made such a big deal about the kids that were turned away at the swim club, alleging that it was for racial reasons. The people who are members there, probably pay membership fees as well as monthly dues for the privledge of using that facility and then it becomes over run with 60+ kids in a summer camp?? I'd be pissed too!!! Yet again, you failed to report how many (or few) chaperones were there to keep the kids' behavior in check, you failed to report on the conduct of these children, because I can bet you they got rambunctious. And that has NOTHING to do with race, it has EVERYTHING to do with getting over 50 kids together in a pool for some fun. It is the nature of kids (and adults) to test the limits. Also, the kid that you all showed in your interview was OBVIOUSLY coached as to what to say. I nearly threw my shoe at the tv. HOW disgusting to manipulate viewers to "your personal agendas". Secondly, you all reported the SAME DAY on the grave desecrations in Chicago. While apalling and tragic, NO ONE made a big deal about it being a "black cemetary. WHAT??? A black only cemetary??? No other races are buried there? Does anyone see anthing wrong with this picture? It'sok to have a black only cemetary but it is not ok to have a white only pool???? Quite a double standard, don't you think?? And disgusting reporting at best. Why aren't you all making a stink about it being a black only cemetary?? Maybe I will. Maybe I should contact the ACLU and petition to have my skinny white a– buried there. Do you all not realize how grossly distorted and racially biased your reporting is? I think it is fair to say that you all help to incite racism in America. If you made the cemetary owners answer questions as to why blacks only get the honor of being buried on those grounds and how that is racially fair and just, then maybe your organization would actually get the honor and respect it should have, rather than being the sad joke of the journalism broadcasting industry that it is.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  310. Bill Ayers

    They need to go to a public pool, end of discussion. Get over it!

    July 10, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  311. R, Malecki

    I can believe that the comment, " What are those black kids doing here?" could be true, but I don't believe that anything was said about them stealing or hurting anyone's kids. That was emblishment triggered by an adult. A child of that age wouldn't even know to think that way unless he heard it from someone else. It sounded like he was coached by an adult who remembered stereotype comments like that made from long ago. Although if the above comment was truly made it was inappropriate but the rest was over dramatized.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  312. prophecy75

    I bet that the other groups that were denied were after this incident so that the club could try to save face and not be accused of being racist.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  313. Nancy Vignola

    I am from the Philadelphia area, a 47y.o. Latina & an Anti-racism, Anti-oppression seminar facilitator. I have three children fairer in color than I as their father was not Latino but Italian/Irish. The US. still have a long way to go be in real anti-racist soul work.

    Huntington Valley is upper middle class white, and has been for my lifetime. Here are my responses to the above comments. They are not excuses but a different perspective. Only seeing situations from both perspectives will we be beginning anti-racism dialogue. It doesn't happen nearly enough for the well meaning folks who state their surprise at "such racist situatioins still occur in this day & age"

    Members of private clubs also bring their children. The boisterous nature of the children is not a different atmosphere for the patrons. The camp brought a large group of excited children (I believe 60). If 10 usual patrons came with their children (avg of 2) it would not seem as many kids – only 20.

    Why didn't the members go & greet the campers instead of seeming so surprised !! The kids would calm down as they adjusted to the new environment. They are kids who do not have access to a private pool. (This doesn't mean they are less fortunate). The excitednesss of children who do not take such extras for granted are accused of being minorities without manners.

    The camp had a Northeast Philadelphia address which is predominantly white with small percentages of Asian, Indian, & to a lesser extent Latino populations again not expected to be a camp with mostly people of color. The $2000 deposit was easily accepted previous to the children being seen in person! The three camps were now refunded their monies only to appear as non-discriminatory to the one group.

    This is also not the first year that the country club hosted summer campers from Philly to all of a sudden misjudge the space available. One club patron on the Philly news station mentioned yesterday that he had a an issue with the children being in the pool during prime time when he & his family went to the pool. Again hide the undesirables and make them seem less conspicuous and "I won't have a problem with it" is what he said.

    My heart was touched by the young boy who so well put his feelings into words. I too can recall those feelings from my childhood.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  314. Parthenia

    The incident in Philadelphia at the swimming pool was indeed bigotry trying to raise its ugly head. There are those who would love to live in the past in racial discrimination. There is no place for it today. It will not be tolerated in the 21st century. It's time to move on with the change that recognizes every citizen of the USA a human being with the same rights and privileges.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  315. Charles Johnson

    Nicole, I am quite sure that if whites, hispanics, asians or indians chose to bury their loved ones at the cemetary, they would not be turned away or ridiculed. The incident with the pool is that (1) there were no exclusions for children of any volume and (2) the children were being racially negated. Whites are generally accepted into all arenas where minorities venture, but there seems to be a problem with whites accepting any minorities that are not of the lighter persuasion.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  316. Ron Mitchell

    I posted earlier – but after having read several posts since, it has to make me wonder the following question: Are we (those that are bona-fide US Citizens – either by birth or naturalizaion) Americans or are we Mexicans, Asians, Africans, Irish, etc...I think you, the reader, get the point.
    I growing up, I have always looked at the other person as being a humanbeing and have never understood the concept of tagging the title of "American" with a pre-fix of whatever race one may have descended from.

    I maybe white, but I am an American FIRST AND FOREMOST! Yes I know my roots, but calling myself English-American sounds just plain dumb – food for thought!
    Ron Mitchell
    Phoenix, AZ

    July 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  317. michael armstrong sr.

    people are trying there best to make this a racial issue from whats been said the day care giver wasnt supervising the kids on the pool rules and the person who booked the event was an idiot people needs to quit crying racism every time they here the word black the fact is mistakes were made by both party's .

    July 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  318. RT

    Dear Tony,
    Please tell Marcus that we send our prayers and let him know that those people that hurt his feelings are spiritually bankrupt.

    We love you Marcus.

    RT ACU Texas

    July 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  319. maribeth Solverson

    Dear Heidi,
    It breaks my heart to see Marcus' tears flow down his face as a result of the Swim Club's denying him and his friends access to their swim program. Their racism denials should fall upon deaf ears...unlike those of the children they victimized.

    The "complextion" of that Club certainly needs a change to one of inclusion and respect for all children. The President/CEO needs to lose his job and offer an apology to the children and their parents...then he needs to re-visit his Faith and our Constitution to see what is said about all men being created equal.

    Shame on him!!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  320. Daniel ............. Toronto, Canada

    It's a disgrace, there is one reason they returned the money, and one reason only. It's like the mafia leaders years ago they couldn't catch them on the crimes they committed so they charged them with tax evasion. They are black kids and they don't want them on their "elite" club property so they make up some other reason. Shameful.
    And I'm white.

    Daniel ........................ Toronto

    July 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  321. janice

    I see racism is NOT limited to the South.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  322. Daniel ............. Toronto, Canada

    What would have happened if the club members were blind? Would they still have over-booked the "group" to swim and would the members have noticed they were black?

    Daniel .................... Toronto

    July 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  323. Roberta Shade

    John Dueslel and his club should be ashamed of themselves for denying children the right to swim in his club and for his remarks about the children. I wonder how many of the club members are going to be in church on Sunday? Maybe they should be reminded about how Jesus felt about all children. Roberta Shade

    July 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  324. Courtney

    When I heard and watched this video on the nes I was heartbroken. I dont think people should get treated this way, ever! The pool may have been crowed at the time but that doesnt not give the people already there the right to talk about the children at the camp. They should have atleast ben given another day to come back and not have been kicked out for good. I am very upset with the people who call blacks and hispanics all of this, ecpessially (sorry for my miss spellings) sence they are children.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  325. Marques Watson

    This is definitely more common than most people think. It's a shame but it's life in America as of now.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  326. Patti Mountford

    It is absolutely unheard of in 2009 for anyone to make racial remarks to anyone. If the club made a contract with the day cares and groups they should have to hold up their end of the contract. To bad that the "members" got upset.... don't take it out on the children that God put on this earth the same as the "members"....

    July 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  327. lynda

    how embarrassing. these people are disgusting. they knew before hand how much space they had. they are back peddling and should be ashamed of themselves. ignorant. they think they are so much better. they think because they have money and their skin is white they are better.....these children have so much more character and class then they will ever have. shame on them. i am white and ashamed.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  328. Michaela

    Not that I should have to say this, but I'm a African-American woman. And after seeing the latest footage with the director of the club I can totally see how this situation has escalated.

    Someone over booked that club. Sounds like they were trying to do something nice for the community. But due to poor planning and probably not forewarning the members(who PAY to use the facility) the pool became crowded with kids running around everywhere.

    Was the comment made about "black kids" yeah maybe. But the club isn't responsible for that. But they ARE responsible for overbooking the facility and putting EVERYONE'S safety in jeopardy.

    @CNN, Put this story to rest. Let the club deal with the situation and for god's sake DO NOT under any circumstances call Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  329. Dan from Santa Barbara

    If 2 other organizations that are not minorities were turned away for the same reason, then why is that fact glossed over? Is the management to be held responsible for the lack of maturity or predjudices of its members?

    July 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  330. AJ

    In response to Nicole Smith's comments about the 'Blacks only' Burr Oaks cemetery in the suburbs of Chicago in the news for desecrating the graves of those interred there, you really need to check your facts better and do some historical research before you comment.

    I am a 62 year old Black male who has lived in the Chicago area all my life. Burr Oaks is 'Blacks only' not because Blacks got together and decided to exclude Whites (It is owned by a White corporation Perpetua, Inc. of Tuscon, AZ), but rather because it hails back to the time in Chicago when Black people were not allowed to be buried in most other cemeteries in the Chicago area. Thus, you have Black people buried there such as Emmett Till (murdered in Mississippi by White racists back in 1955), Dinah Washington (a world renown singer), Ezzard Charles (world heavyweight boxing champion) etc., because they had few other options in the 1950's and into the 1960's.

    It is apparent you harbor resentments towards Blacks based on your comments. You and others commenting similar to you on this blog even showed prejudice because you assume the young boy in the CNN video who commented on the Philadelphia incident had to be coached because he used 'words' and expressed opinions that Black children of his age cannot possibly be capable of doing without someone putting words in their mouths. Rest assured there are millions of Black people, even very young ones, who have a sound command of the English language and who are capable of conceptualizing and vocalizing what they experience and how they feel about it without coaching!

    Your final show of prejudice is the ASSUMPTION the minority children from the day camp were acting rowdy. This is similar to the comments reported by the young boy where he overheard some White adults fearing the minority children would hurt their White children or steal from them.

    It is apparent you and others like you are not willing to accept that Whites can be racist. Thus you and others feel the need to rationalize the racist behavior of fellow Whites by deflecting the blame for what happened onto those who were targeted by racist behavior and attitudes.

    I sincerely hope you feel inclined in the future to learn how to look at incidents such as these from both sides and on a factual basis before indicting the non-Whites as having brought the behavior on themselves.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  331. The "D" factor

    I've been watching this all morning and now it looks like it may have been a safety issue. What would people be saying if a child drowned? It looks more like poor planning then a racial issue. I mean three busses pulling up filled with kids to swim in a private clubs pool. What the heck was the coordinator thinking? I personally think the boy was upset because he couldn’t hit the pool and rightfully so. It’s the adults around him that put the racism bug in his head. People that are racist see racism. We are always going to have some kind of racism on all sides black, white, yellow, brown and red but for the majority of the American public I don’t think so. Just look at all the people sending in comments of sympathy for the young boy. Time to move on to the next story……..

    July 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  332. Marlene King-Penny

    Why aren't the journalist asking the question, "Why should the goverment, the people...we the people pay these riduculas bonuses to the top execs at A.I.G. The very same elitiests who have come begging to be bailed out becaulse of corporate business bulunders and failures." I know, I know...they have contracts. OOOHHH. How about the contracts of those minority children's daycare centers ...Are not those signed and paid in full contracts with the swim club also valid?
    I am curious, why do your journalists allow the A.I.G. story regarding outrageous bonuses being paid by the taxpayers go virtually unchallenged yet the shattering of contracts, not to mention the out and out racism exibitied by other rich white elitists seem to be accepted?
    Does it simply depend on which side of the fence the elitists stand?

    July 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  333. Sam

    I have attempted to read through all of the comments regarding the swimming pool racial discrimination issue and I did not find one comment regarding the wisdom and keen intelligence of the child, Marcus Allen, that was interviewed regarding this incident.

    This child has to be in the gifted and talented program at his school, or is he just one of many undercounted or maybe even, uncounted, young prodigies that walk among us.

    The way he spoke, at eleven years of age, this young man spoke with the wisdom of ages, the hope of an entire nation. The disgust of a culture and the truth of a child. He was as powerful as mother nature and as resonant as the sound of the voices of all who have ever lived screaming at once. People listen and open your eyes...Racism is not the only thing that oppresses you that you are in denial of.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  334. Gary

    The club members paid for a pleasant swimming environment. The day-campers evidently made the environment unpleasant, and maybe not because of their race. The club acted honorably and refunded their money. I agree that this day camp may be playing the race card.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  335. PJ

    I hope that Club receives the most severe discipline legally possible, along with tremendous financial law suits.

    Such discrimination does not belong in today's society. It is disgraceful and I hope CNN keeps the spotlight on the the Club.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  336. Frank

    Please do NOT make up stories out of nothing! Most people would have
    a response (not positive, most likely) when they see so many African
    Americans show up in their swimming pool unless they were all
    informed. The club made a mistake by NOT evaluating its capacity and
    obtaining consent from its members.



    July 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  337. tony

    What with you you think that because the goverment said 40 years ago that white people have to like black people that was the end.
    Please the goverment lied to us so much already why would we beleave that crog
    You eighter have your head in a hole in the ground are you are plain stupid. For your infomation most white people still hate these blacks, but will not admit it in public.Lool at what we got for not saying the truth
    There got all and I do mean ALL the best ( and they still conplain )jobs that are out their. They will never stop conplaining as long as they keep getting everything they want .
    Do you Think white people realy welcome that .
    Why don't you do a story "what its like being white and poor in Amercia"
    Why are we giving up everything to black.
    Their is something wrong here
    Poor whites are the

    July 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  338. Shireen McConnell

    These children have had their innocence stolen. I cannot watch the footage without crying for that beautiful little boy trying to make sense of what happened to him. A child – or anyone for that matter – should never have to argue that they are "just like you". The comments made by the club members were intended to dehumanize. I hope that the children and their families are able to find peace and heal. And I hope that people with hate in their hearts realize that no one asks to be born a specific color. It is our responsibility as human beings to show compassion without discrimination. Unconditional compassion. I really think that's what life is all about.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  339. Spring

    This is a SPACE issue, not a RACE issue.

    Two OTHER NON MINORITY groups were turned away as well... Explain THAT one, those who are crying "racist"! Or are you just going to IGNORE that FACT and continue crying about how racist this club is?

    Stop playing the race card when that is so obviously not the issue.

    As for the members comments, the swim club should not be responsible for individual comments that were heard, or thought were heard. Now if the President had said something racial, then yes he should be canned, however the comments were made by MEMBERS. So if you want to yell at anyone, they need to point out those who made the "racist" remarks. BTW saying "black kids" is not racist just like saying "white kids" is not racist.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  340. Mike Nunn

    Just shut up. It is time for the Blacks to understand that they can not control the world. After all the crap about Jackson something like this just makes me angry. It is insane to try to idolize a pervert and then expect 70 year old liberals like myself accept it and then this. This is a private club – ok. private.......

    July 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  341. Evan

    this is just sad i would push for a free membership for the kids that this affected first hand.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  342. Patrick

    M.R. All I did was to point out that stories are not treated the same because of what would make better news and you make the jump to me being racist? Really, do you know what the word means?

    If so, why are you crying about the black day care but are doing nothing about the two white groups that were turned away. If you are not a racist yourself why would you not feel as I do that all three groups were treated badly?

    July 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  343. David

    Yup racism is alive and well in North America. A couple of day ago in Courtenay BC here in Canada 3 whits dudes ganged up on a black guy (he is actually half white half black) calling him the N word and trying to intimidate him. You can actually search the video on youtube by typing in the keywords "Hate Crime in Courtenay BC" The good thing is that so many good ppl in that town stood up to show that they do not support such ignorant bigotry.

    Truly disgusting much like the story above. No room for bigotry or bigots in this day and age.

    July 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  344. Troy

    It's 2009 this should be over.
    What are the parents teaching these kids to be a racist.
    I think The valley swim club needs to be punished.

    July 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  345. fedup

    I just saw the pathetic explanation by the President of the racist swim club in Pa. I don't buy it. Who wrote the letter that indicated that they were not the "Complexion" of those acceptable to their sensibilities. Eh. Give me a break. Sue the pants off them. People like that only understand when it hits them in their pocketbook. Maybe the children will be awarded enough money by the court to be paid by the racist to purchase their own pool!

    July 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  346. Robert

    Has anyone considered firing the sadistic reporter who just caused an employee their job? The main cause was visitors at the pool and a reporter taking an employees words out of context!

    WHY? THIS ISN'T NEWS – It is a LIE!

    July 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  347. Pat

    Since the comments made imply that only whites are racist, and since some people made comments referring back to the 60s, I would like to add the following:
    Years ago a friend and I went to a soul food restaurant. We were the only people who did not have at least one black person at our table. The black employees stood around our table in a circle smiling at us – we were the only table who was not served.
    I have also eaten in a black-owned restaurant and sat at the counter waiting to be served while blacks who came in after me were served. (Yes, I"m aware that they were trying to make us feel what it's like to be discriminated against – all they did was make it obvious that blacks can be just as racist as they say whites are.)

    More recently, I have heard blacks making openly racist remarks saying that all white people stole whatever money they have. And a group of black children felt free to call several of us white b****** when we passed in front of their schoolyard. Unfortunately there was no CNN camera crew around at the time.

    And then there are the racist comments made by several blacks on these postings.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  348. Tim

    I think it is obvious that due to the comments made by that one woman complaints were made about these kids being there and they decided to give them the boot. I strongly believe there are racist overtones to this and it is extremely unfair. The kids just wanted to swim and should have been allowed to be kids. The clubs statement about underestimating the capacity of their facility doesn't hold water.
    A lawsuit needs to be filed and this club needs to pay for this outrage.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  349. michaelhill

    Unfortunate? Sure but the chips fall the way they always will no matter which table they are on.

    If it were white kids in a predominantly black or hispanic neighborhood pool the kids would have heard more than the few words that made the little kid cry. Does everyone truly believe the white community to be the only racists in this country? Get real folks.

    Why isn't there a pool in the neighborhood near the day care center? That would be an interesting query. Aren't there any black or hispanic private swim clubs in Philly? It isn't tax money that pays for the facility when it is private.

    One last thought I had concerned the membership of the club. Were they all made aware of the contract between the care center and the club? If not, why?

    July 10, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  350. Dr. M. H. Rajabally

    It is very sad. I happen to be a neighbour and Americans are my friends. They have done something I never thought would happen in my life time. They elected an African-American as their president. Sadly, there are still people in America who live in the 21st Century with an Eigteenth Century brain. Republicans comes to mind.

    July 11, 2009 at 3:28 am |
  351. sioneve

    Oh Dahhhlings...of course we all believe in *EQUALITY* of the races and all that....just not in our backyards...or swimming pools for that matter.

    July 11, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  352. John in Seattle, WA

    It is time to start prosecuting people for false accusations of racism. Why don't your "investigative reporters" investigate anything anymore? You throw the term "racism" around like cheap candy, then complain when someone like Sotomayor (who clearly feels she is superior) is called a racist or a sexist. Hypocrites of the highest order.

    Your exploitation of children is disgusting as well. You put that little boy up on the screen with his tears. He said something along the lines of, "This is 2009. I didn't think people thought this way anymore." Not one person seems to recognize that this is a thought that would not occur in the mind of a nine or ten year old child. They haven't been around long enough to think in terms of, "This is 2009....." That child was clearly coached by a racist black person looking to make money from yet another false accusation of racism. People like this need to be locked up for hate crimes.

    This swim club turned away two white day camp organizations as well. The issue was clearly safety, not race. If anyone had bothered to investigate, this would have been revealed. Calling someone "nappy-headed" is not racist. Falsely accusing someone of racism is.

    July 11, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  353. Karen O'Donnell

    Regarding the story about The Valley Club, you are reporting that this is a "Philly" swim club. The club is a "private" club located in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, NOT Philadelphia. Huntingdon Valley is a suburb "outside" of Philadelphia.

    Your reporting of this incident gives the impression that no one is stepping forward and doing the right thing. This is not true. You should report that a "private boarding school" located in Philadelphia is now meeting with the Director, Tamara LeClair, of Creative Steps to sign a contract allowing the children to use their facilities this summer as early as Monday, July 13th. The "private boarding school" in Philadelphia is GIRARD COLLEGE.

    July 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  354. Michele

    You know the new thing these days is to sue sue sue the whites if you are black and I for one am pretty tired of this because this has been going on as long as I can remember and if everyone is so sue happy why can't I ( a white female ) sue the Miss Black America Pageant?
    WHY do we have and ALLOW BET, Jet Magazine, and this pageant to just name a few?
    Why don't I turn the tables and sue the pants off all you blacks for this stuff?
    I do NOT believe these black kids heard these women at this pool say this....I will bet you their own mommies put them up to saying this crap.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  355. Deirdre Rose

    Okay, Everybody STOP!!!
    Let me tell you about pools filled with children:
    I work for the local Park District as a Lifeguard and Supervisor and I can tell you without equivocation that large groups of non-swimmer children in a pool is probably the single most dangerous situation we handle. People don't realize how dangerous water activity can be nor how quickly things can go wrong -and in the water, when something goes wrong it can get very deadly, very quickly.
    Our shallow end is very crowded during the summer open swims. (And from what I've read, the PA pool's shallow end is only about 30% of the pool) The children are not aware of how their unruly behavior puts them in jeopardy, the sheer number of children makes it very challenging for my guards in a situation where we must be hyper-vigilant and then there are ALWAYS two or three of them who constantly push the boundaries of the rules requiring at least one of my guards to be focused on those few, instead of being able to scan their areas properly. The leaders with them are either in the water playing with them, which is nice but gives us no support or they're on the deck reading or talking which also gives us no support. Seemingly responsible adults who would NEVER allow a child to run into a street, encourage a child to run on the deck and flip into the pool! And heaven help a family who comes to swim with their children, they're overwhelmed and end up leaving very quickly.
    This goes across the board. It doesn't matter one whit what the group is, where they're from or what the dynamics are. Children are children. Adults leave their brains in the locker room.

    As to the PA pool, when I first heard about it, I knew INSTANTLY what the problem was – chaos. If they were expecting well-behaved, calm, polite children with firm, vigilant leaders helping to control them, they were on another planet. And how many guards did they have on duty? It truly may have been a safety issue.
    I saw the footage of the group in their pool and there they were, slapping noodles, crowded, screaming, jumping, splashing – normal kids in a pool! But not conducive to a relaxed swim if that's what a patron is there to do.

    At our pool, we're very lucky to have an Aquatics Director who not only gives me the leeway to be as strict as I am; no kickboards (they hit eachother with them), no basketballs (they lob them at eachother's heads and across the pool) – only noodles and dive sticks during my shifts, I can also call in extra guards if I need them.
    And one other thing we do that the other pool might not have thought of........we post signs for the regular patrons and for families informing them that the open swim sessions are not the best time for lap swimming or workouts or for families with very young children – everyone is welcome, but beware!
    We have a policy that after open swim is over, EVERY child age 15 and younger MUST be accompanied by a parent or family member over 21 who is either in the pool or on the deck at all times. That eliminates the problems with teenage boys who are even worse than the younger kids.....
    While on the surface it may look like race might have played a role in their decision (and as I've stated, I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE) and it surely makes a titillating story, I would beg you to try to understand what the dynamics are when you have a large group of children – who don't know how to swim – in the pool. It only takes one gulp of water. Or one kid who jumped in and landed on another kid's head. Or one kid who slips, hits his head and rolls in.

    I beg you to look into this story in more depth and try to understand the dynamics at play because that really may have been the only issue and how grossly unfair it would be to rile people's anger and outrage if the real story was simply that that pool doesn't know how to manage an "open swim" environment.

    I invite you, CNN, to send a representative down here during our open swim sessions any weekday from 1-4pm to see for yourself what goes on.

    And I'd also like to suggest a better story for you to look into. Pool capacity.
    In Illinois, the Health Dept. determines the maximum number of people allowed in a public pool at one time. I was HORRIFIED when I learned what our pool capacity really was. We have a very small pool, only 25yds, yet I learned that the "official" capacity was something like 150? 170? some crazy number. Our blessed Aquatics Director has limited the number to 75! And, believe me, the few times we've reached that number (and I've told the front desk NO MORE PEOPLE AND GET ME TWO MORE GUARDS, NOW!!) it's been insanely stressful, chaotic and down right exhausting for the guards, not to mention potentially even more dangerous for the patrons.
    Why don't you look into how/why the Illinois Health Dept. comes up with the numbers they come up with?!? Because I can tell you for a fact that there are other pools in the area who allow those numbers.....

    This got longer than I originally intended and I thank you for taking the time to read it.

    July 11, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  356. Texmis

    For far too long African Americans, have thought they were "there" in equality, but even with an African American President, the truth about our status in America, is still very real and very plain, We have a long, long way to go yet. African American Parents should truly keep their children enlightened of such occurrences like this and share with the children in what to look for, what to listen for, and how to document it, so that there can never be any doubt of the real reason for what the children have encountered. Every African American needs to really wake up and face it, that Hstory is starting to reinstate itself and that our children are the target of it. I also believe the shooting of the Youth in Chicago area, should be watched more closely, than automatically assuming it is all gang related, it could be a more underline and sinister attempt to keep our African American Youth from seeking an education and it may be carried out by other than African American gangs, just remember History.

    July 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  357. michelle

    It's sad that we as African Americans are still having to deal with racism in 2009. It's really sad when children are having to be sat down in this day and age and learn what racism is.And they wander why African Americans say that an apology from the goverment for slavery is not enough. With situations like this "I'm sorry" is basically MEANINGLESS.

    July 11, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  358. Ted Weaver

    First, let me say that I would be the first one in the jury to hand down a guilty verdict in the lawsuit against these pool owners....and I am a white guy from Pittsburgh. I say that because I am 'amongst' that white conservative suburbia element and know firsthand what they say and they are all closet bigots who think 'All in the Family' was a documentary, totally missing the satire...a bunch of passive aggressive cowards who don't have the guts to directly say what they think to black people. That said, black people feel their suffering tops all others', including the American Indian's and homosexuals'. Get off the bandwagon's wrecking your credibility. And this is coming from a bleeding-heart racism-hating liberal. Imagine how the red states view your over-the-top 24/7 pampering of black America. I doubt this will get posted.....taboo #1-politically incorrect...taboo #2-bit the hand that posts the comments.

    July 11, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  359. Sheila

    Skye...You say that you don't know many ten year olds that use the word harm, and therefore you believe that his words were a repeat from the mouth of his parent(s). if you believe this, then you must also believe that this child hasn't been educated. The child was discriminated against and hurt. Not all kids are dumb and incapable of expressing themselves. My 12 year olds were using words larger than that at the young age of 6 in proper context, thats because they were taught and not just repeating something they heard. Is it too far fetched for you to think that young Mr. Allen has been properly taught at his very young age and knows how to use his words in perfect context?

    July 11, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  360. DL

    Michelle, how bitterly put! Your statement is fully of character flaws that certainly does not put you at the top of the list of those who should be 'judging'. Let me guess, I'd bet you consider yourself "Christian" too, right. If you do than does that make you a hypocrite? Not all cases have merit, while some do. You seem to want to lump them all together. Humm, sounds like the same sort of thing prejudice people do all the time, lump 'em all together. Your typically uneducated, crude remarks about the magazines and such shows exactly what side of the table you sit at. It is VERY easy for you to believe and assert that the kids LIED. Yet you are opposed to even the POSSIBILITY the impropriety took place.

    Additionally, lest you forget or just be so ignorant to not know this, WHITE firemen just WON their lawsuit for discrimination. SO MUCH FOR YOUR 1ST STATEMENT.

    July 11, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  361. Tye

    Well, it is a "Private" swim club.. I guess that means closed to the public. So if the swim club did not have any black members, and all of the sudden a bunch of black kids show up.. someone is going to say "where did all of these black kids come from". Maybe they shouldn't have called them "black" kids... I didn't know this was a racist term for children of African-American descent. To be more proper, maybe they should have called them "brown" kids. If I saw a white child walk in to a room full of black people, I would refer to him as the "white" kid. More than 1- I would call them "white kids". Sorry, didn't mean to offend anyone. I know white people aren't really white- they are peach or apricot (according to crayola)

    July 12, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  362. Steve Nebraska

    Live in the real world. In any group you will find people who have the wrong opinion about what is right or wrong. What we do is say what will sell. racisiom is allways an ez call you'll get 50 people (looking for there 15 minute) to convict the acquied before the whole storie is known.

    Not guilty untell Proven.


    July 12, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  363. Su-Ju

    We need a world where people will know the differences between each others and show respect to every life!

    July 12, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  364. David

    One the one hand the Valley Club invited to their facilities kids from the day care center and a camp. That tends to indicate a spirt of civic cooperation, opening up their pool in the summer for kids who might not have access to a pool (because of budget cuts in the Philadelphia area?). On the other hand, some of the kids from the day care center were offended by prejudicial remarks that they heard by presumably members of the club. Also, the invitations to the day care center and camp kids were rescinded and the money those groups paid to the club was refunded without much or any explanation according to your report. That tends to indicate brusque treatment. The article at notes that the club said their pool was over capacity. Is that true? The remarks by the pool president are unfortunate but if they are taken out of context then how can we be sure what he's talking about? Is it possible that some club members made prejudicial comments hurting and offending the children who heard them and that the pool was overcapacity and that club president didn't handle the situation very well?

    July 13, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  365. C. D. Elam-Dallas

    If it looks like a duck, quacks & smells like one, there is a possibility that it is what it is. First impressions say a lot, sometimes without saying much. Sometimes people say & do things out of ignorance without thinking, & people have to assume & read between the lines. It is unfortunate that the adults are acting like kids. I think in the end the adults & kids can learn from this incident.

    July 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  366. A Grandmother

    To Shalni Tamdji: Since you have a black daughter, you strongly despise racism against blacks -understandably so.

    I know -and you know- that you've discriminated against my Jewish daughter. Granted, she may have what you call the "right" skin color.

    But do you ever stop and think that your behavior against Jews may be equally hurtful and damaging?

    October 1, 2009 at 10:42 pm |

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