Much ink and spit were spilled about the historical election that took place on November 4, 2008. It wasn’t just about the landslide that surrounded the Democratic Party’s victory, the biggest in decade, it wasn’t the celebration of a Bush era finally coming to an end. Barack Obama is black, forcing the United States to face its history with slavery. In truth, Barack Obama is half-black, and that noticeable half seems enough to proclaim the end of racism. One symbolic measure and all is healed forever: a new reconciliation technique, or the burial of centuries of segregation?

Nothing like a stark reminder to set the score. In case anyone thought that racism was dead and that Equality trampled the pathetic ghosts of division and white supremacy whilst riding the streets of New York on a glistening unicorns, Philadelphia is coming to the rescue by walking all over our beautiful new, post-race Utopia by throwing a 1950s theme party. Not the kind of bouffed-up hair and checkered shirts: the kind where black people are not invited. Allison Kilkenny reports that a Philadelphia-based private swim club has taken upon itself to kick out over sixty children from its pools, the reason being that they had apparently spent too much time in the sun. In the words of John Duesler, president of said club, “there was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion… and the atmosphere of the club”.  Translation: if seen from the sky, the club would have looked like a melting pot of different races, instead of a homogenous white human sheet that would refract sunlight. John Duesler would have none of that.

The Valley Swim Club – let’s give names in case you want to know who you’re going to write an angry letter to – was kind enough to tell the black children, who had managed to come up with the inexplicable price of $1900 to use said pool, that the club “does not allow minorities” and that they were to “exit the pool immediately”. As a result of said black children goofing around in chlorine water like their civil and constitutional rights are supposed to allow them to, all the other little white kids, perfectly raised by their white parents in white schools with white teachers reading white books, all stormed off the pool, in the manner of an offended SS officer who just realised his right hand came in contact with that of a Jew. Such distinct and spontaneous behaviour coming from children is extremely suspicious when children are generally non-discriminative until they are told to be.

Obviously, one would expect that The Valley Swim Club would now be at the heart of a horrible Pennsylvania State Court controversy regarding their politics of segregation. Let it be known that in 2009, this is perfectly legal, and that John Duesler’s white supremacist pool is far from being the only one in the country. Kilkenny highlights that although some private clubs have been sued in the past for discrimination, their privacy – and the fact that their inner sanctum rules are therefore not part of public records – it is complex to stress the exact number of white-only private clubs, the secrecy surrounding enrollment policies being as thick as a toxic cloud.  This said, all-white golf tournaments do take place every year and are only spoken of when famous politicians participate in those shenanigans. From Bill Clinton to lawmaker Tom DeLay, The Valley Swim Club’s only mistake was to be a little more upfront about their policies than some other clubs claiming that “no black people have applied”.

Regardless of the pathetic excuses that The Valley Swim Club is attempting to put forward as some sort of exoneration for their obsolete and segregationist rules, discrimination against colored people or gay people needs to be highlighted and emphasized when it becomes so institutionalized. Telling children to not mix with other children because they are different is one horrid educative method. Having staff removing said children from the pool because of the same difference as it would allegedly cause other club members some distress is just as disgusting and backwards. Wear white cloth robes and burn crosses in your backyard if you believe it, but under no circumstances must a club, allowing other members and accepting outsiders under the paiement of a royal fee only to kick them out is the same principle than making them sit at the back of the bus. Money is no different regardless of the color of the hand it is coming from. Children’s innocence, however, is priceless.

From Allison Kilkenny’s Twitter, “Just received information that the law firm of Mildenberg and Stalbaum is filing a class action lawsuit against The Valley Club”.  Let’s hope that the price of progression and equality will finally reason John Duesler and his small-brained ways.

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