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Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka


The debate continues here. To be fair, the original question was not why don't blacks swim, but, rather, can blacks swim well enough to save themselves? I have contributed to the forum, without actually addressing that original question. I haven't found that question sufficient or interesting, or whatever, but I think I will address that first before moving onto my question.

Can blacks swim well enough to save themselves? I want to answer that some can. But can we as a group, or tribe, as Errol Duplessis, who asked the original question says? And that answer would have to be no. It is tragic the rate at which our children drown every year. And it is negligent to ignore the masses in favor of the few who get it and can save themselves. We need to prioritize this major life skill and stop ignoring our general lack of swim skills.

So I get back to the question I've been asking on this blog since its inception: why don't blacks swim? And I've been swimming around the answer for some time now, too, trying to get a handle on it. Mr. Duplessis says it's because of lack of access to swim lessons. I have disagreed with that answer in the past, but I want to consider it now.

We have a history of lack of access. It could be that we were denied access to pools and lessons just long enough to remove any desire for learning to swim from our collective consciousness. The whole trained elephant concept, where the way to control a big elephant is to start when they're small and limiting their mobility, and they quit trying by the time they're grown. So I can see that.

I can also see how generations of fearful non-swimmers can pass that fear and non-swimming status on into perpetuity. That was really my latest conclusion. That blacks don't swim because their generations didn't swim, and they actually shy away from swim lessons out of fear.

But that attitude is killing us. So it's really time for a change.

Role models may also play a factor. Cullen Jones is working really hard to be the black swim role model for the country. He's the highest profile black swimmer we have, but he shouldn't be carrying this mantel by himself. I suspect he's not, but he's the only black swimmer the media is covering.

So now I have to stop my black swim crusade to pick up the blacks in broadcasting/news crusade? Sheesh. It shouldn't be this hard! One fight at a time.

It looks like Mr. Duplessiss's conclusion is not so different from mine. It's just at the beginning of the continuum I brought up. So, if I can sum it up succinctly, it would be: Blacks don't swim (well enough to save themselves) because they were denied access to pools and lessons, creating generations of fearful non-swimmers, which continues into perpetuity, to the point where the fear is so great that parents avoid even free swim lessons.

When we get to the point where we're enslaving and killing ourselves, nobody else has to put us down.

cross posted at www.imswimming.net

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