recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : genedemby   6

Who Gets To Hang Out At The Pool? | WNPR News
"But as others have noted, this story brings up a decades-old American drama around race and swimming pools, featuring racial gatekeepers who opted to privatize public spaces rather than integrate them. It's worth revisiting that history as we try to make sense of McKinney.

Jeff Wiltse, the author of the book Contested Waters, told NPR in 2007 that the early 20th century saw a boom in public swimming pools, which were originally intended for bathing and hygiene. These new municipal pools were enormously popular, but they were separated by gender over fears of sexual impropriety. And like so many other public resources, these new pools were concentrated in white neighborhoods.

"There has always been fear, in terms of using swimming pools, about being exposed to the dirt and the disease of other swimmers," Wiltse said. "And back during the 1920s and 1930s, and ... continuing on even further up from there, there were racist assumptions that black Americans were dirtier than whites, that they were more likely to be infected by communicable diseases." (There's a famous story about the time Sammy Davis Jr. swam in a whites-only pool in Las Vegas, prompting the manager to immediately drain it afterward.)

But those big public pools eventually became mixed-gender pools, unleashing even deeper-seated fears about what might happen if black men and white women went swimming together. "Whites in many cases literally beat blacks out of the water at gender-integrated pools because they would not permit black men to interact with white women at such intimate public spaces," Wiltse writes. "Thus, municipal pools in the North continued to be intensely contested after 1920, but the lines of social division shifted from class and gender to race."

Campaigns by civil rights groups like the NAACP to integrate public pools often turned very, very ugly. "Groups for and against segregation threw rocks and tomatoes at one another, swung bats and fists, and even stabbed and shot at each other," Wiltse wrote.

Even after Brown v. Board of Education ostensibly desegregated America's schools in 1955, a federal judge sided with Baltimore's pro-segregation argument that pools "were more sensitive than schools." (That decision was later overturned.)

But what happened in Baltimore next was instructive for what would happen more broadly throughout the country: White folks stopped using public swimming facilities altogether, instead opting to join private swimming clubs or for pools in their backyards. As The Atlantic's Yoni Appelbaum writes, the popularity of private pools and members-only pool clubs exploded in the postwar years:
"Before 1950, Americans went swimming as often as they went to the movies, but they did so in public pools. There were relatively few club pools, and private pools were markers of extraordinary wealth. Over the next half-century, though, the number of private in-ground pools increased from roughly 2,500 to more than four million. The declining cost of pool construction, improved technology, and suburbanization all played important roles. But then, so did desegregation."

Appelbaum points to Marshall, Texas, where 95 percent of local residents voted in 1957 to have the city sell off its recreational facilities; the pool's new private owners reopened it as a whites-only space.

It was during one of these fights that the famous photograph at the top of this post was taken. It shows James Brock, a motel manager in St. Augustine, Fla., pouring muriatic acid into a pool filled with black kids who were participating in a protest against whites-only pools. J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo, two of those protesters, talked with StoryCorps last year about that moment.
" 'Everybody was kind of caught off guard,' J.T. says.
" 'The girls, they were most frightened, and we moved to the center of the pool,' Al says.
" 'I tried to calm the gang down. I knew that there was too much water for that acid to do anything,' J.T. says. 'When they drug us out in bathing suits and they carried us out to the jail, they wouldn't feed me because they said I didn't have on any clothes. I said, "Well, that's the way you locked me up!"'"

Wiltse theorized that the disproportionate number of black Americans who can't swim and are more likely to drown is in part due to this historical lack of access to regular places to swim. Once white folks fled to the suburbs and built their own pools, he explains, public pools fell into disrepair and began closing. "As a result of that pattern of discrimination, swimming did not really become a significant part of ... black culture," he told NPR's Michel Martin back in 2007. Because swimming never took root in black communities, he said, fixing swimming pools was not much of a priority when black politicians began winning elective office in the 1960s and 1970s.

Which brings us back to the incident in McKinney, Texas. The details about what happened on Friday are still coming out: who lived in the neighborhood, who was just visiting, to what extent it matters. But as Appelbaum and others have been saying, it's important to remember that the rise of private swimming spaces like this one is all tangled up in attempts to desegregate public ones."

[See also: ]

[posted at this URL too: ]
2015  genedemby  history  swimmingpools  us  segregation  race  swimming  edg  srg  glvo  jeffwiltse 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Are We Laughing With Charles Ramsey? : Code Switch : NPR
"But race and class seemed to be central to the celebrity of all these people. They were poor. They were black. Their hair was kind of a mess. And they were unashamed. That's still weird and chuckle-worthy.

On the face of it, the memes, the Auto-Tune remixes and the laughing seem purely celebratory. But what feels like celebration can also carry with it the undertone of condescension. Amid the hood backdrop — the gnarled teeth, the dirty white tee, the slang, the shout-out to McDonald's — we miss the fact that Charles Ramsey is perfectly lucid and intelligent.

"I have a feeling half the ppl who say 'Oooh I love watching him on the internet!' would turn away if they saw him on the street," the writer Sarah Kendzior tweeted.

Dodson and Brown and Ramsey are all up in our GIFs and all over the blogosphere because they're not the type of people we're used to seeing or hearing on our TVs. They're actually not the type of people we're used to seeing or hearing at all, which might explain why we get so silly when they make one of their infrequent forays into our national consciousness."
codeswitch  genedemby  2013  charlesramsey  race  ethnicity  fame 
august 2013 by robertogreco
The Four Types Of Comments We Usually Remove On Code Switch : Code Switch : NPR
"So you may have noticed that lots of comments on Code Switch articles have been removed over the past week. Many of the comments we've taken down have been of a few broad types, and we figured it would be helpful to highlight the types of comments that we keep having to ax, with some actual comments — many of which have been deleted — as examples.

1) "Why Are You/We Talking About This?!?!"…

2) Get-Off-My-Lawnism.…

3) "Group X Is Objectively Terrible, And I Have Proof" (or "It's Not Racist, It's Just The Truth")…

4) "It's Censorship!" (Or "Your Removal Of My Comment Is Evidence Of Your Conservative/Liberal Agenda!")"
codeswitch  blogs  bloggin  commenting  community  communitymanagement  2013  genedemby 
may 2013 by robertogreco
NPR Code Switch | When Our Kids Own America
"It’s much harder now to patrol the ramparts of our cultures, to distinguish between the appreciators and appropriators. Just who gets to play in which cultural sandboxes? Who gets to be the bouncer at the velvet rope?"

"If something is everywhere and everyone trafficks in it, who gets to decide when it’s real or not? What happens when hip-hop stops being black culture and becomes simply youth culture?"

"So once some piece of black American culture slips outside that culture, when does it stop being black and just become this new thing? Where do the borders of one culture end and another begin?"

"When young people inherit the new America, this reconfigured hip-hop will be part of their birthright: the code-switching, style-shifting, and swagger-jacking that’s always been there, mashed up with stories about thrift-shopping, border-crossing and rich South Koreans. Lest anyone get it twisted and think this new America will be some kind of Benetton ad, be forewarned: it’s going to be confusing and it’s going to be messy."

"My generation started writing our chapters on race during the Crack Era — the time of of Rodney King, The Cosby Show, and Menace II Society. But that was 20-something years ago, and we’re still applying the templates that we created in 1992 and 1963 to the chapters that are being scripted now. Those old stories reflect a starkly different demographic reality than the one we now inhabit. It’s not that those stories are wrong, it’s that they’re incomplete. And so we find ourselves having to assimilate into these places we thought we knew and that we thought were ours.

The Afropunk skater in Philly, the Korean b-boy graffiti artist in Los Angeles, the bluegrass-loving Latino hipster in Austin — they’re all inheriting an America in which they’ll have access to even more hyphens in their self-definitions. That’s undoubtedly a good thing. But it’s important that those stories be complete as well. If you’re in Maricopa County, Ariz., and brown, the sheriff’s deputies won’t care whether you’re bumping Little Dragon in your ride when they pull you over. The way each of us experiences culture each day may be increasingly unmoored from genre, from geography, and yes, even from race, but America will not be easily untethered from the anchor of its history. We may be more equal, but mostly in our iPods.

How the country fares in the next century will depend in part on how it deals with these dissonances. It will be determined by whether we grapple with the complications of some basic assumptions about our spaces — who gets to play and work and live in them and how they get to do that.

And so, the “Harlem Shake” kerfuffle isn’t just about some hip-hop dance, but about these anxieties of ownership of the past and future, about generational tensions around acknowledgement, respect and reverence, about the understandable if futile impulse to want culture to retain something like purity, about disparities in power both real and perceived, about land and property, about realness and authenticity and race and history.

For good or ill, the country our kids are creating will work by new, confounding rules.

It’s the rest of us, those of us who’ve been here for awhile and who still find comfort with these old modes of viewing the world, who will start to face the discomfort of assimilating. A Minnesota suburb that looks more like a Brooklyn ‘hood. A “Harlem Shake” that looks nothing like Harlem."
codeswitch  codeswitching  2013  culture  appropriation  us  appreciation  gentrification  diversity  race  ethnicity  harlemshake  genedemby  rafaelcastillo  laurenrock  npr  harlem  nyc  oakland  brooklynpark  minnesota  discrimination  sterotypes  popularculture  hiphop  marginalization  teens  youth  youthculture  ebonics  ceciliacutler  civilrightsmovement  blackpanthers  joshkun  signaling  separateness  hsamyalim  language  communication  english  wealth  power  access  borders  repurposing  shereenmarisolmeraji  chantalgarcia  music  remixing  sampling  dumbfounded  jonathanpark  losangeles  biboying  breakdancing  messiness  stevesaldivar  hansilowang  karengrigsbybates  assimilation  generation  demographics  evolution  change  canon  remixculture  blackpantherparty 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Code Switch : NPR
"Remember when folks used to talk about being "post-racial"? Well, we're definitely not that. We're a team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting."


About and team:

FAQ: ]
codeswitching  culture  language  relationships  npr  mattthompson  katchow  luisclemens  genedemby  karengrigsbybates  shereenmarisolmeraji  2013  hansilowang  behavior  perspective  codeswitch  blogs  interactions  race  ethnicity 
april 2013 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:

to read