8.09.2010

Dog Parks and Swimming Pools

Access...or lack thereof...is one of three reasons why Black people don't swim. In most cities of America...there are no pools in the ghetto...or if there are pools...access was limited to white people...who either made it a private club...or posted sentries at the gate to keep certain people out...

I'm not talking about way back in the day...well maybe a little...when I was born...Black people weren't allowed to swim at Coney Island...not until it was desegregated due to protests led by Marian Spencer back in 1957.

By 1967 my family had moved from Cincinnati to Mt. Healthy and I was taken out of Walnut Hills High and forced by my parents to go to Mt. Healthy High....

Even though our move was only ten miles, Mt. Healthy is a city in its own right and had its own parks and pool system.

Shortly after moving in to our new house...my sisters and I were turned away at the gate of the pool and told the park was only for residents...

We were residents....just not white residents...that apparently was the difference...Even with proof of residency, we could not get in...which is why I have never, ever been to a park in Mt. Healthy, to this day....

70% of all accidental drownings in America are Black people....The most recent having taken place in Louisiana where seven members of one family drowned in a horrific accident a few weeks ago.

You can read it here.

Access to swimming pools is pretty good in Cincinnati. There is or was at least one pool in every neighborhood. There are also the YMCA pools all over the city.

The more recent problem has been money to keep the pools open all summer. Cincinnati has done a pretty good job of finding the funds to keep them open most of the time, too.

So with obvious need for swimming pools in the ghetto and all the common sense surrounding swimming pool access in Cincinnati, why the hell tear one out and replace it with a dog park?

I'm talking about what is going on in Washington Park, where the renovation calls for putting a dog run in the space where the kids swim. In a nod to the children, the plans call for a water play area, but that is totally different from having a place to swim, or learn to swim.

You don't learn water safety from a moving hose squirting water at you.

Why are dogs more important than the neighborhood kids? Or is the plan to move the kids out of the neighborhood along with their more impoverished parents?

You can't make me believe that there are enough foo-foo dogs moving in to justify getting rid of a swimming pool and playground...

Because what is happening is that Washington Park is being changed from a kid friendly place to a gathering place for the upwardly mobile and their four legged friends...

The pool and basketball court....are gone...or soon to be gone....The city has signed off on this travesty..and nobody seems to give a damn...

Progress...new and better ways to segregate...
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