Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why Can't Tyrone Swim!??!

I don't usually pay much attention to little tidbits like this, but something about this story in particular irked me. As if we don't already have enough bad news about the state of Black America, and black youth in particular, now the MSM is somehow fixated on the amphibious efforts of lil' Tyrone and Daisha.

A new study finds that nearly 60 percent of African-American children can't swim, a figure almost twice that of white children. That's according to a new study aimed at lowering minority drowning rates and drawing more blacks into the sport of swimming.

The first-of-its-kind USA Swimming survey also finds that black children drown at a rate almost three times higher than children overall.

USA Swimming is teaming with local governments, businesses, and youth and ethnic groups to expand learn-to-swim programs nationwide.
Okay, all cynicism aside, I think this new initiative is promising. Reality is, if black kids are drowning at such astronomical rates, then anything being done to help them learn to swim better should be lauded.

That said, I wonder how many black kids don't bother learning to swim for totally superficial cultural reasons. Growing up, the community pool was the place to be, but nine times outta ten, you just went to shoot the breeze with your friends and holler at girls. Everybody got in the water, but very few kids actually swam. And you know about black women and their hair. I wonder just how many kids are deterred from learning to swim for such reasons.

My childhood was traumatized by some d-bag who thought it was fun to throw a 6 year old AverageBro in the deep end of the pool while I had my back turned. Never mind the fact that I was taking swimming lessons at the time (key word: lessons) and had no clue what to do. Obviously I'm here today blogging, but this is largely because the lifeguard on duty moved swiftly to save me. And the kid who pushed me in, well, let's just say that between my older brothers and other kids from my neighborhood, he caught a fair one... or thirty. I doubt he ever pushed another child again, but the damage was done.

Since my Negro College HBCU was one of the few that didn't require a swim test for graduation, I got by without taking lessons for years. In fact, I didn't even bother trying to learn to swim anymore until I took YMCA classes the summer of my wedding. I mean, what's the point of a Cabo honeymoon if you're not gonna get in the water? After 20-some years of fakin' it in the pool, I was determined to actually learn how to swim for once and for all. The classes weren't easy, but eventually I got the hang of it. Simple as it may seem, being able to swim seemed like it opened up a whole new world to me. Yeah, it's about recreation and safety, but on a grander scale, it was about overcoming my fear of the trivial and just plain learning to live.[1]

Today, I'm no Mark Spitz [||] but I can hold my own. And since I'm trying to break silly generational curses, AverageBaby has already taken AquaTots classes and should be swimming like Nemo in time for Memorial Day.

Like father, unlike son. He should be better than me, but first I have to be better myself.[2]

Question: Can you swim? If not, why? If you have kids, have they learned to swim?

Study: 58% of Black Children Can't Swim [Southern Ledger]

[1] I hope that made some sense to you.

[2] See #1.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.