Cynical Synapse

Fri, 10 Jul 2009

Jim Crow Swims at The Valley Club

Filed under: Behavior, Civil liberties, Legal, Life, People, Racism, Rants, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 5:50 pm

Swimming pool segregation

Un-freaking-believable! In 2009! In an urban area! In the northeast! Disgusting!

Suburban Philadelphia’s Valley Club kicked out 65 minority day camp kids because the club’s members were disgruntled. Then they canceled their contract with Creative Steps Day Camp and refunded the $1,950 paid to use the club’s pool. Excuse me? If the club signed the contract, wouldn’t they have informed the members? That way the club’s idiots could stay home that day instead of parading their ignorance at the expense of young, impressionable kids. Creative Steps’ kids are aged 5 to 12 or 13.

Instead, the members present June 29th when the day camp kids showed up, turned up their noses, making remarks those young kids couldn’t help but overhear. Incredulously, all but a few white kids got out of the pool! Even the day camp’s director heard snide remarks from Valley Club members to the effect of ensuring the group did not return.

Just in case you’re not taken aback by the story so far, the club’s explanation is beyond belief. The Valley Club issued a statement in which president John Duesler said (emphasis mine):

There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.

Duesler added he “underestimated the impact the children would have” and that the kids “fundamentally changed the atmosphere” at the pool.” How amazingly idiotic! Turns out Duesler’s a doctor, too: must be a DS (doctor of stupidity).

Jim Crow Swims Here

On Saturday, the club’s gates were padlocked and a few protestors stood outside. Club member Jim Flynn came up and told reporters he was at the pool on the 29th. He said he voiced his concerns because “the pool was too crowded, not because the children were black.” This is where I throw the “bullshit” flag. According to Creative Steps’ director Alethea Wright, who was also there that day: the Valley Club covers 10 acres, has a nice-sized pool and a kiddie pool, the club knew her group size was 65, and none of her kids misbehaved. “We were not welcome, once the members saw who we were,” she said. The over capacity defense doesn’t pass the common sense test.

Dr. John Duesler Jr.

Ordinarily, this is where I’d call upon readers to register their feelings, but the Valley Club’s website is down, their voicemail off. If you live nearby, those inspired to action have probably already joined the protests. I’m not normally prone to advocating violence, or even threats of violence, but if you see Duesler on the street and you decide to kick him in the ass, I’d pretend I didn’t see it. Duesler. Hmmm. How about Diss-him instead? Since the usual methods for voicing concern or discontent aren’t available to most of us, I invite you to take action in another, small way. Do something nice for someone of another race that they might not expect. It could be as simple as holding the door for someone.



  1. I didn’t realize that the Valley Club closed down the website and phone number. I don’t think that they understand how badly they misjudged our nation…

    peace, Villager

    Comment by Villager — Fri, 10 Jul 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  2. Well put, CS! Very well put. I got home yesterday after a week of absence and saw that on the news. I, too, was outraged with this sort of obvious racism. Almost as sickening as racism is the hypocrisy of these people. To hear them tell it, they don’t have a racist bone in their body. But their actions speak louder than their words. As a Caucasian who has seen my fair share of racism, I just don’t understand it. But I suppose it will never be eradicated.

    Comment by The Old Man — Fri, 10 Jul 2009 @ 10:20 pm

  3. @Villager:
    I agree. I amazed they’d even try to justify their behavior or their statements.

    @The Old Man:
    Thanks. I know the country’s not perfect and I know there are those who are vehemently racist. The Valley Club’s actions were straight out of the 1950s!

    Comment by cynicalsynapse — Sun, 12 Jul 2009 @ 7:52 am

  4. Please tell me this whole post is a joke. It’s not, though, is it? I’m guessing you are an Obama voter? Did you know that the director (an idiot for sure, I’ll give you that, but not for the reasons you think) had previously rescinded invitations on two separate occasions for groups that were predominantly white? Do you have any explanation for this obvious consistency? He is consistently an idiot, but a racist he is not, at least not as demonstrated in this case. With all of the things going on in our country and the world, it is nothing short of a crying shame that so many people have decided to get worked up over this non-issue. Do sensitive caring people like you and people in The Race Industry constantly need a big bad racist to do battle with? Do you (the good) not exist unless your racist (the evil) counterpart is out there? On a side note, racism in PA? I though racism only happened in the south…

    Comment by Jill Cohen — Mon, 13 Jul 2009 @ 4:37 am

    • Jim, thank you for your thoughts.

      Whether or not Dr. Duesler rescinded invitations with other groups is not the point. The facts at hand are Creative Steps had contracted with The Valley Club and paid for their use of the facility. The Valley Club knew Creative Steps was bringing 65 children and on what days and time periods. As a result, the claim of a safety issue after the fact doesn’t hold water (no pun intended).

      I wasn’t there that day (were you?) but several of the kids heard comments, as did Creative Steps’ director, including a remark by a member saying they wont be back.

      Subsequently, Creative Steps’ check was refunded and they were told they were no longer welcome at the club. The follow-on statement cited the complexion and changing atmosphere at the club.

      Whether there was an intent to be racist, I don’t know. But the sequence of events and public statements by The Valley Club are strong evidence to that effect.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Mon, 13 Jul 2009 @ 6:10 pm

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