People of Color and the Fear of Water


My friend Jonathan Carroll over at Class is in Session is an educator, swim coach, tri-athlete, father and husband. The preventable and tragic drowning deaths of the 6 Louisiana teens in the Red River has everyone thinking about water safety and Jon, posting from press row at the 2010 USA Swimming National Championships, is no exception:

Data from a study done by the University of Memphis in partnership with USA Swimming indicates that FEAR is one of the biggest factors keeping parents from involving their kids in swim lessons. While I understand the initial hesitation, I would humbly direct those parents to the example of my mother, who doesn’t know how to swim, but was adamant that all three of her chidren (and now her grandson) learn how to swim. The fear of watching your little ones go through lessons is nothing compared to the lifetime anxiety you’ll feel every time you’re near a pool or open water with the knowledge that your loved ones can’t swim. For the ethnic families that worry about the damage that chlorine does to relaxed hair, go with braids for a summer, or au natural until the kids are water safe. The sad reality is that cities large and small will continue to cut pool time from their recreation budgets as long as the public does not make use of facilities. Swimming has been too good to me for me to look at it as a sport that is killing members of my community.

via Class Is In Session: Getting Over Fear of the Water.

Jonathan and his wife Nkechi also recently interviewed USA Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones for the upcoming 2nd season of their talk show A Breathe of Fresh Air With John and Nkechi. Click here to support USA Swimming and Jones’ Make a Splash safety initiative. You can sponsor or donate a swim lesson and also support parental water safety education.