“Black People Don’t Swim – Right?” Wrong
- Black Media Network released a humorous video entitled “Black People Don’t Swim.” No, really, they did. It’s a part of their series @blackfolkdont that is currently in its third season. This is happening – in 2016.
We won’t share the video here because the story shouldn’t benefit from additional views, we won’t further the stereotype that Black people don’t swim, and we will not encourage the creation or broadcasting of this type of media. The best part of the piece was the gentleman at the very end saying that since New Orleans is surrounded by water, there should be a law making it mandatory for everyone to know how to swim – absolutely. Other educational, yet brief, portions of the video dealt with the historic exclusion of Blacks from public pools and the ‘hair’ issue which deters many Black girls and women from swimming. Unfortunately, the piece focuses on the fact that Black people don’t swim, can’t swim, and are afraid of swimming. Facts are facts – and 70% of African Americans cannot swim. However, just because Black people don’t swim doesn’t mean they can’t swim, it means they haven’t learned to – yet. And we should work to make sure they do. A humorous video is not the solution.
If you agree please like and share this post with your social media networks using the hashtag #BPMtakethevideodown and @blackfolkdont @BLKpublicmedia @blackkidsswim
Black Kids Swim chooses to focus on and build a future where that unfortunate statistic is no longer true. Our job is to highlight the many Black people who enjoy swimming and who are excelling as elite athletes in this sport. Our purpose is to give more Black children and adults access to the training and opportunities that we were denied for decades. Black Kids Swim is committed to permanently changing the current statistics and the stereotype that Black people don’t swim.
The unfortunate video was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That means we and YOU paid for the broadcasting of negative stereotypes about African Americans. CPB is a private non-profit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and funded by the federal government. Their mission is to “ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services.” They do this by giving away 70% of their federal funding to organizations like the National Black Programming Consortium whose goal is to “support diverse voices by developing, producing and distributing innovative media about the Black experience and by investing in visionary content makers.”
While we definitely support sharing the Black experience through media we strongly encourage CPB and the National Black Programming Consortium to think more carefully about how they portray the Black experience. We cannot build a positive future by poking fun of the past and making light of an unfortunate present.
Do you agree? Please like and share this post with your social media networks using the hashtag #BPMtakethevideodown and @blackfolkdont @BLKpublicmedia @blackkidsswim