Skip to comments.In Phoenix, A New Quest For Diverse Public Pool Lifeguards
Posted on 04/06/2013 11:58:37 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
After noticing that most of the lifeguards at the public pools used by Latino and African-American kids were white, the Phoenix aquatics department decided to try to recruit minorities.
More than 90 percent of the students at Alhambra High are black, Latino or Asian. On a recruiting effort there over the winter, the city's Melissa Boyle tells students she's not looking for strong swimmers. Like many under-resourced schools, Alhambra doesn't have a swim team.
"We will work with you in your swimming abilities," Boyle says.
Boyle's colleague Kelly Martinez takes on the delicate task of explaining the scenario the city is trying to correct.
"The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white," she says, "and we don't like that. The kids don't relate; there's language issues."
Martinez turns to a Latina student to her. "Do you speak Spanish?" she asks. "We need more lifeguards who can speak Spanish."
Competitive swimming still has a reputation as a white sport. And a national study released in 2010 found African-Americans and Latinos reported much lower swimming proficiency compared to whites.
"It's that catch-22," says Becky Hulett, who oversees Phoenix's public pools. "If the kids don't learn how to swim, as adults they are not going to swim, [and] they aren't going to take their own kids to swim."
So two years ago, Hulett began rethinking lifeguard . Traditionally, Phoenix's 500 lifeguards came from more affluent parts of town, most of which are farther from the public pools.
"It really populated from schools that had swim teams, and so that was our feeder into our lifeguarding programs," she says.
To help diversify its lifeguard ranks, the city raised about $15,000 over the past two years in scholarships to offset the cost of lifeguard-certification . Recruits who pass a swim test at the end can apply to be city lifeguards.
As the teens swim laps at Alhambra, it's clear many haven't had much formal training. But the coaches of the course aren't fazed and are prepared to put in the time to teach.
"Honestly, I have a little bit a fear of the water, and I wanted to overcome that fear," says high school junior Jesus Jimenez. He didn't grow up going to pools with his family but likes the idea of lifeguarding.
"It is nice to have the satisfaction of knowing that if somebody is in trouble you can save them at any time," he says.
If he is selected to be a lifeguard, other pool staff will work with him on his swimming skills all summer.
Why would you want lifeguards to be strong swimmers? That is so old school...
Serious, you can't make this crap up.
The jackasses in this country just can’t get over their goofy obsession with skin color and sexual disorientation. Personally, I don’t care what color a lifeguard is. I prefer that they are capable and qualified. Their skin color isn’t much help when some one is drowning and I don’t think many people have a preference as to the lifeguard’s skin color when they are drowning. It’s time for the taxpayers to start kickin’ the asses of some of these goofy public servants. They’re all morons.
In the mean time all the white pools will be adequately staffed.
So now we can look at black *lifeguards* with the same “is he/she really qualified or is this an affirmative action hire?” thought that occurs when most of see a black doctor,lawyer,President,cop,etc,etc.
When this article was posted a few days ago, I posted Kelly Martinez’s email addy at Parks and Recreation. I wonder if anybody ever got a reply?
The white lifeguards should quit in mass, due to the overt racism.
Imagine noticing most of the lifeguards at a ‘white pool’ were black/latino, and then starting a program to correct that, even if it meant dangerously lowering the standards.
When the white lifeguards quit (before they are replaced), those minority pools will be forced to close.
This same logic would require handicapped lifeguards for handicapped swimmers....blind lifeguards for blind swimmers....and obese lifeguards for hefty XXL lifeguards for big-boy swimmers.
White kids take martial arts from non-whites all the time, even though the instructor does not speak good English. They watch the moves, learn the main words, and go for it.
Why can’t hispanic kids do that? They do it in baseball and elsewhere.
Does this city have a Risk Management Department to advise them on the possible financial consequences of having incompetent life guards on duty?
Hey, at least if someone Hispanic drowns, they will die in peace knowing it was a Hispanic trying to save them.
This will be coming to the military too.
“We don’t care if you can shoot and have any leadership ability or tactical sense or are able to carry large loads. We need our services to resemble the country they will fail to defend.”
San Francisco, a few years ago, celebrated the first “all female firehouse.” I asked my 6’5” 300 pound friend (no, he is not fat) how thrilled he’d be to see that engine comapny pull up in front of a burning building he was trapped in.
These folks are so nutso.
life guard certification requires both written and practical examination. If they no longer require certification then liability will become a major issue.
Have they gone through whistle blowing school? “Hey You! Get Outta Da Pool!”
Apparently Kelly Martinez would “like that” better. She doesn’t seem to like white people very much.
The first drowning at one of those pools ought to draw quite an interesting lawsuit in response.
Yes, the white lifeguards should quit, due to the overt racism and lowered safety standards brought to their pools by their administrators.
If a kid should drown--God forbid--I'm sure the city administration will happily pay the kid's family millions extracted from the wealthiest in their community. Won't that be fair and poetic? /sarc
In another article she said that the pool is filled with black and hispanic kids, but all the lifeguards were white, and WE DON’T LIKE THAT.
Imagine if it was the other way round, her racism would put her out of a job. Here her racism is regarded as liberal brilliance.
Racism is only bad if liberal enemies can be accused of it. When liberals actually are racist, it’s celebrated as brilliance.