Inconceivable, of course. Whites-only swimming hours would be racist. What they’re actually offering are Muslim women-only swimming hours. That, of course, is not racist.
Note that KPBS moderators have to step into the comments field of this article to warn people that pointing out this Orwellian absurdity is verboten.
“YMCA Offers Women-Only Swim Hours For Muslim Women,” by Megan Burks for KPBS, June 26 (thanks to Aisha Saif):
With summer now in full swing, San Diegans are heading to beaches and pools to cool off and get exercise. But for East-African women in City Heights, taking a dip isn”t so easy. Many of them are Muslim and can”t swim in co-ed pools – but that”s changing.
Each Saturday, staff at the Copley YMCA in City Heights begin clearing out the pool and locker rooms early. They send their male lifeguards home and a female lifeguard and swim instructor clock on for a special after-hours lesson.
About 15 East African women and girls then file through the back doors for a women-only swim class. The YMCA began offering it this spring after moms and daughters in a group called City Heights Hope told the directors they can”t swim in front of men because they”re Muslim.
“We came here and I was just looking at the water and I was like, “˜Wow, I wish one day we could come and swim here,”" said Miriam Adam, 14.
Adam, whose parents emigrated from Eritrea, said she and the other group members initially asked the YMCA to include women-only services at its new facility, which isn”t scheduled to open until 2014. But the directors said they could start swim classes as quickly as the women could sign up. The class roster was full a month later.
For many of the women and girls, this is the first opportunity they”ve had to learn how to swim. The young girls are outfitted with arm floaties and taught to blow bubbles, while their older sisters and moms grasp Styrofoam barbells and cling to the walls to practice kicking.
“Kids I”ve never seen will walk in and know their way around the pool right away, whereas everybody that comes in will be like, “˜Can we do this? Can we do that? Can I do it already? Can I get in? Can I get in? Can we start the lesson now?”" said YMCA lifeguard Nicole Velasco. “So it”s a lot of fun to see that they really wanted to learn, too, not just get in and splash around.”
Before the YMCA started women-only swim classes, Birefes Ali hadn’t been in the water since she was a teenager in Ethiopia….