No segregation: Everyone into the pool

Carey Johnson

No segregation: Everyone into the pool

After reading a recent story out of Wendell, I just have so many questions.

If you haven't heard about the story, let me fill you in.

I you have heard the story, I'll take a moment to refresh your memory.

Owners of the Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell have been questioned about their rules and policies that, on their face, appear to prohibit certain types of people.

I'll let you determine who those types of people are for yourself.

A sign at the pool states: No baggy pants, no dread-locks/weaves/extensions ... permitted.

Okay, let me be as generous about this as I can.

I suspect if you have a pool and are responsible for keeping it clean and filters operating optimally, perhaps, artificial hair can come out during swimming excursions and they could, perhaps, clog drains and the like.

And, someone who might not be as versed in dreadlocks could perhaps assume that such hair may be artificial or runs the risk of coming loose, also creating the hazard of clogging drains and filters.

For the moment, I won't mention that, most often, the hairstyles in question are more commonly worn by people of color.

However, I do have to ask the query: Why would a pool not allow the wearing of baggy pants?

Again, to be generous, an argument could be made that baggy pants in a pool could swell with water, creating a drowning hazard.

And, to be fair, in my older age, I do not find the sight of baggy pants or shorts particularly appealing. I'm not a fan of underwear as an anytime, any place fashion statement.

Yet again, though, baggy pants/shorts as fashion is generally the domain of younger people of color.

Let me be clear, here. The Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell, while it may sound like a town- or city-operated facility, it is indeed a private venture.

In that respect, an argument can be made that: It's their property. They can do with it what they want.

That may very well indeed be the case.

But, it does not mean that their actions should not warrant justified criticism from the community.

So, whether the operators of the Outdoor Recreation Center of Wendell realized it, or not, their rules and regulations appear to target people of color.

It has certainly been a hot-button topic in that community.

And, quite frankly, the issues surrounding it probably touch a nerve in Franklin County, too.

A recent parks and recreation survey revealed -- yet again -- that a community aquatics center (read community swimming pool) is a top recreational request.

Franklin County has been around for 240 years.

Most population estimates put Franklin County at more than 66,000 people.

So, while there are a number of private swimming pools and clubs, there is not one public, community swimming pool.

There may be many reasons for this. You'll hear stories about cost and liability.

And you might even hear arguments about location and access.

But, it is incredibly difficult to not hear whispers from the past about segregation and how that became a