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Why Don't Black Americans Swim

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11172054

A month ago, six African-American teenagers drowned in a single incident in Louisiana, prompting soul-searching about why so many young black Americans can't swim.

When 15-year-old DeKendrix Warner accidentally stepped into deeper water while wading in the Red River in Shreveport, he panicked.

JaTavious Warner, 17, Takeitha Warner, 13, JaMarcus Warner, 14, Litrelle Stewart, 18, Latevin Stewart, 15, and LaDarius Stewart, 17, rushed to help him and each other.

None of them could swim. All six drowned. DeKendrix was rescued by a passer-by.

I really don't get this story, is it that difficult to swim. I always thought swimming was like whistling insofar as you put your lips together and blow i.e. just push your arms forward and kick your legs. Clearly not, swimming really is something you need to be taught?

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Yes, you would think Americans would learn to swim, given that they all have heated swimming pools in the garden of their mansions! :blink:

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rushed to help him and each other.

Sorry but the 'old lady who swallowed a fly' aspect is hilarious.

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Sorry but the 'old lady who swallowed a fly' aspect is hilarious.

It's really sad. People go to help each other all the time and end up drowning. Yet the number of times the original victim is later rescued is incredible. Happened in this story too. Happens with dogs all the time, particularly when they fall through ice. The moral dilemma must be horrendous.

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swimming really is something you need to be taught?

Absolutely 100%. Well at least learn, as you can teach yourself like I did. Took a few hours.

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I'm pretty sure the parents or grandparents of these people would have been denied entry to a "Whites Only" public swimming pool at some time! Parts of the USA were like that! :o

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Yes, a terrible tragedy.

Lots of people in Africa, Asia, South America do not learn to swim because the places where they can learn to swim are full of things that like to eat people - so they never learn.

I think you are asking the wider question about why people of African-American heritage do not swim?

I have several African American friends, and also Brits of African/Caribbean heritage, and all want to run a mile when I mention going swimming or, worse, going for a surf or bodyboard.

I recall a BBC documentary in the 1980s which actualyl put forward the agument that slight differents in the lower back, and ensuing different in muscles, made it difficult for people of African American heritage to compete as swimmers. However, what stopped them being fantastic swimmers made them superb runners, especially sprinters. Likewise, in reverse, what made caucasians great swimmers made us not so great at sprinting.

How or why this stops ordinary African Americans in the US from being able to actually be able to swim enough to stay alive is a big leap though.

Perhaps it is just poor poverty - a lack of free places to learn to swim? If you come from 2 or 3 generations of people who have never swimmed then you will probably have never been taught.

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What a terrible tragedy

It is a tragedy! And an accident! They do happen!! :o

Not sure how fast the water was going, or how cold it might be! maybe the ability to swim might not have been enough! :(

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how many coloured/black (never sure what term to use so delete which ever least offends you) swimmers do you get compeating at the olympics?

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Yes, a terrible tragedy.

Lots of people in Africa, Asia, South America do not learn to swim because the places where they can learn to swim are full of things that like to eat people - so they never learn.

I think you are asking the wider question about why people of African-American heritage do not swim?

I have several African American friends, and also Brits of African/Caribbean heritage, and all want to run a mile when I mention going swimming or, worse, going for a surf or bodyboard.

I recall a BBC documentary in the 1980s which actualyl put forward the agument that slight differents in the lower back, and ensuing different in muscles, made it difficult for people of African American heritage to compete as swimmers. However, what stopped them being fantastic swimmers made them superb runners, especially sprinters. Likewise, in reverse, what made caucasians great swimmers made us not so great at sprinting.

How or why this stops ordinary African Americans in the US from being able to actually be able to swim enough to stay alive is a big leap though.

Perhaps it is just poor poverty - a lack of free places to learn to swim? If you come from 2 or 3 generations of people who have never swimmed then you will probably have never been taught.

The link I posted explains its not because of build or anything like that. Black people CAN swim. Apparently they were excellent swimmers before the slave trade. Then because of fear of escape the kids were banned from learning. After that I guess it's lack of interest and focus. Things like Basket Ball in the USA earn money. Swimming doesn't. Unless you are the worlds no1.

For example "African-American world and Olympic champion and 100m freestyle record-holder - Cullen Jones."

Genetics and bone density / build are just urban myths.

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how many coloured/black (never sure what term to use so delete which ever least offends you) swimmers do you get compeating at the olympics?

Not sure if it's still the case but they did change the rules to get rid of the qualifying times so black swimmers could enter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Moussambani

Eric Moussambani Malonga (born May 31, 1978) is a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea. Nicknamed "Eric the Eel" by the media after the name first appeared in an article by Craig Lord in The Times newspaper in London, Moussambani won brief international fame at the 2000 Summer Olympics when he swam his heat of the 100 m freestyle in 1:52.72.[1] His time was more than twice that of his faster competitors, and outside even the 200 m world record. However, he set a new personal best and Equatoguinean national record.

However the Olympics do appear to have a bias. Eddie the Eagle Edwards wasn't very good so they changed the rules to ensure he no longer qualified.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_%22The_Eagle%22_Edwards

The widespread attention that Edwards received in Calgary turned into a large embarrassment for the ski jumping establishment. Many athletes and officials felt that he was "making a mockery" of the sport[citation needed]. Shortly after the Olympics finished, the entry requirements were greatly toughened, making it next to impossible for anyone to follow his example[citation needed].

At the closing ceremony, the president of the Organizing Committee, Frank King, seemed to single out Edwards for his contribution: "At this Games, some competitors have won gold, some have broken records, and some of you have even soared like an eagle." [9]

The Eddie "The Eagle" Rule

In response to the Edwards phenomenon, in 1990, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) instituted what became known as the Eddie the Eagle Rule, which requires Olympic hopefuls to compete in international events and place in the top 30 percent or the top 50 competitors, whichever is fewer.

Edwards consequently failed to qualify for the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France and the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. He managed to get a 5-year sponsorship from Eagle Airlines, a small British charter company, to fund his attempt to reach the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan but failed to qualify for those as well.[7]

It seems the Olympics suffer from a dose of double standards.

Although I'm sure black swimmers would easily be able to make the grade if given the opportunity.

How many swimming pools exist in Africa for swimmers to train in?

Edited by interestrateripoff

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It is odd, but there are no world class Afro-Caribbean swimmers. But as an ethnic group they dominate the sprinting events. Is it purely a lack of opportunity, or is there a genuine physical difference between Caucasians and Afro-Caribbeans that leads to a difference in predisposition between the two?

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It is odd, but there are no world class Afro-Caribbean swimmers. But as an ethnic group they dominate the sprinting events. Is it purely a lack of opportunity, or is there a genuine physical difference between Caucasians and Afro-Caribbeans that leads to a difference in predisposition between the two?

They can't hold their breath you know, bit like sharks. Nah, there are all sorts of theories of why this is so in the same way boxers and such are always black. I have heard higher muscle density makes them sink. Also that they have a higher centre of gravity (belly button) which aids sprinting but hinders swimming.

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Cullen Jones (born February 29, 1984 in New York, New York) is an American freestyle sprint swimmer and Olympic gold medalist.

Cullen_article.jpg

There is plenty of info on google about the subject.

The reasons range from a difference in bone density and muscle fat to lack of training establishments (pools and coaches) and scholarships for (poorer black people). Clearly the latter seem to have a lot more credibility given the example of this Cullen Jones

Olympic Champions are 1 in perhaps a hundred million if you face disadvantage at the bottom of the chain you will never reach the top.

I suspect we will see more in the decades ahead......

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11172054

I really don't get this story, is it that difficult to swim. I always thought swimming was like whistling insofar as you put your lips together and blow i.e. just push your arms forward and kick your legs. Clearly not, swimming really is something you need to be taught?

Often a cultural thing. Probably a case of parents can't swim, therefore don't take kids swimming, therefore kids never learn. And the older they get, the more frightened they are of taking their feet off the bottom.

Vicious circle. And if they don't have compulsory swimming in schools....

Best age to 'learn' (or just do it) IMO is under 2, before they get frightened of having water splashed in their faces or putting faces underwater.

Edited by Mrs Bear

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Often a cultural thing. Probably a case of parents can't swim, therefore on't take kids swimming, therefore kids never learn. And the older they get, the more frightened they are of taking their feet off the bottom.

I think that is very likely!

I have just been thinking! Are any HPC-ers black, and maybe would like to comment! :blink:

If there aren't any black people here, well...

I should I wear a white sheet, get a burning cross, and write this off as another white supremacist site? :lol:

I can't see whether people are black or not, as we are on the internet and therefore hidden behind amusing avatars! :huh:

I used to date a black girl and she could swim very well, mind you she had a natural pair of floats! :)

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I think that is very likely!

I have just been thinking! Are any HPC-ers black, and maybe would like to comment! :blink:

If there aren't any black people here, well...

I should I wear a white sheet, get a burning cross, and write this off as another white supremacist site? :lol:

I can't see whether people are black or not, as we are on the internet and therefore hidden behind amusing avatars! :huh:

I used to date a black girl and she could swim very well, mind you she had a natural pair of floats! :)

Its an interesting thing...supposedly whites have more/bigger 'slow twitch' muscles than blacks, but blacks have more/bigger 'fast twitch' muscles than whites. Fast twitch being better for explosive things like punching, jumping etc, slow twitch being better for endurance...if that held true you might expect blacks to dominate short distance swimming but whites to dominate long distance swimming...and yet most long distance runners are indeed black, which suggests its all ********.

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Its an interesting thing...supposedly whites have more/bigger 'slow twitch' muscles than blacks, but blacks have more/bigger 'fast twitch' muscles than whites. Fast twitch being better for explosive things like punching, jumping etc, slow twitch being better for endurance...if that held true you might expect blacks to dominate short distance swimming but whites to dominate long distance swimming...and yet most long distance runners are indeed black, which suggests its all ********.

I'm sorry I didn't do all those things with her, just socialising,shopping and sex! :blink:

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The link I posted explains its not because of build or anything like that. Black people CAN swim. Apparently they were excellent swimmers before the slave trade. Then because of fear of escape the kids were banned from learning. After that I guess it's lack of interest and focus. Things like Basket Ball in the USA earn money. Swimming doesn't. Unless you are the worlds no1.

For example "African-American world and Olympic champion and 100m freestyle record-holder - Cullen Jones."

Genetics and bone density / build are just urban myths.

Of course people who are black can swim as can people of any other skin pigmentation. I was just adding to the discussion.

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It's really sad. People go to help each other all the time and end up drowning. Yet the number of times the original victim is later rescued is incredible. Happened in this story too. Happens with dogs all the time, particularly when they fall through ice. The moral dilemma must be horrendous.

Astonishing. This happened just today. What's the guessing it was an Easter break gone bad:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-17650868

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