Recently, a TikToker went viral after schooling her followers on the history behind the infamous stereotype regarding Black people not swimming.
According to BuzzFeed, Maya Echols posted the video to the social media platform explaining that “public swimming facilities such as pools and beaches were segregated by race.”
Echols then expounded on the violence and discrimination Black swimmers were subjected to when they attempted to enter public pools.
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“My grandma didn’t swim for this exact reason, let’s not act like black people got their rights a long time ago” the TikTok caption read.
Echols started the video by quoting a statistic from a 2017 study by the University of Memphis and the University of Las Vegas, which discussed the disproportionate number of Black children vs. white and Hispanic children who didn’t know how to swim.
“Sixty-four percent of Black kids do not know how to swim,” she disclosed.
@mayaecholsMy grandma didn’t swim for this exact reason, let’s not act like black people got their rights a long time ago.♬ original sound – Maya Echols
The TikTok video, which has garnered 1.2 million views, showed Echols citing painful examples of the abuse Black people suffered at the hands of white people, even in their own designated swimming areas.
“White people would come to these swimming pools and throw cleaning supplies or acid into the pools while Black children or families were swimming in them,” she said.
“This lasted for decades, and it caused a widespread fear of pools within the Black community.”
Echols also elaborated that whites viewed Blacks as unclean even when pools were desegregated.
To drive the lesson home, the young woman showed video footage of white hotel manager James Brock pouring cleaning chemicals into a busy pool as Black people demonstrated against segregation by jumping into the Monson Motor Lodge pool. The racist incident occurred on June 18, 1964, in St. Augustine, Florida.
The impromptu history lesson offered a much-needed reminder that times still haven’t changed.
“Through generations,” Echols concluded, “not swimming became a common trait within the Black community, and parents did not teach their kids how to swim because they never swam.”