Felice Leon, host of Unpack That on The Root, explained why she believes most black Americans are not good swimmers. Leon begins by citing a 2017 study that found that 64% of black children cannot swim. This figure compares to 45% of Latino children and 40% of non-Hispanic white children.
Without providing any evidence, Leon claims that Africans were better swimmers than people of European descent prior to colonialism. Following, she says that swimming pools were segregated by race in the south during Jim Crow. After segregation, Leon claims that black swimmers were often harassed and victims of violence. In addition, Leon states that white people began joining private pools, causing many public pools to either close or crumble.
Although blaming white people for the majority of black people not knowing how to swim in 2019 is ludicrous, Leon is right about one point. It is concerning that the majority of black children are unable to swim because there is a strong correlation between not knowing how to swim and drowning. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages one to four.
Leon concludes by stating that everyone has the choice to either sink or swim.
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