The Red Cross Just Apologized For This Racist Poster

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The Red Cross gets into hot water

1. The Red Cross Gets Into Hot Water

The Short of It:

The Red Cross is having to take a couple of laps after being accused of racial insensitivity.

The Longer Version of It:

If you've ever been to a public pool you've undoubtedly encountered the various safety rules to keep the area safe, no running, no pushing, no diving head first, etc.. Margaret Sawyer recently came across a poster at a pool in Salida, Colorado, which gave swimmers a heads up on the pool rules by depicting a crowd of kids taking part in different poolside do's and dont's that were "cool" and "not cool". A closer look at the activities and the kids taking part in them, and Sawyer realized that something was off.

What Sawyer noticed when she took a closer look was that all of the kids acting "not cool" were children of color. Five red arrows indicating "not cool" behavior pointed directly at kids who darker than the kids playing around in the pool. One dives into the pool head first, two others run past the pool's wet edge, another appears to be pretending to drown. Sawyer explained to NBC affiliate KUSA that originally she thought the poster might be a mistake, or simply a coincidence but then when she saw depiction posted at another pool over 200 miles away in Fort Morgan, Colorado, she decided it was time to contact the pool's management and to share the poster on Twitter.

"I saw this one and I just kept thinking, ‘it looks like they're trying to do something here that shows all kids together of all different backgrounds, but they're clearly not hitting the mark," Sawyer said.

Those on social media who agreed with Sawyer and took issue with the poster found fault in the fact that only children of color were doing dangerous activities. In response to the backlash, the Red Cross issued an official apology and promised they would discontinue the 2014 poster. The image will also be removed from the Red Cross's website, app, and partner facilities.

The Takeaway:

The Red Cross poster could simply be a testament to a campaigns that mean well but do more harm than good. There's a strong history of racism in America's public swimming pools and this poster in particular enforces an attitude to black youths that they won't be accepted there.

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