A Viral TikTok Video Explains The Painful History Attributed To The Stereotype of Black People Not Swimming

A TikTok user’s explanation of the notorious stereotype of Black people has gone viral. TikToker Maya Echols, who is a signed model with IMG Worldwide, explained the historical ramifications of why Black people don’t swim.

Sister2Sister reported that Echols opened the video with a shocking statistic from a study written in 2017 by the University of Memphis and Las Vegas. The report highlighted the disproportionate number of Black children vs. white and Hispanic children who never learned how to swim.

“Sixty-four percent of Black kids do not know how to swim,” she said in the video.

Echols continued explaining that Black swimmers were subjected to humiliation and violence when they tried to go to public swimming pools saying, ”public swimming facilities such as pools and beaches were segregated by race.”

“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.

@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

She also mentioned the frightening truth about enslaved Africans journey to this land.

Echols also revealed the sad truth behind white people’s perceptions of Black people– even after public pools were desegregated. Whites saw Blacks as unclean.

“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 ended the TikTok video with a dreadful reminder of the traumatic experiences. Black people went through to use public swimming pools.

She added footage of a white hotel manager pouring cleaning chemicals into a swimming pool as Black people demonstrated against segregated pools. James Brock attacked those brave individuals by initiating chemical warfare at the Monson Motor Lodge pool. The racist incident occurred on June 18, 1964, in St. Augustine, Florida. 

Echols tied the horrific experiences together to shed light on the misconceptions about Blacks and their harrowing encounters with swimming pools.

“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.”

The TikTok video has garnered 1.2 million views and serves as a painful reminder of the not-so-distant past.