Now hiring: Minority lifeguards, no swimming skills required

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In a case of affirmative action run amok, the country’s sixth largest city is actively recruiting minority lifeguards — good swimming ability not necessary.

The City of Phoenix is trying to correct what they perceive to be a wrong. OK, I’m with them so far — correcting a wrong is a good thing.

The city’s 29 public pools are used mainly by minorities — blacks, Latinos and Asians — but the lifeguards looking over those swimmers are invariably white, and the city wants to change that. OK, I’m not a fan of affirmative action, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead.

Phoenix feels that this issue is so important, it’s willing to throw out any previous demonstrations of swimming ability. Weak swimmer? Come on in.

Now we have a problem.

A National Public Radio reporter accompanied Phoenix city employees Melissa Boyle and Kelly Martinez as they actively recruited lifeguards at the city’s Alhambra High. The school lacks a swim team but possesses something far more valuable to them — a 90 percent African-American student body.

And what of the new lifeguard’s ability to actually do the job? “We will work with you in your swimming abilities,” Boyle told NPR.

“The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white,” she said. “We don’t like that. The kids don’t relate; there’s language issues.”

All this time I thought diversity was a good thing.

NPR’s Jude Joffe-Block notes:

Competitive swimming still has a reputation as a white sport. And a national study released in 2010 found African-Americans and Latinos reported much lower swimming proficiency compared to whites.

“Honestly, I have a little bit a fear of the water, and I wanted to overcome that fear,” says high school junior Jesus Jimenez, one of the recruits. He didn’t grow up going to pools with his family but likes the idea of lifeguarding. 

”It is nice to have the satisfaction of knowing that if somebody is in trouble you can save them at any time,” he says.

So to recap, in order to give young, minority job-seekers a leg-up, the City of Phoenix is willing to place the lives of young minorities at risk. Good going, Phoenix. That’s what I call taking affirmative action to its illogical conclusion.

H/T Judicial Watch.


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