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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Red Cross Apologizes For “Racist” Pool Safety Poster That Depicts Mostly Black Children Misbehaving

American Red Cross Racist Pool Sign

Nationwide — The American Red Cross has issued an official apology after one of its pool safety posters went viral on social media for being what many say is racist. The poster in question is designed to teach children how to follow the rules at a swimming pool, but it mostly labels the Black children as misbehaving or “not cool”. The white children, however, are mostly labeled as behaving and “cool”.

Ebony Rosemond, founder of an organization called Black Kids Swim, said, “In connection with the lack of images showing African Americans excelling in swimming, the poster doesn’t make you feel welcome — it suggests to a black child that you’re not welcome here.”

Margaret Sawyer, a woman traveling through Colorado, also said she did not like the poster. After seeing the poster displayed at two different pools, she reportedly requested that one of them be removed.

Meanwhile, American Red Cross issued an apology saying:

The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced. We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day.

To this end, we have removed the poster from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production. We have notified all of our partner aquatic facilities requesting they take down the poster. Our organization has emphasized to our partners and on social media that it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone and apologized for this inadvertent action. We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward.

Once again, we apologize for any inadvertent misunderstanding with regard to the production of this poster, and believe we have taken every step to address the situation.

To read the full statement, visit www.redcross.org/news/press-release/Red-Cross-Issues-Statement-on-Water-Safety-Poster