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Date Posted:06/28/2018 03:08:02Copy HTML

Lately there have been increasing reports of racism at pools or on our beaches.

I live in Fort Lauderdale. Like many beaches in the South this was a whites only beach until recently.  At Las Olas Blvd there is a plaque marking the 1960's Wade-In. Having been excluded from the beach many people of color never learned to swim. This becomes generational, because you can't teach your kids to swim if you can't.

As a result, decades later, or beach is still dominated by white people. As a thong wearer I have empathy for people having the courage to brave disapproving looks. We all know the look, the one that means "I think you are out of place. Why don't you go back to your section of the beach?" 

So I have a personal policy of always smiling at people of color, any color. I smile, say Good Morning where appropriate, and make the effort to make them feel comfortable and welcome on the beach. 

By wearing a thong I am showing conservative conformity does not control, at least for diversity of swimsuits. 

By going out of my way to be welcoming, I hope to help right the wrongs of hundreds of years of hate and bigotry, and counteract the current crop of racists.  Racists who are deeply generational, and lately feeling unfettered.  

As we know from thonging, one hurtful slur, one bigoted comment, or one homophobic shout can sting: It can leave you fuming or confused for the rest of the day.

As we also know from thonging, although not as emotionally powerful, lots of smiles, thumbs up, kind words and a welcoming attitudes can offset the few hateful comments. 

So it is with race. We can't just be neutral. We can't just think  "I am not a racist."  We have to be actively welcoming to offset the frequent disapproving looks, and occasional outright racist tirades.   
John Howard #1

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/28/2018 04:45:04Copy HTML

 I have never seen the beach 'racism' that you are talking about, at least here in Australia.

You are doing a generalization that all white people are racists or bigots.  When locals spot people who are not from the area they might notice it and then they usually move on.

I think you could be a bit obsessed with racism and social injustices;  if I was a 'non white' which perhaps technically I am, and I was approached by you for the sake of the colour of my skin only and 'protect me' from the evil white people on the beach  I would feel myself been patronised.   Just my opinion.
Martylouie #2

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/29/2018 01:39:35Copy HTML

 John, it may be a right/left thing.  Not politics, but the side of the road we drive on.  In the US racism is a very sore subject. Idon’t know, maybe if we Yanks used more u’s things might be better.  You know things like colour, labour etc. 
Thongmad #3

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/29/2018 02:25:16Copy HTML

 This relates to thongs how..?
mainly_bikini #4

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/29/2018 03:01:21Copy HTML

 I had never really thought about this. It does seem that just being friendly in a non patronizing way is something we should strive for. Nothing wrong with making a conscious effort to make people feel welcomed.
JM_Runs #5

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/29/2018 12:05:40Copy HTML

This relates to thong wearing, because humans are social animals:

1) When wearing a thong people often feel shy: They don't know if they will be fully accepted as normal,  quietly shunned and ignored, being told they don't belong, or will overhear snide remarks; or having the unusual but really unpleasant experience of someone shouting insults.

This is the same uncertainty many people of color have when simply going to the beach or other traditionally white only venue.

2) As thong wearers your insecurity on the public stage is palatable: I see you reach for covering shorts when going to buy something from the concession stand. I hear you on the internet fretting about what thong is suitable for what venue, or worrying if thongs will be acceptable at all. 

In the US, and I am sure many other countries, people of color experienced the same anxiety in many social situations, but unlike you can't change their skin for the venue. 

3) One thing about the human animal is our natural reciprocity. If I do something for you, you will probably do something for me, maybe even feel obliged to return the gesture. If you make others feel welcome, safe and included they will return the favor: By encouraging their kids to talk to you, or by defending you from someone who may be hostile. They are not going to be the ones on the cell phone reporting you to the authorities. 

This is also true when you do something for the group:  Slay the threatening dragon, remove the Man-O-War jellyfish from where the kids are playing, or picking up litter. Acts to help the group make you a member of the group and not a threatening outsider. 

4) As thong wearers we are in a minority. I see you look around to see who is watching you. You think you are being discreet, but I know what is going on in your head. This causes low level anxiety and/or excitement in your brain, but it was your choice to push the envelope and be a little different. By making other minorities with similar anxiety about being a little different feel welcome we help our own cause. 

I notice some hostility at being reminded to care. If you feel hostile to a message that you should care, you are probably the person who needs to change.  You are probably the person for whom they put up the sign saying 'Pick-Up Your Litter'. Maybe because you did not learn this lesson in kindergarten and your parents did not teach you social skills.

Kindergarten lesson one: Be nice to everyone, make everyone feel included. Look around and see who might feel left out and make them feel at home.
cmp304 #6

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/29/2018 12:34:24Copy HTML

As I type this common sense is telling me to keep my mouth shut . . .
During the last, call it two years this coming November, there has been a very obvious increase in the volume of racist/hate/bias that I hear,  I live in a rural area of the US.  It is very obvious that our political climate right now has empowered something that I naively thought we at least made some progress in overcoming.  There is also a rejection of science, knowledge, innovation and discovery.  How does this affect thonging?  For the first time in my life I am actually concerned that we may be on the path to revoking basic civil rights.
thongalactic #7

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/29/2018 09:40:37Copy HTML

Probably the most relevant example of racism as it relates to thong-wearers: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. Basically, Myrtle Beach/ Horry County passed an anti-thong ordinance in response to its annual bike week, which is attended by mostly black motorcycle riders. Before the ordinance, the women would often wear thongs or skimpy bikinis. White people in Myrtle Beach don't like black bike week, so they try to discourage it by criminalizing aspects of it. Criminalizing thongs was one way they went about it. Not cool.
Thongmad #8

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 12:46:43Copy HTML

 I think likening  a few disparaging remarks about what you may or may not be wearing, to the thousands of years of racism (through many cultures, not just the white man) is totally patronising to those who have fallen foul to it.
As JH says, going out of you way to ‘make them feel welcome’ seems akin to treating them like a circus animal, and they somehow need your approval to be there.
I stand by my original post here; What on earth has wearing a thong got to do with racism?
thongalactic #9

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 05:03:49Copy HTML

Here's another way how racism relates to thong wearing: black people often avoid the sun for fear of getting "too dark." Black women especially experience this light-skin bias. So, the participation of black people in sunny activities like public thong wearing suffers. This is exactly what my girlfriend, who is black, has told me. It's a shame: all skin tones are beautiful! 
Davsim #10

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 05:22:45Copy HTML

You could also read race into all of the white people who go out of their way to tan in spite of the risk of skin cancer. Some even go to tanning salons. Is there something wrong with white skin? Maybe some blacks just realize how ridiculous it is to spend hours laying on a towel to darken their skin.
The Swan #11

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 06:33:20Copy HTML

I don't think tanning is ridiculous, and don't do it because I think something is wrong with my white skin.

I do it because: I like being near the water.
I think  I think look better with some color.I want the vitamin D in  my system.I am outdoors alot and don't want to burn. So I get a tan so I don't burn.
I'm not unsure what racism means any more. I've been called racist because I won't give a pan handler $5.A white girl I know was called racist because she would not a date a black guy she knows. Not because he's black, but because but half words he says are cuss words and he dropped out of high school.

thongalactic #12

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 09:15:35Copy HTML

Ah yes. So we learn that the *real* problems are (1) false accusations of racism against white people, and (2) tan-skin bias against white people. Glad to see you folks are on top of these important, pressing issues. /s
gw32 #13

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 09:16:41Copy HTML

 JM Runs: I totally get what you are saying. Thanks for expressing it. 
Thongmad: I'd say that JM Runs is being a little metaphorical. He is likening wearing a thong to racism as a simplification to make a point about acceptance and how simple actions can have huge effect. e.g. disparaging comment vs smiles and acceptance.
cmp304: I could not agree more.
hiker2 #14

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:06/30/2018 10:00:01Copy HTML

 What JM Runs said makes a lot of sense to me.
JM_Runs #15

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:07/01/2018 12:16:34Copy HTML

Thank you to the white people who provided alternate rationalizations for why colored people avoid the beach, other than the latent racism. True some avoid getting to dark, because of racist attitudes based on amount of black: 50 Shades of Racism.

BUT maybe you don't realize we have very little public park space in my City. We are a beach town. The beach is are largest and most popular park. The beach is the largest and most popular open space. In the summer it is often the coolest place outdoors, due to the fresh tropical sea breezes, powered by the trade winds, that blow most days.

In the summer most locals sit under large shade umbrellas. They are there because the beach is a great place to be, not because they need more tan. 

The sand, the waves, the sea breeze and the sea are things enjoyed by people of all colors. There are many ways to enjoy our beach, other than just tanning.  People put on SPF-30, put up shade umbrellas, and plan to stay all day.... because the beach is more than just a place for white folk to tan.

That many people of color don't feel completely comfortable and welcome on the beach is a shame. It is difficult for many white people to understand how that feels.  How side glances, avoidance, or comments can be interpreted, or misinterpreted, as indicators even though they have won the legal right to play on the beach, they are still not fully welcome.

However thongers, especially male thongers, have experienced similar glances, avoidance, or comments. Little things that telegraph someone would be happier if you were not there.

Does this mean race and thonging are exactly the same? No. But it does mean that thongers, especially male thongers, have experienced how little social signals, whether intentional or not, can make you uncomfortable.  Conversely a few compliments, smiles or simply the action of a family coming to sit near you can signal social acceptance, to you and others on the beach.  Small things that make one feel accepted and welcome.   
Thongmad #16

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:07/01/2018 03:54:27Copy HTML

 gw32;  I think the whole argument here is upside down.

I get what the comparison is MEANT to be, however general it may have been intended to be. Disliking another person because of their choices (ie: religion, having tattoos, wearing a thong etc (well ok, religious persecution is close to racism)) is one thing,  but hating another being because of their race (something absolutely beyond their control) is another thing altogether, and I think incomparable to the primary subject/issues of this board.

Let’s just agree to disagree on this one.
ithongit #17

Re:Racism at the pool or the beach

Date Posted:07/03/2018 03:12:14Copy HTML

Might I suggest to THONGMAD that maybe only topics related directly to thonging (and being only things the person can change or things the person could have done differently) are viable topics for this forum.  Racism is not about the person who appears different, but about the person who puts them down because they appear different.  There are of course non-physical differences between people as well.  Why do we put down people who live in a certain part of town, work as certain types of employment, have lots of kids, have a certain education or lack of education or whatever.  And there are many of these environmental or emotional things that can be downright scary.  I took a course in world religions.  The course was not taught from a "this is right and that is wrong" perspective.  Instead it covered the philosophies of many religions, the similarities and differences between some, and the ways these differences have caused alignment or alienation between people. By the end of the class, the only thing everyone could agree on was that not everyone could agree on all issues.

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