Minority Lifeguards Wanted in Phoenix: Swimming Abilities Optional

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


When a Latino kid is drowning, you can’t just send some white guy to pull him out. It might be better to let him die, but to have someone he can look up to as  role model sitting there watching him drown.

This isn’t madness. This is liberalism.

In a staggering case of affirmative action gone wild, officials in a major U.S. city are actually recruiting minorities to be lifeguards at public pools even if they’re not good swimmers. It’s all in the name of diversity.

To diversify the lifeguard force, Phoenix will spend thousands of dollars to recruit minorities even if they’re not strong swimmers, according to an official quoted in a news report. Blacks, Latinos and Asians who may not necessarily qualify can still get hired, says the city official who adds that “we will work with you in your swimming abilities.”

Meritocracy being discarded is bad enough in most jobs, but in areas where lifesaving skills are crucial and you can’t find qualified applicants with both the right race and skillset, choosing the right race over skillset is a close cousin to murder.

Boyle’s colleague Kelly Martinez takes on the delicate task of explaining the scenario the city is trying to correct.

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

And just imagine is a kid is drowning and doesn’t relate to his rescuer. This isn’t about language issues. Any lifeguard can learn a dozen basic phrases in Spanish, not that he should have to learn them since this is the United States. This is about the belief that race is representational and that this representation has to permeate every area of life.

Even the lifeguards have to be representational. It’s not enough to have someone sitting up there with the right skills. It has to be someone sitting up there of the right race.

  • Toni_Pereira

    I'm not sure what are the roots of racism, but it has certainly something to do with anti-racism. This is so stupid, so dishonest that makes me want to grab the white head that came up with this pilgrim idea, and drowning him/her in the pool!

    • Softly Bob

      That's a bit cruel. You can't leave him to drown. Send in a non-swimming Hispanic disabled lesbian lifeguard to rescue him!

      • Toni_Pereira

        How racist of you, Sir! what about all those one-legged korean transgenders waiting for a non-lifeguard job?

    • Grocer

      @ Toni Pereira

      Some racists are created by so called anti-racists. I bet about 10% to 20% are created that way.
      Anti racists can be so obnoxious & some so evil that regardless of their good intentions a the start their actions cannot be distinguished from racists who had no good intention in the beginning.

      Use the analogy of free radicals. Racists & so called anti-racists are like free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that will take a well adjusted molecule, mess it up & turn it into a free radical also.

  • Elizabeth

    The act of saving someone's life is pretty colorblind, unless you see life through a racial prism.
    Learn the word 'HELP' in Spanish and you're good to go.

    • Mary Sue

      For those who see life through a racial prism, the term "Colorblind" is interpreted in their minds as "Oh the blackness is bad so you don't see it/don't want to see it so you are actually still racist".

    • Spikey1

      Everyone in the USA need to know the word 'HELP' in English or expect not to receive any when needed.

      • Elizabeth

        Spikey1,
        I understand your sentiment that people should learn English; we shouldn't have to learn their language. But in this case it's the responsibility of the lifeguard to be as proficient as possible in lifesaving, and understanding a cry for help in Spanish could help to that end.

        • Spikey1

          Last I checked I was in the USA and no I shouldn't have to learn a language other than English to communicate with people in this country.

          By you arguments I can see how all lifeguards may need to know some strange dialect of Tagalog just in case a filipino from the Basilan province happens to be drowning in a pool in the USA.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "The act of saving someone's life is pretty colorblind, unless you see life through a racial prism.
      Learn the word 'HELP' in Spanish and you're good to go."

      "AAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

  • Ar'nun

    This is nothing new. Boston did the same thing in the early 90's. Last year a woman, a grown woan, drowned in a public pool, and her body was under the water for weeks while the pool was still open.

  • RebeccaJean

    They better train them well or they will get their behinds sued off when someone's loved one drowns because the lifeguard had his hands full just trying to keep himself afloat.

    • kasandra

      The political left killed through murder and starvation 100,000,000 people in the 20th Century trying to achieve its notion of utopia. A few drownings here and there mean nothing to them in their efforts to achieve an entirely proportional society. If this was about language, I'm sure it would be a lot easier to teach pool-goers to yell "Help!" if in trouble in the water than to teach non-swimmers to swim and to also teach them lifeguard techniques.

  • tagalog

    If the kids can't understand the language of the lifeguards, they need to get up to speed pretty quickly, either with their swimming skills or their language competence.

  • Spikey1

    "The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever"
    Where do all the white kids swim if not in a pool?
    I thought swimming was for racist white kids only.
    1/3 of hispanics are strong swimmers, all that could; run, jump or swim are already in this country.

    "there’s language issues"
    A person floating face down in the water and not moving – language plays no part.
    The sign for choking is the same in all languages.
    Black kids don't speak the same language as white kids.

    Have the people with disabilities heard of this program for I'm sure lifeguards in wheel chairs could just roll on into the pool and rescue someone.
    Come to think of it: How come public pools don't have wheelchair lifts?

    I had better stop…

  • jay

    If I ever vacation in Japan, it would never occur to me to force their lifeguards to learn my language in order to save me.

  • Atikva

    “The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and … the kids don't relate, there’s language issues.”

    So according to Kelly Martinez, the Latino and Black children are so stupid that they can't learn a foreign language? How come?

    Do schools prevent them from learning English by deliberately using Spanish as the teaching language (as I was able to witness in California)? Or are these children prevented by their gullible parents and educators from mixing with members of the majority, which is plain racism?

    This looks to me as a deliberate effort by politicians to prevent these children from integrating the American mainstream and competing for highly paid jobs in the future. Under the guise of "pampering minorities" the politicians actually mean to keep them alienated so that they will continue to vote for them and their handouts .

    Only the minorities have demonstrated long ago that they do not need the so-called "protection" of these exploiters to learn a foreign language, adjust to a new country's lifestyle and become highly successful among the majority.

    Shame on you, Phoenix, and shame on you, Arizona!

  • figment newton

    I would suggest allowing the pools to be segregated again —
    those with unqualified by minority appropriate lifeguards could live with the results, but

    someone would sue to gain admittance to the white pools.

    • figment newton

      *unqualified BUT minority appropriate

  • BS77

    What is next? Affirmative action surgeons…..you don't need to know much…just kinda figure it out….
    this will help you feel better about yourself……Unfortunately, the patient will not be feeling so good.

    • RebeccaJean

      I think we have those already.

      • tagalog

        Yeah, the guy who got Bakke's seat in the U.C. Davis Medical School back in the 1970s.

  • Questions

    We're not supposed to say this in polite company, but blacks are notoriously bad swimmers. I can't recall a single one in my high school who knew even the elementary crawl stroke. Good luck to the City of Phoenix in its search for nonwhite lifeguard talent. Officials there might as well wait forever to find the right person.

    • RebeccaJean

      I don't know whether they're bad swimmers or not but I remember Thomas Sowell wrote a book, I think it was Ethnic America where he discussed the various occupations that different ethnic groups gravitated to. Blacks went into social work by large numbers. Maybe blacks are just not interested in sitting around all day watching a bunch of people swimming. We ought to leave well enough alone and let people go into whatever occupation they choose.

  • Papa Whiskey

    What the left really has a problem with is the lifeguard's status as an authority figure. Only rarely do they have to actually jump in and save anyone. Most of their job is enforcing safety, such telling kids to stop ducking each other, fighting, running on wet surfaces, or what have you. Minority kids shouldn't have to take orders from no gabacho or no cracka — that's the idea.

    • Spikey1

      So we just need to find a swimmer that is; 1/3 black, 1/3 hispanic and 1/3 other.

    • Miranda Rose Smith

      Dear Mr. Whiskey:

      You may be right.

  • truebearing

    This is so silly. just drain the damned racist water from the pool and fill it with scorching hot sand. Then hire illegal aliens as lifeguards. They know how to deal with hot sand.

  • nick

    Cant wait to see what Obama care brings- they will being hiring homeless off the streets to work in clinics and ambulances too.

  • objectivefactsmatter

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

    Hmm. We can't worry about kids speaking English. That's so…anti-progressive. It's so "culturistic."

    Or maybe the kids are racist. That's OK because they only hate whites….and each other. But that's OK because…they're not white. Only whites are accountable for correcting and accommodating all feelings of inadequacy. It is after all the fault of the white man until he turns in to a raving lunatic progressive leftist.

  • Miranda Rose Smith

    This is a very ugly thought, but it occurred to me that the (presumably) lagrely White liberal upper crust, in Pheonix, doesn't care if the users of the public swimming pools, (many of whom are presumably Black and hispanic) DROWN. If you care whether somebody drowns or not, you want the pool he swims in to have a qualified lifeguard. You don't care if the lifeguard is green with purple polka dots.
    Never mind. Sooner or later, a swimmer will drown because the lifeguard was unqualified; the victim's family will sue the city, if the victim was Black or Hispanic, there will be screams of genocide and racism, with race hustlers in the media saying that the pool, which was largely used by Blacks and Hispanics, was staffed with unqualified lifeguards ON PURPOSE. Lo and behold, the City of Pheonix will start hiring qualified lifeguards.

    • figment newton

      but nobody's feelings will be hurt, that's what really matters.
      (sarc)

  • TWOCHIPS

    I am a former high school and college swimmer, a 7 season summer lifeguard and a lifeguard trainer who also taught swim lessons.

    You do not turn weak swimmers into strong swimmers overnight. Most high school swimmers swim 2500 yards about 100 times per year, that's 250,000 yards a season! Swimming takes skill, coordination and lots and lots of unique muscle development before one becomes a strong swimmer.

    If Phoenix does not have strong minority swimmers, that's their fault, shame on them!!!!! They have 29 pools where they should have been teaching swim lessons and starting up summer swim teams years ago.

    If they start doing the right thing now, then todays 13 & 14 year olds could be strong swimmers by the time they turn 16.

    Otherwise, its only fair that they should hire me with my limited basketball skills to play for the Phoenix Suns.