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So tired... - Zer Netmouse
May 2nd, 2008
11:37 am

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So tired...
Have not been getting enough sleep. I feel like I could sleep for days. Have begun shopping for a new mattress, which should help with the rest thing. Recommendations of stores or brands are welcome.

In other news, 60% of black kids in the U.S. can't swim and they suffer a much higher rate of drowning than white kids.

Uh, if anyone knows someone with black kids who don't know how to swim I'd be happy to give free lessons. I nearly drowned when I was a kid, but I have always loved swimming. I believe it would be best if every child were taught how to swim. I wonder how many public swimming pools there are in Detroit, compared to other cities, all of a sudden...

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From:grimfaire
Date:May 2nd, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
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I'm deatly afraid of swimming... not water/boating/etc... but swimming drives me crazy.

And honestly... I really hate statistics like that... how about stating them correctly? 60% of children in urban areas or 60% of children from economically disadvantaged households...there isn't anything stopping "black" kids from learning to swim... what is stopping them is their environment.

I call that imprecise science and really should be stopped for the betterment of all. All this does is promote stupid programs like swimming for inner city minorities... like what? so if john the child lives next to bill the child...neither has access to swimming or knows how to swim...single parent households, same school and economic factors... now john gets to learn to swim because he's black... while bill who is white doesn't? Like the amount of melanin in their skin has some factor that determines if they're going to drown or not.

ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!
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From:netmouse
Date:May 2nd, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
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Did you, uh, *read* the article?

I think there are certainly a mix of factors causing that statistic, but that doesn't mean the statistic isn't "correct". The statistic itself doesn't make any assertions about cause. You don't know if it's 60% of inner city kids or not. Could well be. Could be a mix of things. The article suggests it's possible a legacy of the jim crow laws that kept blacks out of pools so that parents are less likely to teach their kids to swim because they themselves don't know how. it points out there are few black competitive swimming athletes to be role models. There's a whole bunch of stuff going on.

A program like "Swimming for inner city minorities" is only stupid if it displaces other programs, or further segregates kids by creating classes that are not mixed race. *shrug* a mixed race set of classes that is free to some if not all would be great. I personally believe scholarships should be based on economic need, but outreach and promotion does need to be targeted to certain types of people to be effective. Basic marketing principles.

I don't think anyone should go boating without knowing how to swim, or at least float. Otherwise if the boat should capsize or you should fall off you're putting an unfair burden on the other people in the boat. Of course, so long as you always have proper safety gear (wear flotation vests, etc), that's less the case.
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From:grimfaire
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Yes I read the article.

And it reads as sloppy science. Too many unaccounted for variables to reach the conclusion they did. It's like if I went around and asked 1000 people if they like eggplant. Of that... 60% of the respondents with red hair didn't like eggplant... so wow... 60% of redheads don't like eggplant. Because we know hair color is an influencing factor in food choices.

What I'm trying to get across and believe needs changing is focusing on the wrong things. I think the most important part of that article was not 60% of "black" kids... but that there appeared to be a correlation between parents ability to swim and their kids. That seems to be a much better result with more importance than the color of ones skin.



And I didn't say I don't know HOW to swim. :)
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From:netmouse
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
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Please check out sageautumn's comment, as well.
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From:sageautumn
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Hrm.

While I agree with grimfaire that a bill that singles out black urban children like that... is stupid. And obviously the color of ones skin doesn't effect buoyancy.

I also know my husband can't swim. He's black, and grew up on a farm, and used to love to fish. Many of the people who attend his church, also cannot swim... and it is a rather prosperous, but rural country (Kentucky) church where people go fish all the time (as in, are near water). Mostly, they don't swim, and I've never heard of any of the kids there having swim lessons/etc. (The one time I asked, they thought I was crazy, then were very amused that I had taken lessons as a child.)

Although it sounds racist as hell, according to him, a lot of it has to do with not getting their hair wet. Seems it's a huge hassle, more so if you're female. Me, I've no idea why it is--but this church-congregation at least.. is neither urban nor economically disadvantaged. Could be when it comes to water skills, this church isn't the norm... but I'm not so sure it's abnormal either.

I agree, though... everyone--black, white, purple, red--should know (at the very minimum) the basics of how to swim and tread water.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. The hair thing sounds like it's related to how much work black people (especially women) are expected to do to keep their hair under control and styled instead of letting it look natural. For those who keep it really short, of course it would be less of an issue. Braids could also help.

Have you ever seen the movie Men Of Honor? based on true story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American to overcome vicious racial barricades imposed by the US Navy in its elite diving program. He was accepted into the program in 1952. It's a really good film.

I agree with one of the people in the article, who commented that 6-year-olds are fearless and love playing in the water. I have a hard time relating to not being able to swim, since I have been able to almost as long as I can remember. There are even quite a few ways to swim without getting your head under water. So I hope more awareness leads to more people learning, and making it a part of Black American culture like it was part of the culture where I grew up.
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From:sageautumn
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
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The hair thing sounds like it's related to how much work black people (especially women) are expected to do to keep their hair under control and styled instead of letting it look natural. Ohhhh, I know. You should've seen the looks I got for walking out in the rain without an umbrella after church. I never carry one... I don't use any products on my hair, and I figure "If it gets wet, it'll get dry." I said that exactly once, and was pulled aside later and told it was improper/unfeeling to say.

I've seen that film, and it is a very good one.
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From:mrissa
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
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Some South Asian immigrants died here recently when their truck went into a river in the dark. They died slowly, talking to the dispatch on their cell phones, and one of them was quoted in the newspaper as saying, "We do not know the swim." It broke my heart. And I got very worried very quickly, because we have a lot of immigrant kids here in Minneapolis, and we have a lot of water. I am particularly concerned that someone do some kind of outreach for Somali immigrant girls that points out to their parents that falling in is the problem, that even if their kid isn't allowed to go swimming, the problem is not solved. I know there's a Y that has women-only swimming hours because of the Somali population. I just hope that the women who are doing that swimming are reaching out to others in their immediate community.
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From:encorecrazay
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
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In Oregon, swimming was a REQUIRED course for graduation.
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From:dd_b
Date:May 2nd, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
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Why not typing or driving or something useful?
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From:encorecrazay
Date:May 2nd, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
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Because it's a state with lots of rivers and lakes and the Pacific Ocean. And it has a list of other requirements like the ability to balance a checking account and complete an employment application.
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From:kickaha
Date:May 2nd, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a similar requirement. To graduate, you must be able to pass a basic swim test. (Waivers for physical disability or phobia are available.)
From:kitschicat
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
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We purchased our mattress/boxspring at Art Van and used their measuring system where you lay down and it assesses your sleep needs/style and makes a recommendation based on that. We purchased the Kingsdown (http://www.kingsdown.com/) set and LOVE it. Worth checking out. :)
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From:sageautumn
Date:May 2nd, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Oh... and I have a king-size SpringAir with a foam wrap around the outer sides. Love it, love it, love it. I can't tell you what model it is... except it's one level down from the individually wrapped coils, which seemed pointless.
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From:robyn_r
Date:May 3rd, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
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I can second the whole SpringAir matress. We love ours!

All stores model names are different by chain, even though the mattress may be made identically. We got the Queen-size "Brasswood" model from US-Matress.com. They have a demonstration showroom up in Plymouth 453-1300. We paid ~$2,100 for the whole shebang with tax. No flip, no rotate..
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From:robyn_r
Date:May 3rd, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
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Scratch that.. It is a Sealy SpringFree.. No springs..
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From:knightlygoddess
Date:May 2nd, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
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I've got a Queen BeautyRest (I think that makes it a "Simmons" brand) and love it, love it, love it. Have had it since 2001 and never sleep quite as well on any other bed as I do on this one.
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From:gerisullivan
Date:May 3rd, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
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I bought a latex mattress about 5 years ago after 20+ years on a waterbed. It's amazing, and holding up very well. I bought it from a discount mattress place in Minneapolis after checking out dozens of mattresses around town. Sorry; I don't remember the brand. It even made a backache disappear overnight rather than worsen. I'm still astounded by that.

My primary advice is to lay on lots of mattresses and listen to what your body tells you. For me, the mattresses that held the most appeal were the ones where my body "vanished" when I laid on them. On most mattresses, I could feel my hips, my legs, my shoulders, my back....there would be one or more pressure points that I'd be aware of. Just what those points would be varied from mattress to mattress.

When I first laid on a mattress with a memory foam topper, it was like my body disappeared (in a good way). The pure memory foam mattresses were too firm. The latex mattress turned out to be by far the best...for me. What's best for you may well be something completely different.
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From:filmmaker79
Date:May 3rd, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
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Might you be willing to teach a white grown up how to swim? I sort of learned when I was younger, but definitely wouldn't want to count on my own abilities to save me.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 3rd, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Sure, I'd be happy to.
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From:jeffreyab
Date:May 4th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
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That black people are less likely to be able to swim has cropped up on reality TV shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race which often have swimming obstacles.

Black contestants often had to wear life jackets and learn to swim on the fly.

If you live in the city far from a pool why would you need to learn?
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From:elizilla
Date:May 5th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
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I used to work with a woman who, in her previous job, taught phys ed (including swimming) in a disadvantaged inner city elementary school. I remember her telling me that black children generally had a lot more trouble in her swimming classes. She thought there were actual physical differences that made it harder for the black children to learn to swim. That there were racial differences in bone density, leg length, size of large motor muscles, amount of fat vs muscle, etc, which caused black children to weigh more than white children of similar size and shape, which made it harder for them to float.

I have no idea whether there was any factual basis for this, whether they weighed the children or did body fat testing or anything. I felt uncomfortable with this topic of conversation and I didn't encourage her to take it any farther. But I do remember her having interesting things to say about specific people's individual body proportions, weight distributions, gaits, the way that they moved, etc, that explained why certain sports came more easily to one individual than to another. So I suppose if there were something to observe there, she'd be the one to spot it.

I've had some large weight fluctuations in my lifetime and I have noticed that it was surprisingly easy to swim when I was overweight, compared to how it felt when I've been thinner. But if this was enough to account for the difference in children's swimming abilities, I'd think it would also mean men were less likely to be able to swim, than women are, and I've never noticed anything like that. OTOH any increased aptitude due to relative fat/muscle ratios are probably more than masked by the social pressures on overweight women to never appear in public in a swimsuit.
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