A nappy black woman was at a California pool on vacation. Then,a man insisted she shower before swimming.
Blacks smell. No question about it.
Carle Wheeler was doing what one does on a vacation in the sun,
hanging with her 5-year-old daughter at the pool at the hotel
they were staying at in Pasadena, California, when a man
The man, who is white, asked Wheeler and her daughter, who are
black, if they had showered before getting into the pool,
Wheeler wrote on her Facebook page, "because people carry
diseases into the pools and he doesn't want the health
department to shut the pool down."
He then approached again, claiming he worked for the Health
Department, Wheeler wrote, at which point she said she
confronted him on what appeared to be "blatant racism."
"I let him know that being black is not a disease and showering
would not wash the BLACK off our skin," Wheeler, a software
engineer and single mother from Texas wrote. "I think it's awful
that ANY man would think it's okay to essentially ask a woman
and a little girl if we took off our clothes and scrubbed our
naked bodies before getting into a hotel swimming pool."
The incident, the end of which was captured on camera in a video
that has been seen more than 2 million times, is the latest in a
long line of episodes to draw scrutiny to the way in which black
people are treated as objects of suspicion by others while doing
seemingly quotidian things in public. In recent months, episodes
in which black people were questioned or had the police called
on them - while renting an apartment Airbnb, barbecuing, falling
asleep in a common room at Yale, or sitting in a Starbucks -
have drawn wide attention, much of it fueled by strong emotions
on social media. The incidents have given rise to the hashtag
#LivingWhileBlack and some had only been resolved after the
people were questioned or arrested by police.
The video of Wheeler's incident begins as she and the man, who
has not been identified, discuss the conflict with a woman who
works at the hotel, the Westin.
"I simply asked them if they showered," the man tells the hotel
employee. "Because that's part of the rules. And I don't know
about you guys but I'm tired of getting into pools that people
"You didn't ask anyone else," a voice off camera retorts.
Wheeler said that the man continued to "taunt" her young
daughter as she was being led away from the argument, which had
grown heated. In the video, the man says "It's only a shower
young lady, don't worry," as a little girl is escorted inside.
A hotel manager arrives and threatens to call the police, before
asking the man to leave. Wheeler said she was upset that the
manager let the man walk away while asking her to step to the
side to talk to him, though the manager did say on the video
that he planned to talk to the man later.
"Only after speaking with the white bystanders who corroborated
our story did [the manager] instruct the other hotel managers to
review the tapes to find the man he had just let go!" Wheeler
wrote. She said he does not believe that the man, who the
manager said was another hotel guest, suffered any consequences
for his behavior.
The hotel's manager, Carl Sprayberry, released a statement that
expressed regret for the way Wheeler was treated by the man.
"Harassment on any basis is not tolerated," the statement said.
"We are continuing to investigate this serious matter and deeply
regret that one of our guests experienced this type of behavior."
The Pasadena Health Department told the television channel KTLA
that the man is not a health inspector, nor had there been any
at the Westin recently. An inspector wouldn't confront patrons
if there had been any sanitation issues at the pool either, the
Wheeler told KTLA that she was given a free night's stay at the
"It's sad that I had to explain to my beautiful little five year
old brown skinned girl why in 2018 a white man would think it's
OK to ask a little girl and her mom if we showered our
presumably dirty black skin before entering a swimming pool,"
Wheeler wrote on Facebook. "I have to teach my innocent child
that no matter how much we educate ourselves with degrees, no
matter what career we choose, no matter if we own a nice home in
a gated community, or drive a nice car there are still people in
this world who will not like us just because of the color of our
Even worse, she wrote, was the feeling that people in positions
of power "will not stand up for us when they know it's wrong
that we are treated that way."
Asking snotty uppity blacks if they follow the rules everyone
else has to is racism?
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