AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER
"We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone."
The American Red Cross has issued a public apology for the use of a racist pool safety poster that singles out Black kids as examples of disruptive children.
The signage, which sparked much discussion after a photo of it went viral on social media, was seen on an American Red Cross Hospital signboard and features a large group of children of all races playing in and around a community pool. Underneath the words, “Be Cool, Follow The Rules,” a closer look at the sign reveals several bolded red arrows pointed at several of the children as examples of behavior that’s “cool” and behavior that’s “not cool.” All of the misbehaving kids on the poster who are identified as “not cool” are children of color, while all of those identified as “cool” are white, despite there being an almost-equal number of children of both races included on the poster.
Following an onslaught of backlash from social media, the hospital issued a statement apologizing for the poster’s offensive undertones and insisting that their organization has long been an advocate for diversity. “The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced,” the statement read. “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.” The organization also made a promise to create “materials” that better showcase the diverse nature of he communities they serve moving forward. “Going forward, we are developing more appropriate materials that are more representative of our workforce and the communities we serve,” the statement continued. “Our aquatic instructors have been notified of these concerns and we will advocate that our aquatic partner facilities remove the poster until revised materials are available.” The signage was also seen at two separate pool locations in Colorado, according to NBCBLK.
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