In a case of affirmative action run amok, a major U.S. city is looking for lifeguards based on race rather than on life-saving abilities.
The city of Phoenix is recruiting minority lifeguards for its 29 public pools, even if they’re not strong swimmers, reports NPR.
“We will work with you in your swimming abilities,” said the city’s Melissa Boyle.
Colleague Kelly Martinez explained to NPR: “The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white,” adding, “and we don’t like that. The kids don’t relate; there’s language issues.”
Most of Phoenix’s 500 lifeguards have come from parts of town not located near the city’s public pools.
So, in an effort to attract more minority lifeguards, Phoenix raised $15,000 over the past two years for scholarships to its lifeguard-certification courses. Recruits who pass a swim test can apply to become lifeguards.
The recruitment effort was begun by Becky Hulett, who supervises aquatics for the city of Phoenix.
When Hulett learned the reopening of eight pools last summer meant she would have to increase the lifeguard staff from 330 to 500, she decided to try a different approach to recruitment.
“We read in aquatic newsletters and magazines, there’s articles saying — you know, we as an industry are failing in this,” she said. “And how do we accomplish making lifeguards more diverse?”