A swimming safety poster about “cool” behavior has prompted a public apology from the American Red Cross over its “racist” depictions.
The sign shows children playing in and around a pool with the headline “Be Cool, Follow The Rules.” Of five kids seen being “not cool,” four are children of color.
Twitter poster Margaret Sawyer, the former executive director of the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, put up a photo of the poster after seeing it twice while on the road with her family this weekend.
“I’m just a citizen, I’m not an organization, but I would want the Red Cross to collaborate and build relationships with Black Kids Swim and other organizations that do advocacy around this so that this doesn’t happen again,” she wrote.
“Clearly, they’re thinking of themselves as only having one constituency and that’s not true,” she posted.
The Red Cross issued an apology Monday and said it had removed the poster from its website and asked all pools using it to take it down.
“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 group said in a statement.
The organization is consulting with a diversity advocacy group “for their guidance moving forward.”