Jun 28, 2016 8:11 AM

Red Cross apologizes, takes down pool safety poster identified as 'super racist'

SALIDA, Colo. - An American Red Cross pool safety poster in Colorado was removed, and the Red Cross issued an apology after viewers complained it was racist.

According to the Washington Post, the poster — titled “Be Cool, Follow The Rules” — depicts various children playing at the pool. But white children are labeled as behaving in a “cool” way while children of color who are depicted defying pool rules are labeled “not cool.”

Ebony Rosemond, who heads a Maryland-based organization called Black Kids Swim dedicated to helping young African Americans become swimmers, told The Washington Post that black children face a legacy of discrimination at public pools and beaches that makes them less likely to take up swimming as a recreational activity or sport.

“The current state of affairs is unfortunate, and images like the one created and circulated by the Red Cross make things worse,” said Rosemond. “In connection with the lack of images showing African Americans excelling in swimming, the poster doesn’t make you feel welcome — it suggests to a black child that you’re not welcome here.”

The poster's underlying racism was first flagged on social media by Margaret Sawyer who saw it poolside in two locations. She posted an image of it online, which drew criticism, including one commenter who called it "super racist."

The Red Cross has since issued a statement, saying it was not their 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.

"To this end, we have removed the poster from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production. We have notified all of our partner aquatic facilities requesting they take down the poster," the Red Cross said.

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