While the American Red Cross sent hundreds of workers to West Virginia Monday to help residents cope with deadly flooding that killed 24, the aid organization was getting beat up on social media for a pool safety poster that was perceived as racist.
The poster, “Be Cool, Follow the Rules,” shows several white children who are labeled “Cool” for following pool safety rules, while all children of color are labeled “not cool.”
The Red Cross said Monday it would discontinue printing the poster immediately and removed it from their website and Swim App.
“The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced. We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone,” the Red Cross said in a statement to NBCBLK. “Going forward, we are developing more appropriate materials that are more representative of our workforce and the communities we serve. 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 poster went viral after it was spotted by a Twitter user in Colorado.
— John Sawyer (@JSawyer330) June 21, 2016
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) June 27, 2016
1. This is how Whiteness trolls.
2. Their accidents are always abstracted as benign “blunders”
3. They ain’t slickhttps://t.co/9BgH5BvL3L
— Arash Daneshzadeh (@A_Daneshzadeh) June 27, 2016
— laveencuisine (@_laveen_cuisine) June 27, 2016
HUH??? How did they not know? SMH https://t.co/fahXC8ZQZ5
— Tanisha Baker (@tanifitz) June 27, 2016
— cheryl (@ehcsztin) June 26, 2016
— Elsie Parker (@MsParkerazzi) June 27, 2016
In the poster, the label “cool” points toward a white girl and a white man with a baby around the pool.
The label “not cool” is affixed to children of color in the poster, including one who is pushing a white girl into a pool, one who is diving, one boy with an open mouth in the pool, and one running by the pool with what appears to be a Hispanic boy. It also is affixed to what appears to be an Asian boy drinking from a bottle while walking by the pool.
The poster also depicts other swimmers of color with no labels, and a white and black lifeguard supervising the pool.