But blacks are even worse, according to the Red Cross. Oh, we’re somewhat better at swimming than folks were 100 years ago; back then, almost nobody knew how, and lifeguards didn’t exist. Still, the numbers today come as a surprise to those of us who grew up doing competitive meets and working as lifeguards.
Red Cross says that more than half of all Americans (54 percent), and two-thirds of African-Americans (67 percent), cannot meet a basic set of water safety standards.
And by basic, they mean basic: really, these folks can’t tread water or float for one minute? Can’t step into water over their heads? Holy moly, no wonder there are so many river-related drownings around here! On a hot day, when people go wading along in the water and then hit that inevitable dropoff, they’re helpless. Amazing. It ain’t rocket science.