The Red Cross has become the subject of immense criticism over a “racist” poster shared on social media.
The poster, titled “Be Cool, Follow the Rules,” intends to teach children how to behave at a swimming pool. It features children of different races together in the pool. However, while white children have been shown swimming and diving (activities labelled “cool”), those of other races can be seen either pushing, running or carrying beverages (activities labelled “not cool”).
The poster can be viewed at the bottom of the story.
Margaret Sawyer, who was traveling through the area, saw the poster at two locations in Colorado and requested that one of them be taken down.
“I saw this one and I just kept thinking, ‘It looks like they’re trying to do something here that shows all kids together of all different backgrounds but they’re clearly not hitting the mark,” Sawyer said, as reported by KUSA.
The poster has been taken from a 2014 safe swimming campaign, the website noted.
As reported by ABC News, several people took to social media to criticize the organization. A Twitter user said that “a new pool poster” should be sent out because the one in question is “super racist.”
The Red Cross issued an official statement, apologizing that “it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone.”
“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 Red Cross said. The poster has been taken down from the organization’s website and Swim app.
“We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward.”
Ebony Rosemond, founder of Black Kids Swim, says she believes the apology is not adequate.
“We want to restate that that apology is insufficient,” Rosemond said. “And their system for creating and evaluating material needs to be looked at, and they need to be extremely diligent to make sure that every poster is taken down.”