A landlord putting up a “Whites Only” sign on her swimming pool? Not racist:
An Ohio landlord accused of discriminating against an African-American girl with a “white only” sign at her swimming pool told ABCNews.com that the sign was an antique and a decoration.
“I’m not a bad person,” said Jamie Hein of Cincinnati. “I don’t have any problem with race at all. It’s a historical sign.”
The sign in question reads, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.” It is dated 1931 and from Alabama.
Hein, 31, was unapologetic about the racist origins of the sign that she displayed at the entrance to her pool. She said she collects antiques and was given the sign as a gift. She also said that even though the sign seems to indicate that the pool is public, the pool is on her private property and “everybody has to ask before getting in my pool.”
Well, you know, no harm, no foul…
Michael Gunn, 40, is the man who took issue with Hein’s sign and filed a discrimination charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. He was a tenant in one of Hein’s properties.
“We invited my daughter, who is African-American, to visit and swim in the pool for the Memorial Day weekend,” Gunn wrote in his complaint. “The owner, Jamie Hein, accused my daughter of making the pool ‘cloudy’ because she used chemicals in her hair. Days later, she posted a sign on the gate to the pool which reads, ‘Public Swimming Pool, White Only.’”
Hein said that the sign had nothing to do with Gunn’s daughter and that it was already up at the time of that party, but cannot be seen when the gate is open.
Oh, well that’s better — she’d already posted a “Whites Only” sign on the pool. It wasn’t in response to the horror of having a black girl swim in the pool with her hair full of chemicals that I can only assume included radon, lead, and ricin.
I must admit, it looks pretty bad for Hein, but she’s got a solid defense.
Gunn said the family previously “had unrestricted access to the pool area,” but Hein said that was not the case. She said everyone, including her own father, has to ask permission before swimming in her pool.
See? It was on her property! That makes it totally fine for her to discriminate against people because of the color of their skin, at least if you’re Ron and/or Rand Paul.
At any rate, it’s pretty awful of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to find that this was a violation of Gunn’s daughter’s civil rights. Hein is clearly not a racist:
“I’ve never said anything to that child,” Hein said. “If I have to stick up for my white rights, I have to stick up for my white rights. It goes both ways.”
Jamie Hein: sticking up for her white right to put up a racist sign that echoes one of the worst times in American history, just because she happens to love history. Way to stick it to the man! What’s next — them telling her to stop burning crosses on her neighbors’ lawns? She’s just a historical re-enactor!
Honest to God, the only people in this country willing to admit to being racists are decent people who abhor racism, and want to try to get beyond their own internalized racism. I’ll admit, I am racist; I try to do better, and mostly I succeed (and sometimes I fail, and try to learn from my failures), but I figure I can’t do better if I don’t own up to the problem. And the most racist thing I’ve ever done is be pretty clueless about my own privilege. Hein actually put up a “Whites Only” sign on a pool. But she’s not racist. Racists never are.