A recent family trip to the public pool—in a somewhat rural area, but within driving distance of an urban area—showed how diversity can ruin even the simplest of pleasures. The minute we flip-flopped in to the crowded poolside area, three very large black women were engaged in a top-volume screaming match with three white police officers. The women, and their children, eventually left. I don't know what precipitated the screaming.
The crowd—and it was a dense crowd, both in the pool and out—was a sight to behold. Think of the population of several C-Train cars from Brooklyn transferred to a big pool. Whatever the race, it was a lot of people, and they were alarmingly rambunctious. I thought my small children were going to get knocked over a few times.
In New York itself recently, things apparently got a little more violent.
I think pools bring out racial tensions more than other venues. For one, everyone's half-naked. The clothing that makes for comfy barriers is gone. If you're black, white or Hispanic with full clothing on, well, you're really black, white or Hispanic with just your trunks on. And you're all smushed in together, sharing the same water. It's intimate—which is easy and unobjectionable amongst genetic kind, but grating otherwise. Roman or public Japanese baths work well for a reason.
Here in the good ol' multicultural USA, the race that shows up "first, with the most men" is going to win. If it's black folks, whites are just going to stay away. They'll install backyard pools of their own. Which they pay for, on top of paying the taxes to support the public pools. Kind of like private schools.
Just another quietly suffered cost of letting everyone in the pool.