Honestly, I've had this discussion ad nauseum. There is no instinctual dog-paddling that can over-ride the anxiety or terror, apparently. I've heard the claim made "i don't float' multiple times. I can't understand not floating, but seriously, I've heard all the claims and I still can't get my mind around it.
infinitywaltz: Jesus Christ! Six people drowned trying to save one kid! That is not easy to fathom.
Where do you intend people who live in projects take lessons?
If you arch your back, you WILL float. Some people need to put more effort into this than others and it's not something anyone ever *tells* you to do outside of swimming lessons, but I promise you, if you lie on your back and work at pointing your hips up, you WILL float.
My father was raised in Browsville, New York, the son of a truck driver. He was taken to a community center and taught to swim as young as he could be enrolled.
I've also heard about "going fishing with dad and getting kicked out of the boat to learn there on the spot", to which a lot of other people (white, black and otherwise) grimaced and nodded, leading me to suspect that while there is probably some truth to a cultural reticence to get into the water, there is equal evidence to suggest that dads can be fuckers.
As I said, I am aware that some don't have the opportunity. My comments were addressed to those who do, but do not avail themselves upon it.
I have never known a single Jew of any age, sex, country of origin, or level of affluence who could not swim, from NYCers my age to 97 year old grammas from Minsk.
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