A private recreation center in Wake County is under fire for what some are calling racist pool rules. The Outdoor Recreation Center in Wendell shared a post on Facebook earlier this month detailing its rules, which included: “no baggy pants, no dread-locks/weaves/extensions or revealing clothes will be permitted or you will be asked to leave.”
The husband and wife co-owners said there was no racist intent to their rules, which they said have been posted in the pool office for years. They also told news outlets they apologize for their use of the word “dreadlock” and say the rules should have stated “no artificial hair.”
Critics and scholars, including Mark Anthony Neal, say the rules echo a long history of keeping black people out of private and public spaces. Neal and popular culture expert Natalie Bullock Brown join host Frank Stasio to talk about the story in the latest installment of #BackChannel, The State of Things’ recurring series connecting culture and context.
They also review “When They See Us,” Ava DuVernay’s new four-part dramatized series about the Central Park Five. The series has become one of the most popular on Netflix and led to new fallout for the real-life figures involved in the case.
Plus, it has been 30 years since the premiere of Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.” Neal and Bullock Brown analyze how the film and its soundtrack resonates today. And they share their take on the Netflix documentary “The Black Godfather,” which traces the story of NC-native Clarence Avant from his childhood in Climax, North Carolina to becoming one of the most prominent music executives and entrepreneurs who gave rise to the musical careers of artists like Bill Withers has mentored figures ranging from Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to Bill Clinton.
Natalie Bullock Brown is a filmmaker and teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University, and Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke professor and chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University in Durham.