(Quotes from here...)
The North Miami police department dropped a swimming requirement for applicants, saying they need new officers and want to encourage blacks to sign up.
"Our swimming requirement may give the false perception that we are not serious in our efforts to hire Haitian police applicants," police chief Gwendolyn Boyd-Savage wrote in a memo explaining the decision. Boyd-Savage is black.
"They have been intimidated because they don't swim, very few of them swim," said Mayor Joe Celestin, who is Haitian-American. "They have the ability to learn how to swim, but many of them are not that great of a swimmer as the standard, current requirement that we have. We want to bring them in and give them a chance to learn."
Why would this be? Why would Haitians, of all people, be poor swimmers? You would think swimming would be encouraged in Haitian culture, since Haiti is an island nation.
This link to Google Answers asks an interesting, semi-related question:
"Do white people swim faster than black people, or is it just a myth?
If it is only a myth, why are the majority of swimmers white, and most
world records in swimming are set by white people?"
One person offered a hypothesis:
"Perhaps, because of economic factors, caucasians typically have more
access to swimming pools and swimming lessons."
But this hypothesis falls apart re:Haiti (and North Miami, for that matter) because of the easy access to the beach.
So the question remains: Why don't Haitians swim? Or is this applicable (in general) to black people as a group? And if so, why?