African American Studies | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Exercise Science | Health and Physical Education | Higher Education | Kinesiology | Leisure Studies | Other Rehabilitation and Therapy | Public Health | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


Black children between the ages of 5 and 14 are 2.6 times more likely to drown than white children. A systematic exclusion from public pools and other forms of water activities over time has led to a lack of cultural capital involving aquatics among black families. Pierre Bourdieu has provided a theoretical foundation in which to understand this issue. The social fields created by generational socialization have made blacks feel like they have no place in the water. It will take a restructuring of the social institutions to set in motion the socialization (or a re-socialization) of new and more positive attitudes concerning swimming in the black community. Reversing the way African Americans interact with water will create new opportunities to adjust the way blacks view swimming, and in turn, will lead to the creation of new social structures encouraging blacks to return to the water. This research suggests a larger focus on swimming education in predominantly black schools. The continued development of swimming opportunities for blacks of all ages is warranted in the effort to reduce drowning risks.