Woman Says ‘Pool’s Closed’ Notice Is Racist

Roger Croteau, San Antonio Express-News, July 15, 2008

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Mary Alice Altorfer is hosting a visit from her two grandchildren, whose father is African American. The children swam at the River Tree subdivision pool every day for about a week before someone posted a flier on the pool gate bearing a picture of a black man with a large afro haircut, his arms folded across his chest and the words “POOL’S CLOSED” superimposed.

“I didn’t even get the implication at first—then it hit me like a club,” Altorfer said. “I was furious. These are two little kids, and it just makes me angry. I was shocked and angry and hurt.”

Altorfer said only one black couple lives in the subdivision of 172 homes, which average about $200,000 in value, and they never use the pool. She added that the only African Americans who have used the pool in recent weeks are her 6-year-old granddaughter Isabel Martinez and 9-year-old grandson Nicholas Martinez.

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Altorfer filed a police report Monday afternoon. She said the officer who took the report was unsure what laws the posting of the flier violated but promised to research it. The officer could not be reached for comment.

Mel Soderberg, a member of the River Tree homeowners’ association board of directors, said he got a call asking if the pool really was closed after another resident found the flier on the gate to the pool area.

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Poolsclosed

Internet meme with catchphrase mistaken for racism.

[Editor’s Note: San Antonio’s KENS-TV report showing the Internet meme and also misunderstanding it can be viewed here.]


Pools Closed: An internet phenomenon associated with the ‘/b/’ random section of the 4chan imageboard. The users of this section anonymously logged onto Habbo Hotel, and using avatars of black people clothed in suits, along with a large afro, blockaded the Hotel’s pool from entry while shouting ‘Pools closed’ to users trying to enter.

The phenomenon has since increased in popularity, and the GNAA and myg0t trolling communities have also started to participate in the blockades.

[Editor’s Note: See also a YouTube video for a use of the “Pool’s Closed” meme here.]

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