Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Saturday asserted that a Phoenix program to hire more black and Latino lifeguards at public pools was the "same rationale that propped up Jim Crow for 80 years."
NPR last month reported that the city of Phoenix had set out to hire more minorities because more than 90 percent of the swimmers at some pools were black or Latino, but a majority of lifeguards were white.
On Saturday, Crystal Wright, editor of ConservativeBlackChick.com, snarked to Fox News that "if you're downing, you want to relate to a lifeguard that's going to save you, right guys?"
"Is there any social science evidence that shows that people don't want to be saved by people who have a different melanin content from they do?" Carlson wondered.
Wright said that Phoenix "would rather have people drown or risk drowning in our pools all in the name of diversity. It's the most perverse thing I've ever seen."
Co-host Alisyn Camerota pointed out that Phoenix had not said that children would be put in danger by diverse lifeguards, but that the program would help overcome a language barrier for Latino children with poor English skills.
"I'm a black American, I have no language barrier with a white person," Wright replied. "I'm talking to you and Tucker right now, we seem to be speaking English."
"This is the same rationale that propped up Jim Crow for 80 years, right?" Carlson opined. "You want to swim in a pool with people who look like you. You want to sit in the same bus or the same movie theater or use the same water fountain as people who look like you. It's diversity."
"Segregation," Wright agreed. "My parents grew up during segregation and they didn't really like to be on the beach and at pools and seeing white people be able to use a different beach. Phoenix is making no sense, and they're forcing some kind of segregation."
Wright added that the Phoenix program was not like former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's so-called "binders full of women," which she said was "common sense."
"Hispanics and blacks tend to not be as good swimmers as whites, and many more black Americans and Hispanics, actually those kids don't know how to swim," Wright concluded. "This is just putting -- it's not good."
(h/t: Media Matters)