I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.
It seems that the concern with having people of a different race swim in their pools shown by southern whites during Jim Crow segregation is shared with many Lebanese:
According to the watchdog organization Human Rights Watch, 17 private beaches (out of a nation-wide total of 27) do not allow African and Asian domestic workers into swimming pools. HRW first investigated the matter last summer, but has yet to test the resorts’ policies on the ground. At the initial stage, HRW contacted 30 resorts and received 27 official replies.
A number of resorts claimed to offer “designated areas” where workers can wait while their employers relax at the beach. One manager at a private beach said workers were not allowed as guests because, according to the resort’s rules, “maids come in for free.”
Others said they charge foreign workers less at the door.
A free or discounted entry may encourage families with children who want to go to the beach and bring their maids for help, but don’t want to pay for an additional ticket.
In at least one resort Asian and African workers are allowed to swim in the sea but not in the pool, because “not all people like maids to swim with them in the water.” At another, they are not even allowed to wear bathing suits, according to HRW.
Upon reading this article, I was curious to know which places allowed domestic workers in the pool and which didn’t, so I made a couple of calls. I called Lazy-b in Jiyeh, Eddé Sands in Byblos, the Riviera Hotel in Beirut and the Jiyeh Marina.
Lazy-b: Neither nannies nor children are allowed in the pool, which is by the restaurant, because, “we want it to be calm.” If the nanny wants to swim in the sea, that’s fine as long as she pays an entrance fee (25,000 LL or $16.66).
Eddé Sands: Entrance is free for nannies, and according to the women I spoke to, there is no problem for them to swim in either the pool or the sea.
Riviera Hotel: Admission for nannies is apparently free, but they cannot swim in either the pool or the sea. When I asked if my imaginary nanny could swim if I were to pay her entrance fee, I was told that it wasn’t a problem.
Jiyeh Marina: For admission purposes, nannies are “considered as children,” and they are allowed to swim “if they have a swimsuit,” but according to the woman I spoke to, “we prefer them not to.”