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Antique 'White Only' Sign Posted at Duplex Swimming Pool Leads to Civil Rights Charges

In May 2011, a Cincinnati landlord named Jamie Hein (who is white) posted an antique "Public Swimming Pool, White Only" sign at the pool at her duplex.

Actually, the pool was not a "Public Swimming Pool" -- Hein says the pool is on her private property, and people must ask permission to use it. According to The Associated Press, witnesses testified to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission that Hein said she posted the sign because a black girl who was visiting her parents at the duplex used chemicals in her hair that would make the pool "cloudy." 

The girl's outraged parents filed a race discrimination charge with the commission and moved out of the duplex. According to ABC News, Hein stated at the time that the sign had nothing to do with the girl who wished to use the pool, and had been posted well in advance of that. She said that she collects antiques and, after receiving the sign as a gift, placed it on the pool as a decoration. On the other hand, Hein also reportedly told the commission that she was "trying to protect my assets," and told ABC News that "if I have to stick up for my white rights, I have to stick up for my white rights. It goes both ways."

On Sept. 29, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission found that Hein violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign, which has since been stolen. The commission ruled that Hein's conduct "restricts the social interaction between Caucasians and African-Americans and reinforces discriminatory actions aimed at oppressing people of color."

On Thursday, the commission voted 4-0 against reconsidering its September finding. The AP reports that going forward, the parties may be able to resolve the case through a settlement. If not, the commission would refer the matter to the Ohio Attorney General's office, which would commence an administrative proceeding that could result in penalties including a cease-and-desist order and punitive damages.

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 13, 2012 at 03:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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