As they enjoyed a swim in the pool at the Westin Hotel in Pasadena, Carle Wheeler and her 5-year-old daughter where confronted by a white man who falsely claimed to be a health inspector demanding to know if they had bathed before getting in the pool. He claimed they should “Google it,” and that they could bring diseases into the pool. Wheeler said there were others at the pool, but who were white and were not approached by the man to see if they’d showered or bathed before swimming.
“It’s sad that I had to explain to my beautiful little five year old brown skinned girl why in 2018 a white man would think it’s OK to ask a little girl and her mom if we showered our presumably dirty black skin before entering a swimming pool,” she said in a Facebook post on the incident.
Wheeler said that on June 11 at 10 in the morning, the man approached her saying he did not “want the health department to shut the pool down.” He approached and harassed her and her little girl twice, she said and incensed, she confronted the man.
“Minutes later he approached us again on the opposite end of the pool under the pretense that he worked for the health department. No hotel security or staff was around to stop his verbal harassment. At that point I called BS and I confronted him on what appeared to be blatant racism. I let him know that being black is not a disease and showering would not wash the BLACK off our skin. I think it’s awful that ANY man would think it’s okay to essentially ask a woman and a little girl if we took off our clothes and scrubbed our naked bodies before getting into a hotel swimming pool.”
“I am not trash. I am not dirty. I’m black educated and proud,” she said in a follow-up video. “It’s just sad that in 2018 we are still dealing with these issues and still having to teach our children tings people had to teach their children in the 50s and 60s.”
Soon Wheeler’s mother and a hotel manager Ofelia Dolliver arrived and the latter told the man “it was inappropriate for him to ask me such a question.” But Wheeler said the man “continued to taunt my little girl as she was being escorted away from the mayhem.”
Next, the Westin Pasadena general manager Carl Sprayberry arrived and, as Wheeler explained it and as can be seen on the video, let the man walk away, asked Wheeler to stand by and calm down because he didn’t want to call police.
“After many failed attempts at pleading with Mr. Sprayberry to not let the man go but to instead find out who he was, we left. Only after speaking with the white bystanders who corroborated our story did Mr. Sprayberry instruct the other hotel managers to review the tapes to find the man he had just let go! Upon our departure from the hotel, Ms. Dolliver apologized to us and admitted that Mr. Sprayberry handled the situation incorrectly. She said they were “still reviewing the tapes” to find the man and remove him from the hotel. No follow up had been made by anyone from the Westin Hotel since.”
“…I have to teach my innocent child that no matter how much we educate ourselves with degrees, no matter what career we choose, no matter if we own a nice home in a gated community, or drive a nice car there are still people in this world who will not like us just because of the color of our skin and even worse there are people in this world in positions of power and authority like Carl Sprayberry that will not stand up for us when they know it’s wrong that we are treated that way.”
Wheeler holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and works as a software developer. She is a “divorced, single mother, a homeowner, a taxpayer and a law-abiding citizen,” she said. When describing the blatant racism she and her young daughter encountered she said, “When it knocks at your door, it’s a hurtful thing.”