Over the weekend Nadia Jones was relaxing by the pool in Jacksonville, Florida, while her three kids—12, 13 and almost 17—splashed around in the water.
When a white woman approached her demanding to know what they were doing there (despite it being very obvious) Jones made sure to keep her voice down so the kids wouldn’t overhear.
“I didn’t want them to see what was happening and I didn’t want the woman to get upset,” Jones tells Raw Story.
“We were not doing anything wrong,” she says. The kids weren’t being overly raucous. “They were behaving.”
Nevertheless, the encounter escalated. “She said she was going to call the police. And that’s when I challenged her.”
“I said, ‘Call them. Go ahead and call them.”
Jones points out that they were a mere few feet from the security guard stand, so she doesn’t grasp why the woman thought law enforcement should get involved.
After the incident went viral, Jones was approached by other residents. One detailed experiencing anti-Semitism in the gated community. The daughter of a younger woman said that the so-called ‘Pool Queen’ had demanded to know if she’d hopped the fence from an adjoining trailer park.
Jones assures Raw Story that the self-proclaimed Pool Queen’s paranoia about fence-hopping trailer people is unwarranted: there have been no instances of people scaling the wall to use their pool and the grounds are patrolled by security guards.
She sees a parallel between the woman’s paranoia about race and class interlopers hopping the fence and the national fears fueling Trumpian calls for a giant wall on the Southwest border with Mexico.
“What makes her believe they’re hopping the fence to come to our pool? It’s like what, “They’re hopping the fence, like they’re so desperate to come to our pool? It’s a nice pool but it’s not the 4 Seasons!”
“They’re living their lives, we’re living our lives. There’s no crime, no breaking into homes,” she says of her less-fortunate neighbors.
As Raw Story previously reported, pools have a long and fraught racist and classist history.
“There’s a social intimacy to pool use,” historian Jeff Wiltse told Raw Story. “People spend hours at a pool. They socialize, chat, flirt. For all these reasons historically Americans have been very protective of kind of the social use of pools: who’s allowed to use pools, who’s not allowed … there’s careful attention paid to who’s using pools.”
“It’s a fear of contamination.”
Ultimately, Jones thinks her kids learned an important lesson. “The lesson learned is to remain calm and remain respectful even when people are not respecting you.”
She’s glad she (politely) stood up to her neighbor. “We had every right to be there, just as she did.”