As investigators worked to find out exactly how a duck boat managed to sink, killing 17 people in Missouri last week, a racist conspiracy theorist website has taken victim-blaming to a new low by relying on an ignorant cliché to explain the tragedy.
Eleven of the people riding the fateful duck boat in Table Rock Lake near the tourist attraction city of Branson were Black, according to reports, including the person driving it. There were 31 people on board.
“YES, THE STEREOTYPE IS TRUE: BLACK PEOPLE CANNOT SWIM,” the Daily Stormer wrote Monday morning.
Of course, that flawed logic is reprehensible and racist, but the ignorance was all the more stinging since one family on board lost nine members in the tragedy. The riders were reportedly told before they boarded that they didn’t have to wear life jackets.
Tia Coleman, who survived the sinking while nine of her family members didn’t, including two children, explained that she tried to swim to no avail.
“My head pushed up to the top of the water and I lost control, I didn’t have anybody with me. I couldn’t see anybody,” she said. “And I know it wasn’t but I felt like I struggled for at least an hour, but it was probably like 10 minutes. And I just remembered, I kept sinking … And I started floating. I was floating up to the top, I felt the water temperature raise to warm, and as I felt the water temperature raise I jumped up and I saw the big boat that sits out there.”
The only other survivor from Coleman’s family was her 13-year-old nephew.
A public celebration for Coleman’s family has been planned for Friday in Indianapolis, where the Colemans called home.