It felt gross typing that, honestly. Just flat out nasty. How is that so? Well, for one, in a normal year there would be more of a chance to write and talk about the NASCAR Playoffs, who is in and who is out, who looks the strongest, so on and so on. But instead, we still have to talk about ideological issues in the sport of NASCAR.
When Bubba Wallace began speaking up as a person of color, it set in motion the greatest paradigm shift in a sport that has received years of flak for being predominantly white and predominantly male. Wallace saw his chance to use his platform as a person of color to help push awareness of the systemic racism which plagues America. Of course; he’s a human being who has been vocal on what it’s like to be profiled as a black person in America. This in the face of a constant stream of brutality and racism, and the fact that he put his best foot forward did not go unnoticed.
While it brought eyes onto the sport in a positive manner, it also disrupted and angered those who just wanted to keep to the status quo. Due to that, the anger came pouring in. Go on Facebook or Twitter on any NASCAR account and there’s undoubtedly going to be countless posters quick to swipe at Wallace for “bringing politics into NASCAR” and denouncing Wallace following Talladega where his team found that the pull chord to the door at his garage stall was fashioned into a noose even if the topic has nothing to do with Wallace.
Somehow, these are people who believe that the ethical treatment of black people and the call to admonish acts of racism and unwarranted police brutality is somehow “political.” That in itself is a thought process that takes Olympic-level mental gymnastics. These are people who say they aren’t racist because they have “one black friend,” yet they are quick to downplay the plight of a black man or woman because they’ve never experienced that plight themselves. Even if they truly aren’t racist, they’re still operating on an unconscious bias and that’s not okay.
Please explain how any of the above is political, then explain why it’s okay for GoFas Racing to run a Trump 2020 car or Tim Viens to make an appearance in a Trump 2020 rap video (WARNING: High cringe factor). Explain why it’s okay that the Daytona 500 this year was briefly turned into a Trump rally? That’s politics, isn’t it? The president of the United States isn’t a God or a King, but just another man employed as a politician, right? If the leap can be made to explain why Trump making appearances in 2020 is okay while Bubba Wallace becoming a BLM advocate isn’t, well, the comment section is below.
We live in a divided time, and suffice to say, we need to be united. Calling for violence against those with differing political ideologies isn’t a uniting tactic. Blaming the problems that we’re facing as a country on those with differing political ideologies isn’t a uniting tactic. In all honesty that only adds to the problem. One look at all the cries of violence toward those of a different skin color or religion or creed on social media is all the proof you need.
Instead, taking a stand to speak out on the injustices made on fellow Americans and calling for a change isn’t a political matter. Therefore, it is a uniting matter. Becoming an ally, a voice for the voiceless, that’s a humanitarian thing. That’s base human ethics. Just because a politician condemns it to their base doesn’t make it any less so. How is that? Well, simple. Politicians are humans just like the rest of us.
When it comes down to it, it isn’t human or ethical or Christ-like to demean a human being because of their skin color. It’s a political thing, sure, depending on the politician in question. In that case, wouldn’t it be prudent to remove all mention of that politician from the sport if “politics in NASCAR” is truly ruining the sport? In a word, yes. But is it going to happen? No, because teams are privately owned and the choice to run a political campaign on a car or a politically aligned affiliation such as the National Rifle Association is really up to the team owner.
So if it’s okay for the owners to run a politically based scheme on their teams, it’d make sense for another team to endorse a humanitarian scheme if it’s something they truly back, right? Right. There are those on social media who think Richard Petty and company need to fire Wallace; they don’t realize that when the racism in the garage was more blatant and prevalent, Petty was one of Wendell Scott’s biggest advocates. This is the same Scott who is the only black man in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in case there’s any questions. Petty has seen what hate looks like and has stared down inequality through the years in the NASCAR garage; few people in NASCAR are as qualified to speak on it as Petty. So if Petty thinks the case in legitimate when it comes to Wallace, it probably is.
I’d like to get back to writing about how Wallace’s quiet consistency on the track is netting him a career-high season so far, and I’d love to get back to discussing the merits of the 2020 Silly Season. I’d love to talk about my newfound love of the FIA Formula E series. But as long as ignorant people continue to take ignorant stances and whitewash the inequality problem we have as Americans, and as long as people continue to assert that some people shouldn’t have basic rights including the right to be treated with dignity, then it looks like it’ll continue to be a topic to be written on. Inequality and divisiveness aren’t going to go away just by being ignored. For that matter, they’re not going to even be tolerated. Nobody has the right to dehumanize anyone else.
In closing, you say you want politics out of NASCAR? Then take the stand and make the moves to take politicians out of NASCAR. Ethical matters aren’t political matters.