Following up on yesterday’s conversation about accurately remembering history, today’s Hoddle will take that specific approach to NASCAR.
Ramble of the Day
Like all organizations, NASCAR has had to reckon with its own past of racist behavior. From the banning of Confederate flags to an act of solidarity with the lone Black racer Bubba Wallace this week, the company has done some introductory work to eliminate a discriminatory environment. In a column for The Guardian, writer Andrew Lawrence made the point that NASCAR missed out on an opportunity to correct that environment decades ago.
There were other Black racers in NASCAR’s history, and all had to deal with blatant racism — it has had direct links with racist people and groups in its 72 year history, which Lawrence notes. One of NASCAR’s first Black drivers was Wendell Scott, who began his career in 1947, the same year Jackie Robinson was the first Black player to play in Major League Baseball. Lawrence notes, “whereas Jackie Robinson was just the beginning of baseball’s integration wave, Scott was a blip.” That is not to say that the MLB has racial inequality sorted, but that NASCAR is so far behind so many other institutions.
I highlight this because it reminds of a few things. Like I mentioned, it reminds me of the essay I shared yesterday about remembering history appropriately; Lawrence noted that Scott once “reluctantly shaking hands with Alabama’s segregationist governor George Wallace,” and that Scott’s grandson Warwick Scott said: “At some point, someone’s gonna post that picture as a way to soften the ass kicking that white supremacists are getting right now,” in service of that “pleasant reading” of history W. E. B. DuBois talked about.
It also reminds of the hand-in-hand concepts that someone cannot receive too much praise for catching up to the rest, particularly because opportunities existed in the past. At different points in history, people have recognized when systems and organizations have been racist or discriminatory, and pretending people didn’t erases the good work several did in the past. Zito Madu made this point a little while ago on Twitter, and I’ll share the beginning of a thread from a couple of weeks ago:
The consequence of people always defending older racists or racists from the past by saying that they were simply products of their time is that it erases the long history of others who were fighting against it in those times. They're not really rare. https://t.co/JTfgOeg0A1— Zito (@_Zeets) June 8, 2020
In the end, it does come down to points I’ve made previously and ones I’ll continue to make: acknowledging the past is important to make meaningful change in the present. There are a ton of ways to do, but publicly admitting to your mistakes and apologizing for them is a good place to start for bigger organizations, because their lack of effort and oppression usually impacts a bigger group of people.
Links of the Day
Lancashire police dropped the case against the people responsible for flying the “White Lives Matter” banner over the Etihad, but Burnley plan to issue lifetime bans to them.
Chelsea women signed Niamh Charles from Liverpool.
Rebekah Vardy is suing Coleen Rooney for defamation after Rooney accused Vardy of selling stories from her private Instagram to tabloids.
David Squires recaps the return of the Premier League in his latest cartoon.
A longer read: retired English footballer Thomas Beattie revealed that he is gay, and shared his struggles with his sexuality during his playing career for ESPN, as told by Emily Kaplan