The familiar scene of Southern flags swung by fans on NASCAR tracks could soon be a holdover from the good old roots of racing.
Bubba Wallace – the lone black driver in the sport – stated this week that it is time for the series of deep-tire cars heading south to ban the flag on his properties and formally distance themselves from what is an unwanted symbol for millions slavery and racism.
The signs are everywhere NASCAR could do that. As the nation struggles with social unrest largely related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis custody, the predominantly white field of drivers united for a video promoting social change. A black NASCAR official took a knee before Sunday’s race near Atlanta in what may have been a first, and the governing body vowed to address racist injustice better.
Wallace – who wore a black T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” during Sunday’s race – took the moment and made his most compelling remarks yet about the often tricky nature of racing and racing: “My next step would be to get rid of all the southern flags. ”
The 26-year-old Alabama resident, who finished second in the 2018 Daytona 500, has put NASCAR on a ban on the Southern flag, regardless of whether some of the fan base agree.
“There shouldn’t be a single person who is uncomfortable coming to our events to spend a good time with their family feeling something about something they’ve seen, an object they’ve seen flying,” said Wallace to CNN. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Southern flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them. ‘
NASCAR has recently been more open to the eradication of the Southern flag, although it stopped making a final decision on its fate on Tuesday. NASCAR in 2015 asked fans to “refrain from displaying the Southern Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.”
Not everyone was required, and fans steadfastly defended their Southern flags and lifted them from their campers.
But as Southern monuments are toppled in the South and the call for social justice continues to sound, those fans may run out of time.