I felt surprise when I heard NASCAR decided to ban all Confederate flags from their events in the future. Somehow, I never imagined it’d happen.
It began on Monday when NASCAR’s only full-time African American driver called for the ban of Confederate flags.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” driver Bubba Wallace said. “Get them out of here.”
I suspect anyone who heard Wallace’s remarks probably thought it’d never happen. Had I heard it, I would have thought the same thing.
But NASCAR proved us wrong Wednesday. At 4:45 p.m., they posted this statement to their site:
“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
Wallace told CNN he expected there to be plenty of angry people who carry the flag around. I’m sure he’s right about that.
People are talking about race in new ways.
But after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month and the growing Black Lives Matter movement, people are finally beginning to rethink things. Especially when it comes to racism.
On Wednesday, HBO Max announced it would temporarily pull Gone With the Wind from its streaming service because of its stereotypical depiction of blacks and the Old South. They promised to return the film once they can provide context around it.
Lawmakers are pondering the pressure to remove Confederate monuments.
Some even want streets named for Confederate heroes or military bases named for Civil War officers to be renamed.
It’s a shame it took a man’s death to bring all of this change.
But the change is long overdue.
I’ve never been a racing fan, to be honest. But I have a bit more respect for NASCAR after that announcement.