NASCAR Star Bubba Wallace Calls For Confederate Flag To Be Banned At Races
NASCAR star Bubba Wallace has urged the organisation to ban Confederate flags at races.
As well as calling for the ban, the 26-year-old, who is the only black race car driver at NASCAR’s highest level, has taken a stand by unveiling a new Black Lives Matter paint scheme for his car.
The news comes after days of protests across the US following the death of George Floyd, and after better educating himself about the Confederate flag and its connotations, Wallace realised how uncomfortable it can make people.
Wallace wore an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirt at a race on Sunday, June 7, in honour of Floyd and in solidarity with those fighting for justice across the globe, and the following day he told CNN the next steps are ‘to get rid of all Confederate flags’.
For some, the Confederate flag is a symbol of southern pride, but the Anti-Defamation League also recognises it to be a ‘potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy’.
No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.
The driver admitted people who ‘carry those flags proudly’ might be angry at his comments, but stressed it’s time for change and anyone who disagrees can ‘get back on the road where you came from.’
I encourage NASCAR to have those conversations to remove those flags.
We should not be able to have an argument over that. It is a thick line we cannot cross anymore.
NASCAR has previously asked fans not to bring Confederate flags to races, and introduced a flag exchange program for fans in an effort to reduce the amount of Confederate flags on display, though they are still prevalent across the circuit.
Richard Petty Motorsports, the owner of Wallace’s racing car at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, announced on Tuesday the driver’s car will be painted black with the words ‘#blacklivesmatter’ on the rear quarterpanels.
The hashtags will be accompanied by a large peace symbol made up of hands of people of different races, while the words ‘compassion, love, understanding’ will feature on the bonnet and rear bumper.
Wallace became the first African American driver since 1963 to win an event sponsored by NASCAR when he won a trucks series race at Martinsville in 2013, and he is the first full-time black driver in the Cup Series since 1971.
Commenting on the new paint scheme, he said:
I think by running this branding on our car, putting the hashtag out there, bringing more awareness to it, it lines up with the videos that we had put out as NASCAR.
Listening and learning. Educating ourselves. So people will look up what this hashtag means. And hopefully get a better understanding.
Following Wallace’s comments about the Confederate flag, a number of other race car drivers, including Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney, said they were also in favour of the ban.
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