WASHINGTON — NASCAR made a monumental move Wednesday in banning the Confederate flag from its races.
If you’ve ever been to a NASCAR race, you know the flag of the Confederacy flies high over many infields and tracks, and is usually printed on thousands of t-shirts.
The majority of NASCAR tracks are in the south, and while some say the Confederate flag represents their southern pride, for black Americans, it’s a symbol of a war fought to keep them enslaved.
Here’s my take: You have other outlets to express that pride. We need to move on from this antiquated symbol of hate and racism.
Take my family's home state of Georgia for instance. If you want to show your pride, you can eat a peach, boil some grits, or just root for the Georgia Bulldogs. But throw away that flag.
That flag represents one of the darkest times in our nation’s history, and there’s no place for it, especially not in sport. Sports are supposed to unite us, but that flag prevented a true adoption of diversity.
NASCAR truck series driver Ray Ciccarelli announced he was ending his career over the banning of the Confederate flag. And to that I say, don’t let the car door hit you on your way out!
Ray, you are part of the problem. Educate yourself and have some empathy. This isn’t about the right to choose what flag you fly at your tailgate. This IS about race because of what that flag represents.
NASCAR isn’t telling us what foods we can eat or what driver we can cheer for. NASCAR is telling its fans that it won’t stand for racism and inequality -- a step in the right direction to bringing more diversity into its sport and its crowd. The banning of the Confederate flag is undoubtedly the right thing to do.
I am white, I grew up in the south and over these past two weeks -- more than 160 years after the Civil War -- I saw that racism is very much alive.
I acknowledge my privilege to only now be speaking up about this, but unlike Ray Ciccarelli, I choose to use my voice for equality and humanity, not bigotry and supremacy.
I applaud NASCAR for this historic decision, which will help draw awareness to an issue that those other southerners, who are privileged like, me need to hear.