Tag Archives: NASCAR

Black History Month 2015: Wendell Scott

9 Feb

WendellScottToday I would like to honor and pay tribute to Wendell Scott. Scott was the first full-tim African American race car driver in NASCAR and remained the only black race car driver for most of his career. No shock that Scott met with racial prejudice and problems with top-level NASCAR officials. Here are just two examples of the uphill battle of racism Scott would have to fight:

The next day, however, brought the first of many episodes of discrimination that would plague his racing career. Scott repaired his car and towed it to a NASCAR-sanctioned race in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But the NASCAR officials refused to let him compete. Black drivers were not allowed, they said. As he drove home, Scott recalled, “I had tears in my eyes.” A few days later he went to another NASCAR event in High Point, North Carolina. Again, Scott said, the officials “just flat told me I couldn’t race.”

Scott’s determination and internal fortitude finally won out and earned him the historic position of being the first black man to be a NASCAR driver. With nearly 500 premiere league starts, he ranks in the Top 40 drivers of all time. Bravo, to Scott’s courage and strength. NASCAR remains today, 2015 a very white and very heteronormative institution.  If you are Black, or Queer, NASCAR is not a likely place one feels safe.

Fortunately, NASCAR has finally seen fit to celebrate this talented pioneer. Last week, Scott was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, its first African-American honoree. Accepting the award on his late father’s behalf, his son Franklin observed

The legacy of Wendell Scott depicts him as one of the great vanguards of the sport of NASCAR racing. Daddy was a man of great honor. He didn’t let his circumstances define who he was.

Thank you to my brother-in-law Scott for helping to inspire this story and pointing me to Wendell Scott.

Reading the Tea Leaves: We’re In for Two Years of Nasty Craziness

19 Feb

Who's pouring this bitter tea?

Last November, American voters started brewing a strong pot of tea. It has finished steeping and officials elected by the Tea Party are starting to pour their brew. Let’s take a quick look at what they are serving up.

  • The budget proposed by the Republican-controlled house savages women’s rights, stripping funding from Planned Parenthood and defunding Title X.
  • That same budget contains a provision defunding health care reform, sacrificing the elderly, the young, and the poor.
  • Just for fun, the budget also slashes all support for public broadcasting. Of course they defeated an amendment that would have ended military funding for NASCAR.
  • Republicans in Virginia have launched an aggressive campaign to roll back gay rights in that commonwealth.
  • Scott Walker, the TP Governor of Wisconsin is working with the Republican-controlled legislature to crush organizing rights and basic benefits for public employees.
  • Florida Governor and Medicare scam criminal Rick Scott has refused federal funding for high-speed rail because it is funded by President Obama’s stimulus program. (That’s okay, Rick, Oregon will gladly take more money for safe, efficient travel.)

While the Tea Party prides itself on being a grass-roots movement (funded by corporate interests), there is a basic set of principles that supporters tend to list as their platform:

  • Individual freedoms (from women’s rights, gay rights, efficient transportation, collective bargaining, and non-corporate media)
  • Personal responsibility (to pay for congressional health care while losing one’s own)
  • Returning political power to the states and the people (power to spend time and money fighting health care in court and crush workers)

Cheers to the Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate, Harry Reid, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and other who are speaking out and taking action against this horrific agenda.

The Tea Partiers press their agenda despite substantial public objection to most of the specifics, not wishing to be troubled with facts. The rest of America should be terrified about what’s coming next.

Celebrating Black History Month: February 17

17 Feb

First Black NASCAR Driver

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Wendell Scott. Scott was the first African American race car driver in NASCAR and remained the only black race car driver for most of his career. No shock that Scott met with racial prejudice and problems with top-level NASCAR officials. Here are just two examples of the uphill battle of racism Scott would have to fight:

The next day, however, brought the first of many episodes of discrimination that would plague his racing career. Scott repaired his car and towed it to a NASCAR-sanctioned race in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But the NASCAR officials refused to let him compete. Black drivers were not allowed, they said. As he drove home, Scott recalled, “I had tears in my eyes.” A few days later he went to another NASCAR event in High Point, North Carolina. Again, Scott said, the officials “just flat told me I couldn’t race.

Scott’s determination and internal fortitude finally gave way and earned him the title of being the first black man to be a NASCAR driver. Bravo, to Scott’s courage and strength. NASCAR remains today, 2011, a very white and very heteronormative institution.  If you are Black, Jewish, or Gay, NASCAR is not a place one feels safe. Thank you to my brother-in-law Scott for helping to inspire this story and pointing me to Wendell Scott.

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