NASCAR has come out in support of Black Lives Matter banning the use of confederate flags at its race tracks across the country.
Many see the conservative flag as a symbol of slavery, white supremacy, and ultimately racism. Nascar has announced that effective immediately conservative flags are banned from all NASCAR events. Several NASCAR drives have come out in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) in a heartwarming video shared by NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 7, 2020
Following the May 25th killing of unarmed 46-year-old African American George Floyd by Minneapolis police, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver, called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed as it had “no place” in the sport.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 1, 2020
“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,” NASCAR said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “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.”
The move was announced before Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway where Wallace, was driving Richard Petty Motorsports’ No 43 Chevrolet with a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme. Wallace was praised for the design on Twitter from several athletes, including NBA star LeBron James.
According to Statista, a shocking majority of NASCAR fans – approximately 91 percent – are white, and the sport remains rooted in the U.S. South. Further, the Guardian reports, that the flag has often been seen at stock car events for more than 70 years.
In 2015, ex-Chairman Brian France attempted to ban the flying of the Confederate flag at races and received an angry backlash from fans.
However, this time seems different as the organization has the backing of numerous of its drivers calling for a change and “listening” to the cries of Black people about systematic racism in America.
NASCAR didn’t state how it plans to enforce the policy or what penalties if any, will be acted upon against fans who bring the controversial emblem to the track. Fans haven’t been in attendance at NASCAR races since the sport resumed last month amid the pandemic.
Statues of military leaders and figures who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War have also faced increasing scrutiny with the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calling to remove 11 different statues from the nation’s National Statuary Hall Collection.
In a letter sent on Wednesday, Pelosi asked the Joint Committee on the Library — led by Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat — to direct the Architect of the Capitol to remove the statues of soldiers and officials who represent the Confederacy immediately.