Nascar, A Circus With Clowns And All: Why Efforts To Destroy ‘Racism’ Are Destined To Fail Again And Again.

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( Although I am not a proponent of the idea that “history repeats itself,” I will admit that the recent rise in my white countrymen’s participation in the battle to defeat racism, America’s foremost social cancer, reminds me of a Civil Rights Movement era that I routinely address in writings and lectures. For some inexplicable reason, racial matters have become a “viral” topic in our nation.

It is difficult to argue against the assertion that NASCAR has recently been prominently placed under a blinding spotlight. The undesired attention is attributable to the presence of Bubba Wallace, the sports only African-American driver. Although most were shocked by NASCAR leaders rallying around Bubba Wallace during this moment of heightened racial discord, my reaction was none other than slight amusement.

The cause of my amusement was the result of years of studying American racial matters. Those studies informed my belief that when one considers that NASCAR has historically served as a haven for “the good ol’ boys” aka avowed white bigots a significant backlash was coming from their monochromatic fan base. I knew that if given enough time, the unending prejudice and bigotry that symbolizes NASCAR fans love for their sport would appear. It is no stretch to state that among such a crowd that not even the checkered flag is preferred over the Confederate Flag. Put simply; the initial groundswell of support for Bubba Wallace mattered little in NASCAR’s infantile efforts to stamp out the racial bigotry that is a standard fixture on their rabid fanbase. Hence, I was unsurprised when a noose, the ultimate symbol of racial intimidation, was recently discovered in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall.

A survey of U.S. history unveils a tradition of white citizens rallying against the unmistakable stench of gross racial injustice. Unfortunately, the emotionalism associated with whites decision to defeat “racism” obstructs their understanding of what it means to accomplish the multi-faceted Herculean task before them. Never do whites consider that the racial bias they seek to remove is permanent fixture within this nation that should be considered the stitching that holds the American Flag together. One can only wonder what would America be without the grand tradition of racial hatred?

Few, if any, of my white countrymen understand the impossibility of the task before them. If history is any indicator of what is to come, this latest emotionally-charged effort flowing from the filmed murder of George Floyd, this latest surge to extricate this nation’s foremost social cancer will fail as other preceding efforts.

My pessimism is grounded in the reality I have yet to hear a single person chosen by national news media (television, magazine, newspaper) specify the ultimate goals of the current surge to stamp out “racism.” The failure to define goals has proven to be the Achilles heel of every attempt to subdue prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and institutionalized racism since this nation’s founding. Consider for a moment how you define the following terms and how people from other communities and differing backgrounds define them.

  • Black Equality
  • Freedom
  • Racial Justice
  • Ending Racism
  • Attacking Institutionalized Racism

This failure to define goals is a familiar problem that severely weakened the post-World War II Civil Rights Movement. According to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

[W]ith Selma and the Voting Rights Act one phase of development in the civil rights revolution came to an end. A new phase opened, but few observers realized it or were prepared for its implications. For the vast majority of white Americans, the past decade — the first phase — had been a struggle to treat the Negro with a degree of decency, not of equality. White America was ready to demand that the Negro should be spared the lash of brutality and coarse degradation, but it had never been truly committed to helping him out of poverty, exploitation or all forms of discrimination. The outraged white citizen had been sincere when he snatched the whips from the Southern sheriffs and forbade them more cruelties. But when this was to a degree accomplished, the emotions that had momentarily inflamed him melted away.

When negroes looked for the second phase, the realization of equality, they found that many of their white allies had quietly disappeared. Negroes felt cheated, especially in the North, while many whites felt that the negroes had gained so much it was virtually impudent and greedy to ask for more so soon.

Until those interested in destroying prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, and institutional racism have a serious conversation regarding what “winning” means in the battle against racial inequality, every attempt is doomed.

The appearance of a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall is a succinct representation of NASCAR’s storied history. The silence of NASCAR and a host of other sports, businesses, and educational institutions regarding racial bigotry and “racism” until this turning-point speaks volumes about their commitment to ending racial disparities. One must never forget that the rush to issue statements denouncing racial bigotry today were quiet as church mice prior to the recent groundswell. If one views these matters through the correct lens they will recognize that many of those corporate America types who are expressing their support for an ending of racial bigotry and institutionalized racism not only benefited from its existence but also worked diligently to maintain, if not expand, its framework.

So, I hope that you understand my amusement at the current swell of activism against an undefined “racism.” From my perspective it is little more than emotionally-charged feel good respectability politics not even intended to alter the monopolies whites have historically held in American society.

As mentioned above, although I am not an avid supporter of the belief that “history repeats itself,” I cannot deny that MLK’s words are as applicable today as they were when they were uttered. When addressing efforts to integrate a city park, MLK offered the following criticism for his nation.

The practical cost of change for the nation up to this point has been cheap.  The limited reforms have been obtained at bargain rates.  There are no expenses, and no taxes are required, for Negroes to share lunch counters, libraries, parks, hotels, and other facilities with whites.”  The second stage called for African-American empowerment via the formation of a constitutionally guaranteed agency.  This second stage implicitly called for the destruction of white monopolies in politics, economics, and education at which even the most moderate and patient African-American leaders predicted the nation would falter.

It appears that the white leaders of NASCAR are imploring those associated with its brand to treat Bubba Wallace with a modicum of decency while maintaining exclusive control of the sport. Now, I do not want for NASCAR to believe that I am singling them out for their rather mundane attempt to combat “racism” because they have much company in the NFL, MLB, and yes, even the overwhelmingly black NBA (Michael Jordan is the only black owner). However, when placed within the larger context of American racial politics, the muting of hate-speech while maintaining politico-economic monopolies is a far-cry from justice. If I did not know any better, I could be convinced that such pedestrian efforts to remove the more virulent expressions of racial animosity being hurled at Blacks as a further buttressing of inequitable power dynamics.

The failure to even issue calls for a re-distribution of power within industries that have historically kept blacks out guarantees that “racism” will move forward with a smile instead of the usual snarl. It is the breaking apart of white politico-economic monopolies that is the only goal worth pursuing, not the issuance of a milder form of racial inequity. However, such realizations call for so-called movement leaders to develop a non-reactionary agenda flowing from an in-depth understanding of America’s storied history of racial bias; and that is simply something that they are incapable of doing.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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