NASCAR Bans Confederate Flags
June 10, 2020 3:21 PM   Subscribe

“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. 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.”

CNN: This week, driver Bubba Wallace, the first full-time African American driver in the Cup Series since 1971, called for NASCAR to go further than 2015, when it asked fans not to bring the Confederate flags to races. "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags," Wallace said. "Get them out of here. They have no place for them." Initially, Confederate flags did not bother him, Wallace said, but after educating himself he sees how uncomfortable it makes people.

FOX NEWS: The premier stock car circuit has considered banning the flag in the past. Former chairman Brian France sought to ban the symbol in 2015, only to reverse course after pushback from fans.
posted by pjsky (106 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good.
posted by hijinx at 3:31 PM on June 10 [23 favorites]


Wow; following on the heels of HBO dropping Gone With The Wind, this is going to drive a lot of people here in GA over the brink. Maybe we have reached a tipping point when it comes to historical revisionism around the slavers rebellion.
posted by TedW at 3:33 PM on June 10 [20 favorites]


I have to admit I’m as surprised as I am pleased by this move. That said, I have a very hard time believing NASCAR will, in any way, be able to enforce the ban. Hell, this move will probably result in more morons showing up wearing confederate swag. Still...the ban is appreciated.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:37 PM on June 10 [18 favorites]


Wow, it feels like an actual cultural shift is happening. First the NFL and now NASCAR. 2020 won't be all bad.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:38 PM on June 10 [21 favorites]


Tyler Conway, a reporter for the Bleacher Report, points out that there's still one Confederate flag allowed at NASCAR events.
posted by hanov3r at 3:40 PM on June 10 [102 favorites]


This obviously is no where near as important as defunding police departments and punishing violent cops. But as a sign of how public sentiment is shifting, it's great!

In a way it reminds of when the NBA cancelled their season early on in the pandemic. For me that was the first time I really truly felt as if something big was happening. Same thing here, except it's good news instead of bad.
posted by great_radio at 3:41 PM on June 10 [20 favorites]


I look forward to the reaction to this.
posted by srboisvert at 3:42 PM on June 10 [9 favorites]


I feel like that atmosphere has been a barrier to widespread national popularity of the sport. They might be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people that replace the fans they lose.
posted by Selena777 at 3:45 PM on June 10 [23 favorites]


Better late than never. I mean, incredibly, incredibly late, but good.

I’m interested in the backlash against this. It always seemed to me that NASCAR was a place that welcomed traitor flag waving and allowed fans and racists to think it was totally normal to brandish a piece of cloth that showed the world you were an ignorant, racist asshole. Those racists aren’t going to be thrilled with having their big public playground taken away from them, and I for one say

GOOD. FUCK THEM AND THEIR FLAG.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:46 PM on June 10 [57 favorites]


It will be like banning smoking in bars. People who couldn’t come will now be able to.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:47 PM on June 10 [25 favorites]


I was Today Years Old when I learned there was an African-American NASCAR driver named BUBBA WALLACE. How did that happen y'all? That is one bold and brave young man.
posted by pjsky at 3:47 PM on June 10 [26 favorites]


> Initially, Confederate flags did not bother him, Wallace said, but after educating himself he sees how uncomfortable it makes people.

I just.. what... is "Bubba" a European name?
posted by pwnguin at 3:47 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]




I just.. what... is "Bubba" a European name?

The south does feel like a separate country. They've been trying to rewrite history for a century or more. War of Northern Aggression and all that horseshit.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:53 PM on June 10 [8 favorites]


An African-American NASCAR driver named Bubba had to educate himself on why a Confederate flag makes people uncomfortable. Then requested NASCAR to ban them. So they did.

My poor brain.
posted by HotToddy at 3:55 PM on June 10 [42 favorites]


I... honestly did not expect this...
posted by midmarch snowman at 3:59 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


this suburban Canadian kid fell in love with NASCAR when he was nine or ten years old (1969), and even then it perplexed me: why are they all waving the flag of the bad guys from the Civil War? Clearly, I didn't have my geography straight. I just loved the loud, fast cars, the big wild crashes.

It's been a long running relationship, though it's been mostly on the wane of late in the wake of some really dumb changes to the fundamentals of the racing (yeah, I'm talking about breaking everything into heats), not to mention just how fundamentally awful the dumber aspects of that culture truly are. Talladega Nights found a way to get us all laughing at it but, in the end, well stupid is stupid, change is real, adapt or perish.

Here's hoping NASCAR pulls this off, and Bubba Wallace -- I hope you can get back to doing the only thing you really want to be doing, which is racing, winning in particular.

His recent interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr is a good one.
posted by philip-random at 3:59 PM on June 10 [10 favorites]


"I look forward to the reaction to this."

I admit I am rubbing my hands with gleeful anticipation for the inevitable BuzzFeed roundup of racists losing their shit on twitter and getting hilariously dragged by KPop stans.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:02 PM on June 10 [40 favorites]


Here's my countdown to them watering it down or walking it back. I figure this'll last until about halfway through the next season.
posted by tclark at 4:26 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I'll be interested to see how many Gadsden flags start appearing at NASCAR races in place of confederate flags.
posted by montbrarian at 4:41 PM on June 10 [11 favorites]


So we have a bunch of pissed off people with access to weapons that are indignant about getting their ass kicked in a civil war.

I'm going to mix white fuming nitric acid with glycerol and go hit the result with a hammer because it feels like a safer thing to do.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:42 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Good.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:43 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Good.

Important to continue that left turn on a good note
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:48 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


If you're looking for some salty white supremacist tears, the Twitter replies deliver some good examples. Also some hilarious replies that look to be salty folks angry only to drop jokes turning on stereotypes of cousin marriage which I'm sure I'm a very bad person for laughing at.

My favorite though are all the folks talking about the Last Confederate Flag, the white flag of surrender. That seems like a great reply for disarming all this Southern pride bullshit.

(Ironically, the first national flag of the Confederacy to use the stars-and-bars motif was mostly white and was replaced in part because it looked like a flag of truce. The flag we call now "the Confederate Flag" is actually the Battle Flag or a variant on it. So it's a doubly treasonous symbol, and deliberately so.)
posted by Nelson at 4:51 PM on June 10 [14 favorites]


The flag we call now "the Confederate Flag" is actually the Battle Flag or a variant on it. So it's a doubly treasonous symbol, and deliberately so.

Well, if you want to get really pedantic, there is no evidence that the flag in question existed before reconstruction. It was obviously inspired by some real flags used by the C.S.A. (most commonly cited being the Battle Flag used by Northern Virginia for a couple of years) but it was popularized, and likely designed by Nathan Bedford Forrest.

So, I believe it's more appropriate to call it the KKK flag - as that is more accurate, and acknowledges that it was created as a symbol of terror, not naive nostalgia or "heritage".
posted by Anoplura at 5:17 PM on June 10 [39 favorites]


(ugh, I got my terminology wrong. The first flag is the Stars and Bars. But many people (including me) use "stars and bars" wrong to refer to the Battle Flag with its diagonal cross. That diagonal cross motif is the one that appears on the mostly-white second Confederate flags. Know your heritage, for it is hate.)

I've never heard the idea Anoplura mentions that the Battle Flag was fully a post-war CSA construction. Surely most of the mythology about the Confederacy, particularly the Lost Cause, was created decades after the loss of the war. I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the very flag that symbolizes the hate movement could be ahistorical.

Fuck the Confederate flag, is what I'm saying. And I say that as a born-and-bred Southerner.
posted by Nelson at 5:20 PM on June 10 [9 favorites]


Turn left, y'all.
posted by Room 101 at 5:36 PM on June 10 [14 favorites]


I'll be interested to see how many Gadsden flags start appearing at NASCAR races in place of confederate flags.

Or double-lightning-bolts. Or swastikas. Something tells me these might all be fungible currency for what these folks are trying to convey, which Bubba Wallace (who I wish all the best!) is probably not totally prepared for.
posted by Mayor West at 5:37 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


It will be like banning smoking in bars. People who couldn’t come will now be able to.

I like this comparison. I can remember all the outrage and claims that all bars would go out of business when the smoking bans went into effect, and instead, like you say, it made bars into places more people would want to go.

I think this is a great change and suggests how deep this cultural shift seems to be turning out to be. Symbolic changes aren't the same as structural changes, but in some ways they are even harder to achieve (and, they can open the door to making the real changes that are needed).
posted by Dip Flash at 5:47 PM on June 10 [16 favorites]


Or double-lightning-bolts. Or swastikas. Something tells me these might all be fungible currency for what these folks are trying to convey, which Bubba Wallace (who I wish all the best!) is probably not totally prepared for.

Underestimating how many people in the US are willing to go Nazi is part of what got us into this mess. Having them out in the open rather than concealed under Southern Pride may not be a bad thing.
posted by benzenedream at 6:01 PM on June 10 [26 favorites]


Nthing a grumpy cat style "Good."

I've never been able to understand how these racist treason flag wavers and brandishers have been able to claim that kneeling during the US anthem disrespects soldiers who died fighting for the US flag but honoring those -- having fired the first shot! -- who died trying to kill as many soldiers fighting for that same US flag as they could is the highest form of patriotism, honor, and nobility.

I mean, I do understand on the level of them knowing they need to offer only the thinnest of fig leafs in order for moderates to conclude that both sides have their differences so racists should be allowed to do what they want. But still.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:05 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]




I've never heard the idea Anoplura mentions that the Battle Flag was fully a post-war CSA construction.

...and of course now I can't remember or find my original source for this. I'll pop back in with a link if I can find one.
posted by Anoplura at 7:20 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


any portmanteau in a storm: First the NFL and now NASCAR. 2020 won't be all bad.

There's saying something, and there's actually doing something different. The NFL season hasn't started yet (the league is hoping to have a normal season, complete with fans in seats, according to Sporting News back on May 8, 2020), and people get creative with flags.

montbrarian: I'll be interested to see how many Gadsden flags start appearing at NASCAR races in place of confederate flags.

CNBC's coverage shows a group of flags from 2015, including a Gadsden flag. Also, it looks like 5 of the 9 flags you can see are modified versions of the Confederate flag, so would they be prohibited? "No sirre, that's my ... 'the south will rise again' flag! The Confederate flag doesn't have that logo on the center, does it?"

Looking at the current NASCAR tickets one could buy, it looks like the next race will be Aug. 7-9, at the Michigan International Speedway. The first southern race will be Daytona International Speedway, where WFLA's coverage of NASCAR's announcement includes fan-flown flags from 2008, including a modified Confederate flag, supporting racism and #3.

And here's NBC News coverage from 2015, when NASCAR offered to swap anyone their Confederate flag for the stars and stripes.
Steven Rebenstorf has numerous flags flying atop his canopy tent inside Daytona International Speedway.

The Confederate flag is front and center.

It's been like that for years. And the 57-year-old Rebenstorf has no plans to take it down — not even if NASCAR decides to ban the embattled flag from its racetracks.

"They'd have to come and get it," Rebenstorf said Saturday, pointing out that his American flag purposely flies a few inches higher than the rest.

Rebenstorf and others staunchly defended their Confederate flags at NASCAR's first race in the South since the racing series and its tracks urged fans to no longer wave the banner. Dozens were scattered throughout the vast infield all weekend leading to Sunday's race.

"It kills me that NASCAR is jumping on the bandwagon," said 55-year-old Paul Stevens of nearby Port Orange. "They should just let it pass, let everything die down. But NASCAR is too quick to try to be politically correct like everybody else."
Hah, how right you were. They didn't really push too hard, and it did die down. But now they're really banning it, so we'll see what this does for attendance, push-back, and people throwing tantrums.

Also on display: NRA banner, stating "Stand and Fight" -- that's not ominous. Home-grown terrorists, anyone?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


color me pessimistic. i predict the confederate flag crowd will take this as a challenge to bring in more flags and get them on tv. because they're the victim now.

here in seattle, the soccer team's superfan cheering section was banned from flying iron front flags (because reasons?). they flew them anyway. a leader was ejected and the whole section left at halftime of a match. even after that, i still see the flags here and there at matches.

NASCAR events draw hundreds of thousands of fans. i doubt they'll be able to control a couple hundred wanting to publicly thumb their nose at the yanks. especially if the rest of the crowd is sympathetic.
posted by bruceo at 7:32 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


i've been to precisely one nascar race, mainly because my POS brother-in-law, during a family get-together, made everyone buy tickets because he really wanted to go.

my POS brother-in-law was on the ballot yesterday as a candidate for state assembly, and, according to the results coming in this morning, placed a distant third in a three-way race for the republican nomination.

then i spent half an hour talking with my dad who got out of the hospital today after a heart procedure, and we spent a full ten minutes trash-talking republicans generally, and my POS brother-in-law specifically.

man, today was a pretty good day
posted by logicpunk at 7:32 PM on June 10 [33 favorites]


My sister and I have called this organization NAZCAR or NASGUL
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:39 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I used to live near the Iowa Speedway and guess how I knew when a race was happening?

:|
posted by wellifyouinsist at 7:45 PM on June 10


[Comment removed, please make it explicit that's what it is if you have a good reason to be linking to an image of a severe injury.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:25 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


I'm amazed and thrilled by this news, but also terrified on behalf of anyone who will be charged with attempting to enforce it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:48 PM on June 10 [11 favorites]


All the car horns playing songs?
posted by pwnguin at 8:52 PM on June 10


I seem to be saying this a lot lately, but I never thought I’d live to see the day.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:53 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Good.

I once heard a well meaning flag apologist make what seemed a sincere case for a marker of regional-culture identity rather than ideology-politics. That there is a world where seeing that flag in a dormitory room down the hall, as a southern student their first week in a northern university, doesn't scream Greetings, Fellow Bigot; instead it signals I will be enthusiastic with you about [regional sports competition] and will know if there's anywhere in town they can get a decent [regional comfort food].
I kinda get it; there seems to be something Tennessee and Texas share, that say Michigan and Massachusetts don't.
After convincing them that there was no redeeming the stars and bars for any positive purpose, we started brainstorming replacements.
Some other, more inclusive symbol to put on belt buckles and bumper stickers. A different southern solidarity marker, without the poison.
the Waffle House flag
the NASCAR logo itself, ironically
a pitcher of sweet tea on a checkered tablecloth
Add Your Own!
posted by bartleby at 9:02 PM on June 10 [19 favorites]


Or double-lightning-bolts. Or swastikas. Something tells me these might all be fungible currency for what these folks are trying to convey, which Bubba Wallace (who I wish all the best!) is probably not totally prepared for.

I think people here really do underestimate how prevalent and how sincere some people are about the "heritage, not hate" slogan. It's ingrained in lots of kids who grow up in the South; it's in textbooks. Those same textbooks make no apologies for Nazis (at least, not the ones I grew up with). So while the number of people flying Confederate flags in ignorance has dwindled, there's still a substantial number who would find a swastika repugnant.

If Bubba Wallace, a black man from the South, isn't bothered by the flag personally, and says he had to be educated on why it was so troublesome to others, how hard is it to believe that thousands of white kids in the South likewise haven't had that same realization? Yes, they've heard lots of people don't like it. But they've also heard that lots of people call them inbred, and hate George Washington. Why should they credit those people? But if they hear it from Wallace, and from NASCAR, they might take a second look at the history.
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:15 PM on June 10 [23 favorites]


Interestingly, Bubba Watson (how appropriate that there are multiple bubbas in this story) is the owner of the Lee 1, the main “General Lee” from the Dukes of Hazzard, painted over the stars and bars in 2015.

NASCAR banned the famous car in 2012.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:20 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


My racist boss doesn't give a shit about NASCAR but is pretty much all-in on traitor flags and would like to fight if one refuses to accept his wishy-washy bullshit explanations and appeals to dubious authority, insisting that anyone who does the correct research will come to the proper conclusion that the flag and displays thereof is simply a pure love of heritage and history, not a hatred of black people.

We're in Virginia and he is so losing his shit already about the Governor's declaration to remove the gigantic paean of a memorial statue of Robert E. Lee astride his horse in the center of Richmond, that he has had to take an emergency vacation just to get away from everything by heading 100 miles offshore to go fishing.

Between all of everything else going on, I am not unconcerned about the potential for violent backlash against this and everything else that's going on.

The racists thought they were winning for the last 4 years and now it suddenly seems like it might all be slipping away.
posted by glonous keming at 9:31 PM on June 10 [19 favorites]


i am 100% certain this is a perfomance. Bullshit lip service. This allows NASCAR as an organization to wipe their hands of the issue. They won't enforce it. They certainly won't risk the cash flow by alienating hundreds of thousands of fans by telling them they can't wear/wave what they choose to.

Professional racing is an advertising venture at its core, and nothing more, aside from a few well funded die hards willing to sink personal fortunes into it. As soon as the first major sponsor threatens to pull out if they can't run the livery of their choice, the organization will find some loop hole to allow it rather than risk the cashflow needed to make racing happen. Somehow, they'll find a way.
posted by blackfly at 9:47 PM on June 10 [10 favorites]


It is PR performance. And enforcement would be interesting. But, it also says something about the shift we are seeing across the US. And, since currently there aren't any fans in attendance, seems like a safe time for them to make this decision. When no one can be at the track, why worry?
posted by Windopaene at 10:24 PM on June 10 [8 favorites]


My favorite tweet about the topic, reproduced below for those who don't want to go to Twitter:

"If you're threatening to stop patronizing a sports league because it's doing something you don't like, realize that the sports league took into consideration people like you would stop patronizing it... and decided your patronization wasn't worth enough."
-- @4everNeverTrump
posted by bryon at 10:29 PM on June 10 [41 favorites]


As soon as the first major sponsor threatens to pull out if they can't run the livery of their choice, the organization will find some loop hole to allow it rather than risk the cashflow needed to make racing happen

I'd imagine the really major sponsors were one of the reasons for making the change. Companies like Tide or Penzoil don't want their brand associated with anything divisive as they are tryinig to sell to everyone. A brand that chooses to go against the ban now would be explicitly linking themselves to the ideology of racism, which isn't something that makes good business sense for national brands.

Basically I'm saying I strongly suspect it is about the money for NASCAR and the companies involved more than the belief, since they could have done this a long time ago, but I'm happy to see it either way, even as it is certain many fans will try to double down on their use of the flag and other symbols of the Confederacy. Every acknowledgement that those symbols are hateful is still valuable as it further isolates those who won't back down and can help shift normalizing.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:43 PM on June 10 [19 favorites]


I look forward to the reaction to this.

NASCAR truck racer Ray Ciccarelli says he is quitting after Confederate flag ban.

Okay, Ray: off you fuck.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:53 PM on June 10 [35 favorites]


As soon as the first major sponsor threatens to pull out if they can't run the livery of their choice, the organization will find some loop hole to allow it rather than risk the cashflow needed to make racing happen.

Which one of these NASCAR sponsors do you think is going to start flying the stars in bars in the near future? Seems to me this is more about keeping their sponsors happy at the expense of pissing off fans. It's their sponsors that don't want to be associated with this nonsense.
posted by bradbane at 11:13 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Wow, when the "doesn't matter at all" collides with the "matters very much" things get SOOOOOOOO heated!!
posted by lextex at 3:52 AM on June 11


this seems like the right place to drop this link to a story about Brehanna Daniels, the first Black woman to work a NASCAR pit crew. its pretty wild - she wasnt even a fan, it just seems like shes athletic/competitive as hell. Im glad shell be able to go to work without seeing them.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:00 AM on June 11 [13 favorites]


The only Confederate flag that matters will still be flying at the beginning of the last lap.
posted by Brachinus at 5:26 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


I'll be interested to see how many Gadsden flags start appearing at NASCAR races in place of confederate flags.

I think it's much more likely you'll see fans deliberately turn up wearing stars-and-bars t-shirts trying to bait NASCAR into throwing them out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:06 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


which i hope NASCAR does. after all its a "LAW & ORDER!" society.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:21 AM on June 11


The Confederate States of America tried to destroy the United States government and continue treating citizens as slaves. They failed. 155 years later, the United States government wants to promote monuments celebrating those who tried to destroy the United States government and enslave its people. But the people are defying the government and tearing the statues down.

Stop that, says the United States government. You are being unpatriotic!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:29 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


NASCAR truck racer Ray Ciccarelli says he is quitting after Confederate flag ban.

Although now that I reflect on it, I suppose quitting is the best way to honour that flag.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:02 AM on June 11 [34 favorites]


ricochet biscuit, Bleacher Report also wrote about Ray Ciccarelli quitting in response to the flag ban, and the article ended on this beautifully shady note:

If he does actually go through with his threat to walk away from racing, it's not as if the sport will be losing one of its top competitors. Gabriel Fernandez of CBS Sports noted he has just one top-10 finish, zero victories and zero poles in 18 races over the course of three years as a part-time competitor in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.


Shade supreme!
posted by chara at 7:09 AM on June 11 [12 favorites]


We visited Clemson a few years ago as part of a college visit for one of our kids, who was being recruited as an Title IX athlete. There were the normal tours, coach interviews, and so on and, of course, it was Game Day. We got excellent football seats, and if you've ever been to an SEC football game you already know that the tailgating thing is on a whole other level. Probably twice- or three-times as many people outside the stadium as there were inside, and the inside was packed to the brim. And if you've never been, trust me, it's crazytown bananapants. Multiple generations in matching orange gingham; giant dedicated RV parks, the full monty.

Anyway - one of our guides told us that a guy had recently hoisted a confederate flag next to his RV and none other than Dabo Swinney himself - the Head Coach - rolled up in a golf cart shortly thereafter and asked the guy to take it down, which he did, further admonishing him that "if you love Clemson football, you won't put that up again." Pretty sure all I saw that day were American flags and paw prints.

Also: go Dawgs!
posted by jquinby at 7:39 AM on June 11 [15 favorites]


I once heard a well meaning flag apologist make what seemed a sincere case for a marker of regional-culture identity rather than ideology-politics.

Me, a southern boy raised in said culture but with wiser parents thank the heavens, nowadays: "Hey bud, I get it. I like me some Skynard too. But my liking of Skynard and non-racist heritage ideas are way, way less important than the fact that pretty much and entire population of people has made it clear that that flag is a huge problem, both emotionally and socially, for them. It's an easy decision for me to be ok with it's decline."

none other than Dabo Swinney himself - the Head Coach - rolled up in a golf cart shortly thereafter and asked the guy to take it down, which he did

Zero surprise factor here as a born and raised Alabama fan. Simple evidence that A) folks will cave on weakly founded moral stances when it is expedient for them or, obviously, their football team and B) Coach's word is law, non-negotiable, absolute, and proclaimed from on high or, in this case, a swanky golf cart.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:54 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


It's an easy decision for me to be ok with it's decline.

Ditto and ditto. You want local symbols? Let's all plant more magnolias and dogwoods. Those are about as universal a symbol you'll find for these parts and who doesn't love a magnolia blossom in full bloom?
posted by jquinby at 7:58 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


I have a very hard time believing NASCAR will, in any way, be able to enforce the ban.

terrified on behalf of anyone who will be charged with attempting to enforce it.

Yeah. My own experience working at/around large sporting events suggests that the first line of enforcement is going to be low-wage security personnel - who are almost certainly not NASCAR employees but part-time workers (or even "independent contractors") hired by a security company that has a contract with the racetrack. With the strong possibility that a lot of them are POC themselves, and college students or retirees.

None of whom - rightfully - would I expect to be willing to get into it with a large irate possibly drunk dude who's gonna make a big loud belligerent fuss about "MAH HERITAGE" at the front of a line of other white folks impatient to get into the track or parking lot.

So, yeah, good on NASCAR, but they better be willing to back this up with action, people, and money. If Confederate flags keep showing up and NASCAR gives a vague handwave of, "Well, the racetrack security folks weren't doing their jobs . . ." that'll be some prime bullshit right there, evidence that this is just corporate theater rather than serious change.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:44 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


The Confederate States of America tried to destroy the United States government and continue treating citizens as slaves. They failed.

Did anyone else hear this in Susan Ivanova's voice? No? Just me. Okay then.
posted by Automocar at 9:10 AM on June 11 [11 favorites]


I had no idea who that was but thanks.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:21 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


This is great. As a white Southerner age 50, I can back up the (probably incredible to Northerners) fact that growing up, the Confederate flag was everywhere (Dukes of Hazzard, cars, restaurants, etc) and I never made any obvious connection to racism till much later. I think there was actually an essay linked a while back about a black guy who grew up loving the Dukes and he didn't think about it then either. At that time there really were a ton of people who just saw it as a regional symbol and not much else. Nothing to do with schooling - it was just "around". T-shirts with "proud to be Southern" and such. I think what's happened in the past few decades is that more and more people have realized it's problematic and dropped it, leaving only the most ignorant people and/or actual racists. We have a family friend who had it on his truck up till a couple years ago and he is otherwise a pretty enlightened (but country) guy who has black friends, goes to a black barbershop, etc. His wife finally got him to take it off, so, progress?
posted by freecellwizard at 9:56 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


If Confederate flags keep showing up and NASCAR gives a vague handwave of, "Well, the racetrack security folks weren't doing their jobs . . ." that'll be some prime bullshit right there, evidence that this is just corporate theater rather than serious change.

jquinby's comment above makes a lot of sense to me. The factor that will make this change work will be buy-in from NASCAR's heavy hitters. In the case of Clemson football, it was Coach Swinby himself rolling up in a golf cart and requesting a flag be taken down, and staying down. He made it personal. He didn't put it on the shoulders of some poor guy working security. I suppose the NASCAR equivalent would be someone like Joe Gibbs or Tony Stewart doing the requesting, making it personal.
posted by philip-random at 10:01 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


(FYI, JQuinby, Clemson is not in the SEC. They’re ACC. But they’re so good at football one can understand the error.)

I’m also a white 50 year old dude who grew up in the South (Mississippi). I remember understanding pretty early on what that flag meant, and being more than a little confused about attempts at “proud to be Southern” when it seemed pretty clear we weren’t doing all that well as a region, and that we were justifiably famous mostly for being utterly horrible to black people.

And it’s not like I was the child of Yankees, either — both sides of my family had been in MS for generations, predominately as poor rural people until my grandfather decided “enough of that” and went to med school in the 1930s.

I had no shortage of friends who had flags and idolized the Confederacy while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge the horrors it fought for. Lost Causes bullshit runs deep. I have no idea why it never made sense to me.

So I guess mileage varies?
posted by uberchet at 11:11 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


I am in NC. I am 100% astonished by NASCAR's decision. Things are happening fast these days.

Just to say this - I saw someone call it the Dixie Swastika and as far as I'm concerned, that's its name from now on.
posted by corvikate at 11:35 AM on June 11 [18 favorites]


Round here they fly giant confederate flags off the back of the pickup trucks when we have Democratic presidents, and giant US flags when we get a Republican president. So maybe this is good time for Nascar to transition. Next year it might be harder.
posted by bitslayer at 11:54 AM on June 11


Funny to think that a guy named Ciccarelli thinks that a Confederate would want the likes of him in their country. It's like NASCAR doesn't even have mandatory courses on 19th-century race science and nativism!

As a Mississippian, I used to be proud of the flag for heritage reasons, when I was a teenager. Needless to say, I changed my mind when I'd seen something of the world. Embarrassingly, it took me longer to see malice in other white people's use of the flag; I only trusted that POC saw it, and that was enough for me. But in the past twenty years, it has grown harder and harder to believe that someone was innocently wrongheaded about it, and today I just assume that person is an asshole. I don't even assume they're Southern anymore.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:10 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


NASCAR events draw hundreds of thousands of fans. i doubt they'll be able to control a couple hundred wanting to publicly thumb their nose at the yanks. especially if the rest of the crowd is sympathetic.

Then turn that car back around. Stop the race and send everybody home. Easy peazy.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:36 PM on June 11


Can we get rid of don’t tread on me flags next?
posted by freecellwizard at 1:54 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]




Dunno if this is real or not, but screencap from the since-closed Ray Ciccarelli Twitter account:

Ray Ciccarelli
@RayCiccarelli

I'd like to announce I'm retiring from NASCAR after this season. I cannot drive a car for a league that won't allow my special flag.

8:56 AM - 11 Jun 20
NASCAR @NASCAR
We actually had to Google who you were. I'm sure your dozens of fans are real sad about your crusade to defend participation trophies.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:57 PM on June 11 [11 favorites]


just checked out Mr. Ciccarelli's wiki. This shows up under NASCAR departure announcement:

I don't believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love. I could care less about the Confederate Flag, but there are ppl that do and it doesn't make them a racist all you are doing is fucking one group to cater to another and i ain't spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!"

I still think Hitler's worse.
posted by philip-random at 10:44 PM on June 11


Cool, I guess. I'm kind of wondering whether they should ban all flags next, including the Stars and Stripes.
posted by cinchona at 2:29 AM on June 12


How is loving a flag NOT “political BS?”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:27 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


I guess it's the unconscious kind. I referenced The Clash's Joe Strummer's feelings on Duran Duran elsewhere recently -- that they were every bit as political as The Clash, they just happened to have no great problem with the status quo so people tended not to notice. I suspect in the deep south, it's been similar with regard to the rebel flag. How can something so ubiquitous be political? The quick answer, only really easy to see if you're looking from the outside in, is how could it not be?
posted by philip-random at 8:43 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Geez this is depressing. Right now bloody NASCAR is more progressive than the Unitarian Universalist church in my hometown, the UU my mother attended for decades. The one that claims to be a safe space for people of color and LGBT people.

A few years back some guy who, no shit, called himself "Rebel" decided to try attending. And that was cool, no one objected. But he always wore a Confederate flag jacket and some people suggested that he should not wear that flag in the church. Those people were told in no uncertain terms that since the UU was "devoted to radical inclusivity" it was very, very, wrong to ask Rebel to stop wearing his Klan flag in the church. There was a big fuss about it, for small town UU levels of big fuss. In the end the congregation and minister came down overwhelmingly in favor of the Klan flag, and the one black family who had been going to the church quietly stopped attending. A handful of other people stopped attending less quietly.

Rebel, his goal achieved and the church riven and split, it's hypocrisy and apathetic embrace of racism exposed, stopped going after he got his win.

NASCAR is more progressive than my hometown "liberal" UU Church.

WTF 2020?


The Underpants Monster Simple, "political" is stuff they don't like. There's two races, white and political. There's two sexes male and political. There's two orientations straight and political. There's two parties Republicans and political. To them being male, white, Confederate loving, cis, het, and Christian isn't political it's "normal", and it's only the deviations from that normal that are political.
posted by sotonohito at 9:27 AM on June 12 [24 favorites]


I'm kind of wondering whether they should ban all flags next, including the Stars and Stripes.

I'm in a discussion on a friend's facebook post about this issue - a handful of us and one dude who's way into the flag - and he actually used this as one of his trump-card arguments - "maybe we should ban ALL flags at NASCAR events, whaddya think about THAT?"

Clearly he was expecting us to be all "oh mercy no" or something. But everyone else in the conversation reacted with "that's not a bad idea, actually" or "I'd be cool with that" or "sure, if that's what they want."

...He has dropped that line of argument.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:51 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


NASCAR truck racer Ray Ciccarelli says he is quitting after Confederate flag ban.

Driver Honors Confederacy by Retiring with Same Number of Wins
posted by kirkaracha at 11:05 AM on June 12 [8 favorites]


In honor of their desire to be treated as a separate country, please refer to the opposing sides in the Civil War as the Confederates and the Americans.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:13 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


> wondering whether they should ban all flags next

Oh, that's kinda how my town, the last technical capital of the confederacy after Richmond fell, got rid of the Dixie Swastika flying in front of the historic mansion where the last Confederate cabinet meeting was held. They banned the flying of all flags on city-owned property that were NOT: The US flag, the state flag, or the POW/MIA flag.

The rule was challenged in court, and it withstood. The result was that the Confederate flag came down from the mansion grounds, and "flag supporters" purchased and/or received multiple donations of land around the city to erect flagpoles flying giant Confederate flags around the area. Now the "flag supporters" stand on the sidewalk in front of the mansion every Saturday afternoon for hours, bearing confederate flags and jeering at everyone who passes by.

So the net result is more Confederate flags, and at a glance the city looks even more racist than it did before, but at least A) the flags aren't on city property and B) it is easier to identify and boycott the establishments that support racism.

I suspect a similar outcome will occur with NASCAR: giant Confederate flags will spring up in highly conspicuous places, in full view of TV cameras, but just out of the reach of NASCAR jurisdictions and NASCAR-related property lines.
posted by glonous keming at 12:03 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


They banned the flying of all flags on city-owned property that were NOT: The US flag, the state flag, or the POW/MIA flag. The rule was challenged in court, and it withstood. The result was that the Confederate flag came down from the mansion grounds, and "flag supporters" purchased and/or received multiple donations of land around the city to erect flagpoles flying giant Confederate flags around the area. Now the "flag supporters" stand on the sidewalk in front of the mansion every Saturday afternoon for hours, bearing confederate flags and jeering at everyone who passes by.

You know, it's not just the flag that they're trying to defend that gets me with the Confederate flag defenders - it's the pettiness. They really have no idea how petty, childish, and immature they look.

I'm reminded of a scene someone who was traveling wrote about - a woman traveling with two kids, and they got to the entry gate to wait for their plane, and there was only one empty seat available. The kids started squabbling over who was going to get to sit down, and the mother settled it by saying that the kids could take turns - each one sitting in it for five-minute shifts. And each time, during each kid's five-minute shift, they would be sitting there - doing nothing BUT stubbornly sitting there, little brow furrowed in determination and staring straight ahead, as their sibling nagged and teased and asked their mother if five minutes was over yet and taunting their sibling that they were going to get to sit in the chair too when five minutes was up, and...

It's just so immature.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:44 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


I was at Daytona in February for the Truck race - my first big league race event in person - and while I do recall there being a few confederate flags, what floored me was the absolute sea of blue Trump flags in the infield.
posted by ElGuapo at 2:24 PM on June 13


It just struck me today that the Confederacy only lasted five years out of 244. Let it go, already.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:45 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


absolute sea of blue Trump flags in the infield.
If you want a flag that says WHITE PERSON TRAITOR RACIST you no longer need a Confederate flag; a Trump flag will do nicely.
posted by benzenedream at 10:44 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


> the Confederacy only lasted five years out of 244. Let it go, already

I think one must also consider the oversized import these flaggers place on flags themselves and what they symbolize. There is overlap among people who consider the flying of the confederate flag important and people who consider the gold fringe on a US flag a symbol of secret admiralty law sovereignty or whatever that nonsense is. These are the people who will "Well actually" you about how the Bill of Rights is legally suspended or how some bizarre technicality about how King George is still the king of America because someone's signature on a document didn't have a dot over the letter "i" or any other flavor of bullshit one might care to cook up.

In the case of my locality, I think that the flaggers here believe that by having the confederate flag still flying over the house where the final proclamation of Jefferson Davis's presidency was issued, it lends some magical authenticity and gravity to their racist cause. That, in secret, the Confederate States of America still technically exists, hidden under our nose all this time, just waiting for it's moment to throw off the blanket and Rise Again. By taking down the flag at the Last Capital Of The Confederacy a blow was struck against their twisted fantasies of True Southern Sovereignty, breaking a chain of mystical flag symbolism reaching back to at least 1865.

For me this explains why, around here, when they're doing their marches and flag displays, they hold signs admonishing us to "never forget" the date that the flag was removed in 2015.
posted by glonous keming at 11:11 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


METAFILTER: breaking a chain of mystical flag symbolism reaching back to at least 1865.
posted by philip-random at 8:24 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


while I do recall there being a few confederate flags, what floored me was the absolute sea of blue Trump flags in the infield.

….I wonder if you may start seeing it swing back to confederate flags on the t-shirts of spectators in a show of sheer cussedness.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I saw a Twitter thread recently that reminds that the Confederacy was also a terrible country.
posted by JHarris at 8:42 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


A noose was found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall on Sunday. No words really - I mean that is just straight up vile hatred. I hope whoever did it is found and made a very public/legal example - especially if they have any sort of profile within the sport.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:47 AM on June 22


kudos to NASCAR for getting the FBI involved
posted by philip-random at 9:21 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


It's going to get worse for a while as we tighten the screws on the Slavers. It's important to remember that they're doing this because we're shutting down their societally-sanctioned avenues to express White Supremacy (police murder without consequences, recognition of sovereignty of a Slave/Traitor state, etc.).
posted by benzenedream at 10:55 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


83 year old Richard Petty, owner of Wallace's team, NASCAR's all-time leader in race wins, acknowledged KING of the sport, weighs in ...

“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team,” said Petty. “There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism. This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice, and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change.

“The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed, and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR. I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day forward.”

posted by philip-random at 12:33 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


FBI determines that Wallace was not a hate crime target

The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.
posted by philip-random at 5:05 PM on June 23


What the fuuuuuuuck? Someone just happened to leave a noose around the joint in 2019 coincidentally?! Whaaaaaaat?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:50 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Apparently it was a garage door pull, and if you’re fashioning that sort of thing from rope there’s a pretty undeniable functionality to a noose-like knot for the purpose. Still, whoever did it really should have realized why it was a bad idea.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:11 PM on June 23


it was also apparently the only garage door pull in the entire pit area that had been fashioned as a noose and so sheer dumb luck that it ended up being Wallace's garage as nobody would have known it would be back in 2019.

Needless to say, it's not playing well across social media -- Bubba Wallace is now Bubba Smollet and people who instinctively cried hoax when it first happened are gushing with vindictive triumphalism. To be clear, it seems that Wallace had zero to do with any of this beyond being the guy who ended up in the camera eye. The noose was discovered by a member of his crew (it's unclear whether Wallace ever even saw it), NASCAR was alerted. Somebody (probably NASCAR) chose to go directly to the media with it ...

And now here we are.

Link is to a defense of Bubba Wallace but it's illustrative of the ugliness going down.
posted by philip-random at 8:47 PM on June 23


Apparently it was a garage door pull, and if you’re fashioning that sort of thing from rope there’s a pretty undeniable functionality to a noose-like knot for the purpose.

They didn't have any ex-scouts or guys with boats around?. Monkey's Fist Knot
posted by mikelieman at 12:51 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Apparently it was a garage door pull, and if you’re fashioning that sort of thing from rope there’s a pretty undeniable functionality to a noose-like knot for the purpose.

I'm not sure I would go with a knot that will get a smaller handhold everytime it is pulled. Nooses tighten under load.
posted by srboisvert at 1:28 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


it was also apparently the only garage door pull in the entire pit area that had been fashioned as a noose and so sheer dumb luck that it ended up being Wallace's garage as nobody would have known it would be back in 2019.

Was it dumb luck? He was after all assigned the only garage that had a noose garage pull.
posted by srboisvert at 1:29 PM on June 26


Yeah, it was dumb luck. NASCAR assigns garages by championship points.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:55 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]




« Older mountains + bikes   |   Cartoonist Mari Naomi raises monarch butterflies! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments