Bubba Wallace: NASCAR driver learning to ’embrace’ activism
The sudden attention came after Wallace last month called for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag. Just days later, NASCAR and the FBI opened an investigation after a crew member spotted what appeared to be a noose in Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway.
The FBI report later revealed the item had been in the team’s garage since last year and that Wallace was, therefore, not the victim of a hate crime.
Following the investigation, the 26-year-old spoke out about racism and subsequently received backlash, including President Donald Trump calling on the driver to apologize.
“I’ve encountered more racist people than ever in my life in the past few weeks. All because I spoke out,” he wrote, in an essay titled ‘Come with me’. .
Wallace, the only black driver on NASCAR’s top circuit, said the recent investigation was “really hard” and he was frustrated by the ordeal.
“I will say this [about the noose]. Having been in garage stalls on weekdays, you don’t recognize those things,” he wrote.
“Often a lot of action happens when you’re in the garage. And even for me, just standing there, when I climb out of the car and watch my boys work for a minute, I don’t Look at the rope hanging on the garage door.
“And so whoever tied it, tie it up and leave it there, that’s it. And move on. We’re only in Talladega twice a year. And so the reason it sits there is because that’s the first time the garage has been in use since October.”
Wallace said people tried to use the investigation to discredit him, especially after he spoke out about Confederate flags’ use.
The symbol has become synonymous with his sport over the years, but after learning about its history, Wallace has called for its use to end.
“It just alienates people. I’m still educating myself on these issues just like everyone else,” he wrote, saying he knew he would be targeted by his words.
“If you go back and read about the Confederacy – which I am still learning about – you will understand what those people were fighting for.
“People will say anything to defend it. But make no mistake: It was a war over slavery. It was about the South trying to keep their slaves.”
Last month, NASCAR announced the Confederate flag would be banned from all official events in response to worldwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of the killings. dead George Floyd.
Wallace welcomed the decision and said the sport he loves finally has a chance for real change.
At a race in Tennessee on Wednesday, however, a plane flew a Confederate flag over the track in front of Bristol Motor Speedway, proving the problem is far from over for some NASCAR fans.
‘I’m full of energy’
While never wanting to stand out, Wallace wants to use her position to continue fighting for change and has praised the Black Lives Matter movement that has gained momentum over the past months.
In his essay, Wallace explains his own experiences with racism, one of which he says happened recently.
He said an undercover officer advised him to pull over before questioning whether he could afford the car he was driving.
“Listen, I’m new to all this. I’m still learning. But I’ve never been one to follow the crowd because it’s safe or easy, and I’m not going to start now.” , he wrote.
“We have a lot of work to do – but I’m ready for anything. I may be tired right now, but I’m full of energy for what the future awaits.”
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