I can’t believe I even have to type these words, but NASCAR today announced that it would be banning the Confederate flag at its events. I suppose we’re supposed to congratulate them?
The AP called the move a “dramatic if overdue step,” one which NASCAR must now “hope to convince some of its most ardent fans that it is truly time to leave the flag at home, leave those T-shirts in the drawer, scrape off the bumper stickers and hit the track without a trace of the longtime symbol to many of racism and slavery.”
“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,” NASCAR wrote in a statement. “The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
The issue was pushed by Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black driver, who said there is “no place” for them in the sport:
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace told CNN. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
While the NASCAR virgins among us (hello) might see the ban as both very, very late and very, very obvious, apparently the announcement didn’t change much ahead of Wednesday night’s race: Many people ignored the new rule and brought the flag anyway, hoisting it atop their campers and RVs. Well.