On Wednesday, June 10, NASCAR announced that it would ban confederate flags from all races and events. “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,” read a statement released by NASCAR on social media. “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 decision to ban the display of the confederate flag was prompted by the only full time black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series, Bubba Wallace, who called for the ban of the confederate in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon this past Monday. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags,” said Wallace. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.” On Tuesday, Wallace wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt before a NASCAR event and debuted a new paint scheme for his car dedicated to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and features a black arm and a white arm shaking hands with the words “Compassion, Love, Understanding” underneath. “Bravo,” Wallace said in an interview with Fox Sports 1 regarding NASCAR’s decision to ban the confederate flag. “Props to NASCAR and everybody involved. … There’s a lot of emotions on the racetrack and off the racetrack that are riding with us. Tonight is something special. Today has been special. Hats off to NASCAR.” Hey, if NASCAR can begin to take positive steps in the fight toward racial justice, maybe there’s hope for us yet.