Dunlap: Good Work, NASCAR

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We are supposed to be getting rid of those predisposed notions, right?

Our prejudices are, allegedly, going out the window. New time, new people; give peace and everyone a chance.

But I know what you think about NASCAR and the fan base surrounding it. You know it, too.

Come on here, it ain’t that hard, you know what I’m talking about: The good ole boy, tobacco chewin, redwings wearin’, pickup drivin’ fella … he loves NASCAR. And an ice-cold domestic beer. Maybe a shot of Beam or Jack. But he loves an ice-cold domestic beer. Yeah, and nothing with fruit in it. Lord no.  

And he loves George Strait if he’s older and Florida Georgia Line if he’s younger.

And, hell, they all --- no matter the age --- love Hank, Jr.

But, yeah, he loves NASCAR.

You know that’s the picture. Well, maybe not anymore. Or, at least, good on NASCAR for trying to rid themselves of such a stereotype.

I find it enlightening that the sport with the most typecast fan base was the one that made --- or maybe it simply needed to make --- the most aggressive statement as NASCAR banned the Confederate Flag from future races.

See that overt symbol of oppression and hate over there? Yeah, well, don’t bring it around anymore.

See those Stars and Bars flying high from that RV parked in the infield? Yeah, well, take it down, this is a sport now making a stand for inclusivity --- or at least taking a giant step in that direction.

So too is having Bubba Wallace, who is a black driver, rip around the track in a car emblazoned with the words “Black Lives Matter” on both sides.

I love it.

I really do.

It sends a strong and stern message that a place that perhaps in the past was rife with people carrying a questionable (and maybe downright intolerant) ideology needs to come around to modern day. It sends an uncompromising message that hate won’t be tolerated.

And save me the whole “Heritage Not Hate” stuff with the Confederate Flag. Such people, to me at least, are totally full of it. Every person I have ever seen flying or presenting a Confederate Flag in some way was giving the impression they wanted to intimidate, not that they wanted to teach another person some history lesson.

So maybe this really is a new age with NASCAR. Perhaps if someone in the future dares show up at a race with a Confederate Flag, they will run them off the same way they ran off driver Kyle Larson who used the N-word in an iRacing event, lost all his sponsors and is currently suspended indefinitely.

I hope we don’t see that bigot again.

I hope we don’t see the Confederate Flag at a race again.

But I know this for sure: Think what you will about the labels, casts and stereotypes around NASCAR, but it is giving the impression --- with actions --- it is a sport willing to undergo a culture change. Good on them.

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