If these last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that racism is alive and well in America.
As NASCAR Cup Series’ only Black driver, it was only time before someone would make their feelings known about his participation in a sport that has widely excluded Black and brown participants. Just this past weekend it was revealed that a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, leading into a major race.
In the wake of the incident, Wallace is still holding his head high however.
“I’m proud to stand where I’m at. … This sport is changing,” Wallace said following the race. “The deal that happened [Saturday] — sorry for not wearing my mask — I wanted to show whoever it was, you are not going to take away my smile. I’m going to keep on going.”
The 26-year-old Wallace was surrounded by all 39 other drivers in the moments before the race as they pushed his No. 43 to the front of the line. An emotional Wallace climbed out of his car and wept.
“Been tough, been hell,” Wallace said. “I wouldn’t say hell, just been hectic — carrying this weight, carrying this burden. I wouldn’t say burden either. I’m proud to stand where I’m at and carry a new face.”
It was a moving showcase of solidarity, though much work is still needed to dismantle the racism that exists in NASCAR and the sport at large — especially since his mother notes that this was not Wallace’s first brush with racism. At the end of the procession, Wallace hugged a number of his supporters — mostly Black supporters — who had come out to support Wallace following the incident.