I was taught to start off every writing piece with accreditation. I don’t have any in this case. I’m a white man who has never dealt with oppression. Now that we’ve established that here are some thoughts and suggestions for my fellow racers and friends:
Be the best person you can be. Numerous people find the N-word to be offensive. It may be “just a word” to some but history lessons and conversations with minorities will bring forth opposing opinions.
American society, organizations, and companies have deemed the N-word as being offensive and hateful. The notion of determining such words as unacceptable is to make our country and workplaces more accepting and welcoming. What is more of an uphill battle: to argue the use and acceptance of the word or just not use it at all? It shouldn’t matter if it’s used in rap songs nor if it’s how blacks refer to each other. Focus on yourself.
I mean “it’s only 1 word,” so it shouldn’t be difficult to omit it from one’s word bank, right? Besides, dropping the word can prevent possible distressing situations. Again, be the best person you can be.
Be the best representative you can be. You are a representative of the sport. It doesn’t matter if you are a racer, team member, sponsor, or race fan. American auto racing has a reputation for being unreceptive to minorities. Our sport has plenty of barriers that prevent growth and this is possibly the biggest of them all. One of auto racing’s most essential allies are sponsors and business partners. When the business community gets wind that the sport contains hate and racism they lose involvement interest and decide to take their marketing revenue elsewhere. Let’s represent short track racing in the best manner possible.
Show disappointment in Kyle Larson. This year Kyle Larson and Michael Faccinto have given our sport a black eye. They have brought forth a substantial amount of negative press while resurging negative stereotypes that NASCAR and other sanctions have worked diligently towards burying. These setbacks will deter short track racing from growth by shunning away potential fans, racers, and sponsors. I don’t think Kyle Larson and Michael Faccinto are bad people but supporting them should only come after action is taken to repair the damage they’ve brought upon our sport. And a one-minute apology video isn’t an adequate repair.
Don’t show support for Kyle Larson (yet). Supporting him would be counter-productive at this time. Yes it was a mistake, an awfully big one. But keep in mind he signed contracts knowing he’d be viewed as a role model, therefore, be under a microscope at all times. Kyle Larson agreed to be a representative of the NASCAR and World Racing Group sanctions, numerous companies (including Fortune 500 corporations), and everybody involved in the sport. If one were to ask him 2 weeks ago what would happen if he were to use the N-word in a public setting he would affirm that it would destroy his career (suspensions, loss of job, sponsors, etc). He’s an adult and the penalties should come as no surprise especially knowing how much effort NASCAR has devoted to building a more diverse environment.
Do I feel bad for Kyle Larson? Of course. He’s not a monster. The consequences are harsh and life altering. He has a family to support. However, he’s only 27 years old and an exceptional racing talent. It’s his choice to find proactive ways to repair damage done to the sport; and his image for that matter. Five years from now Kyle Larson could be writing a completely new chapter in his racing life. In those five years let’s hope he can be an asset in making auto racing a more appealing and welcoming environment.
Practice new expressions. For years around the speedways the N-word has been used as a verb to describe being done wrong on the track. If anybody is wondering how to replace that expression here are some suggestions. “He or she…”
Ran me high.
Pile drove me.
Put me in the weeds.
Took me to the fence.
Ass fucked me.
Mega ass fucked me.
Sent me to the moon.
Body checked me.
Cleaned me out.
Please feel free to comment/share any of your own creative, non-discriminatory sayings.