It’s Famous Friday

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace

Happy Friday Everyone!  Today we are highlighting the Nascar driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace!  Bubba Wallace was born on October 8, 1993 in Mobile, Alabama.  His father is white and his mother is black.  Bubba grew up in North Carolina with his sister and parents.  He has been racing since the age of 9, and became the second full-time Black driver in history to compete in NASCAR Cup series.  Wallace has been seen as one of the most successful African American drivers in NASCAR history.

Bubba Wallace is the only Black, and more specifically one of the few biracial drivers in NASCAR.  He is part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program.  The program’s purpose is to bring more diversity to the sport of racing.  They want to attract more minority and female participants and broaden its fan base, which both are made up of predominantly white males at the moment.  As a minority driver in NASCAR, Wallace has defended himself on twitter about his racial background.  Fans had been complaining about how his ethnicity was frequently mentioned when he had a race.  In response he posted  “There is only 1 driver from an African American background at the top level of our sport..I am the 1. You’re not gonna stop hearing about ‘the black driver’ for years.  Embrace it, accept it and enjoy the journey.”

With the recent social unrest in the United States and around the world, Bubba Wallace has taken a stand against racism in the US and within NASCAR itself.  Bubba was deeply impacted after he watched the video of Amaud Abery’s murder, he knew he had to do something.  In fact, he was moved to help ban the Confederate Flag from NASCAR races.  Wallace also took part in a video with his fellow NASCAR peers, condemning racism and showing their commitment to listening and learning about racial injustice.  Unfortunately, earlier this week a noose was found in Wallace’s Alabama garage stall.  NASCAR responded by launching an investigation and saying “We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act… there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”  On twitter, Bubba wrote in response to the finding of the noose “As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”  The FBI concluded that Bubba Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime and the rope had been there as early as last fall.  However, because of the recent, painful racial trauma and tension within the US, it was still upsetting.  After news about the noose, the racing community wanted to show their support for Wallace.  On Monday, drivers, pit crew members along with others, rallied around him and walked with him and his car to the front.  This is a great visual as to how the world needs to come together to support and love the Black community.  I am also encouraged as to how Bubba Wallace responded, he wants to help and will not back down even if others are trying to stop him!

 

Madelyn Rempel, Project RACE Kids President

Picture Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/sports/autoracing/bubba-wallace-nascar-black-lives-matter-confederate-flag.html Photographer- Barry Centrell

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