NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace tweeted his utmost respect and praise for Lewis Hamilton, a Formula One driver and Black Lives Matter activist.
Lewis Hamilton has defied the expectations for Formula One drivers. in 2007, he had one of the greatest rookie performances in F1 history. Also, he has surpassed Sir Jackie Stewart for the most championship titles by a British driver.
Beyond being a seven-time champion in racing, he is also a champion in activism.
Wallace and Hamilton Activism
His official website, is an interesting photo and video collection of Hamilton’s life, from racing to fashion to giving back.
Hamilton has continued to urge that BLM protests are about human rights, not at all about politics.
At a race in September, Hamilton wore a shirt in support of the BLM movement. “Lewis Hamilton has insisted his support for anti-racism and protests against incidences of racial injustice will not be inhibited by any new FIA rulings. Hamilton attracted controversy at the last meeting at Mugello by wearing a T-shirt bearing the words ‘Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor‘ before and after the race,” according to The Guardian.
Hamilton urges that sports should be a place to help push positive messages toward people about human rights issues. He has not been alone in his urge to help NASCAR to become more inclusive.
According to AP News, Bubba Wallace drastically urged NASCAR to finally ban the Confederate flag. The latest demographics show that there is an overwhelmingly white fan base for NASCAR with about 75% of fans being white. Besides steps to be inclusive from those within racing, fans are urging inclusivity as well.
Wallace is leading in helping revise a sport with racism tainting its past. In June after the Confederate flag ban, Wallace had a hate crime committed against him. Someone tied a noose on the door inside Wallace’s garage stall.
Working Toward Inclusivity
Longtime fan Kevin Johnson wants it to become a “more inviting” area for everyone.
“Johnson has been called racist slurs at the track, felt queasy at the sight of the Confederate flag and often wondered if the good-ol’-boy Southern attitudes seeped in the sport would ever fade,” he told Associated Press.
Additionally, the disparity is also clear in the drivers themselves.
According to The Washington Post, there have only been two African American drivers to compete in NASCAR’s cup series. The sport has been around for 73 years. They are Bubba Wallace and Wendell Scott.
While more inclusivity happens and racing’s platform diversifies, perhaps the younger generation will have more exposure to the sport. This could lead to a future of diverse drivers and audiences.
The words “Still I Rise” are carefully inked on Hamilton’s back, a constant reminder of his ability to defy expectations a be a beacon for leadership and change.