March 09, 2003

NASCAR's Rise: "Consider, 4 out of 5 NBA players are African American, 67 percent of NFL players are minorities, and last season, 23 percent of major league baseball players were born in Spanish-speaking countries (an increase of 40 percent from 1989). All of those sports, except football, are experiencing a dip in popularity. Meanwhile, the conspicuously white NASCAR is on an unprecedented run up the profit chart."

posted by owillis to other at 11:32 AM - 4 comments

George Carlin, in my opinion, had the definitive take on auto racing: "Where else can I see a 30-car pileup and not be in the son-of-a-bitch?"

posted by Jaquandor at 09:22 PM on March 09, 2003

I'd pick this comment, from the same linked article, as the reasoning: "ESPN Magazine, for example, is cutting edge in the world of sports but is definitely playing to a young, urban mentality. A recent cover story on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick ... decked out in black leather and heavy silver jewelry, standing in the dark street in front of a black Cadillac, practicing his rap star scowl. That may be perfect for ESPN's youthful audience, but to the work-a-day daddy in the middle class, a picture like that - or the sight of an elaborately tattooed NBA player such as Allen Iverson - looks like a postcard from a parallel universe. Middle America had the same reaction when it saw those stoned, long-haired rock stars and hippie war protesters in the '70s. Who are these guys?" Let's not forget that, while the hip-hop generation seems to be taking hold on sports such as basketball, the older generation still control the airwaves. Young people from the newer generation are just now starting to come on to the key TV demographic, so who knows where this path leads in 5-10 years? Maybe we'll be talking about how professional basketball has finally gotten over itself and learned to play a fundamentally sound game again, allowing people (like me) to again enjoy what once was their favorite sport. Personally, I don't like Nascar. But, I haven't liked professional basketball for awhile now, due to the fact that the newer generations of players are more worried about dribbling pretty then making a jump shot. Also, just to finish this post on-topic, I feel this article is searching for racism where it hasn't really shown itself recently. Have minorities tried to race in events in the last 10-15 years and been turned away? That would be racism to argue about, moreso then this subject.

posted by bcb2k2 at 08:48 AM on March 10, 2003

Perhaps NASCAR, since it is so big on its own history, should publicize such drivers as Wendell Scott, even though it took it's sweet time to do right by him after he won his most important victory.

posted by trox at 04:28 PM on March 10, 2003

There are a couple of different factors at play. No, I don't believe NASCAR itself is racist. However, they do attract a certain element of fans that might not be too friendly for African-Americans. At just about every race you'll see a Confederate flag flown by one of its fans. Furthermore, racing takes a lot of money. There are plenty of talented race car drivers of all colors sitting on the sidelines because of a lack of funds. It also takes a lot of money to get started. Until the earning power of African Americans become on-par with whites, you're not going to see a lot of them racing. I know in F1, McLaren has already signed up Lewis Hamilton, a young black British karting hotshot, to a contract and he's been very quick in the lower formulaes of European open-wheel road racing, so it might not be too long before we see a black F1 driver and possibly F1 champion.

posted by gyc at 05:50 PM on March 10, 2003

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