The Frontstretch: Voices From The Cheap Seats: If They Can Keep At It, So Can I by Jeff Meyer -- Friday June 7, 2013

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Hey, I’d let it drop if they would but they won’t so I feel there is a need for a dissenting opinion. What am I talking about, you ask? NASCAR’s Drive for Racism…I mean Diversity. You want to join? Here’s how…

Search Underway For 2014 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Candidates: Applications are being accepted online for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Combine until Aug. 26. To access the application, please visit revracing.net/combine-application. The application for the annual Combine is the first phase of the selection process for the NASCAR D4D program. The Combine evaluation process consists of five elements: physical fitness, driver resume, media aptitude, driver communications/knowledge and driving skills on and off track. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 26 as of Oct. 15, and must be a member of an ethnic minority classification or a female of U.S. citizenship. Those who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. can apply to participate in the Combine as well.(NASCAR)(6-5-2013)

Jeff Meyer weighs in with his thoughts on whether drivers should have extra opportunities not available to others solely based on their ethnicity or gender.

Before I go any further, let me say this; I swear, when I first saw this the other day, it was longer. Now I could be mistaken, but I could have sworn there was a bit in there about how the D4D program was vitally important to providing top notch drivers for the next generation of Cup Series drivers. A quote by so and so and a few other tidbits were also in there but dang, do you think I could find it now? NO! I guess I should have copied it then, before it was censored. Again, I may be wrong but I distinctly remember how I was going to use said quotes and info and thinking I had a couple of days to formulate my thoughts in my head. We may never know, but anyway, let me throw a few thoughts out there…

Search Underway For 2014 NBA Drive For Diversity Candidates: Applications are being accepted online for the NBA Drive 4 Diversity (D4D) Combine until Aug. 26. The application for the annual Combine is the first phase of the selection process for the NBA D4D program. The Combine evaluation process consists of five elements: physical fitness, player resume, media aptitude, player communications/knowledge and ball handling skills on and off court. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 26 as of Oct. 15, and must be a member of a white classification or a female of U.S. citizenship. Those who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. can apply to participate in the Combine as well.(NASCAR)(6-5-2013)

Gee, wouldn’t that cause an uproar! Or how about a drive for less Latino/Cuban/Puerto Rican in Major League Baseball?

My point is, once again, if you actively set restrictions for applicants based on race, is that not racist?

A couple of weeks ago when I wrote on this subject, a man calling himself ‘the smartest guy in the room’ and who happened to be a minority, made some very good points in the comment section but he too, in my opinion failed to get the main point. He said in part…

“I believe to an extent that you are missing the point, perhaps intentionally. Whites have always had advantages others have not. History lesson, the founding fathers were all Anglo. As far as I know, blacks never owned whites as slaves, and whites never had to sit at the back of a bus in the south. These are facts, not rumors, conjecture or innuendo. What does this have to do with your post? Indirectly, your belief is you and other whites are being “discriminated” against. My belief, as a multiracial American: welcome to my world. I don’t share nor agree with your beliefs. I don’t have a problem with people getting advantages that they may not have had because of their backgrounds if it means leveling an unequal playing field, up to a point.”

My reply.

“I hear what you are saying and you make an eloquent argument…however..
Maybe sometime in the past some of my kin owned some of your kin, I don’t know. Maybe my granddad got to sit where ever he wanted while you’re granddad had to sit in the back of the same bus, I don’t know. The point is, it is in the PAST! It didn’t affect you, and it doesn’t affect me. As a white anglo, I refuse to be held accountable for the sins of white anglo past.
Those wrongs have been righted by the blood and/or determination of possibly both our kin.
I don’t care if you are black, white, yellow, red, green or purple…just be a MAN/PERSON and get over it already.
Stand tall and even with me and lets just be people!
As always, I truly appreciate your feedback and the fact that you did it in a tactful manner and not filled with hate and or rhetoric. Thanks for being a fan!”

The more I got to thinking about all this, I remembered a kid I met a few years ago who, at the age of 14, had some serious racing skills and was winning in almost everything he raced in. His family threw everything they had into furthering his career and damn near (maybe they did) went bankrupt to no avail. This kid is now 19 years old and yes, still white! Where is his shot? Not all families got the money like Busch’s, or Johnson’s or a host of other famous NASCAR stars now driving in the Cup Series. Why doesn’t this kid get a break? Simply because he is poor and white!

In this article, I’ve made some remarks tying blacks to basketball and latinos to baseball. Those are just generalities and used to make a point but we all know what the point is if you watch any professional sports at all. Count the white guys on the court at any given time…but do we try to do anything about it? NO. And we shouldn’t either!

I once wrote something to the effect of “hey, excuse me all to hell if stockcar racing happens to be a predominantly white sport!” I still stand by that and just because the sport I like happens to be mostly white, I refuse to apologize for being white.

This sport is wrong for trying to bring in participants solely based on their skin color or gender and as long as they keep advertising that practice, I will be here to rail against it.

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Zackary Shawn
06/07/2013 03:10 AM
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I agree. Whoever gets rides in NASCAR (or in whoever gets a job in general) should be based solely on qualifications. When you have less qualified people take positions from more qualified people just to fill a politically correct quota then you usually have a crappy product.

Batman1970
06/07/2013 06:13 AM
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Jeff,

Though I understand where the content for this article comes from, I must disagree with you. I’m a white guy, and I can honestly say I’ve never been discriminated against. I doubt any of my ancestry owned slaves (though I have no doubt that some of them would have had no problem with the practice). But both the past and present DO affect me and people who are minorities in the United States.

A few years back, a friend of mine (who happened to be black woman) went to a local farmer’s market with a white friend to buy some flowers. Her friend bought her flowers first and wrote a check for the total sum. When my friend pulled out her checkbook to pay for her items, the white man said, “we don’t accept checks.”

This sort of discrimination happens all the time to people who are minorities. I grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania, which tends to support racism as a general rule. I remember when I was very young telling a racist joke in front of a mixed-race friend and being baffled why he didn’t find the content of the joke funny.

My point is that racism isn’t always overt and malicious in nature. Sometimes it comes from the ignorance of not understanding other cultures and races. Many people have not had the exposure to other parts of the culture enough to begin to understand them or to understand why what they say or do in relation to those other cultures why it might be offensive. Just because some things are done out of ignorance doesn’t mean they’re any less offensive — it just means they can be excused a bit more easily (at least until the ignorance is pointed-out, and then it really should be corrected).

In your article, you mentioned that the young man’s family nearly bankrupted themselves to give their son the opportunity to be successful in an activity he loved. What wonderful parents. That’s a hard decision to make, but not all parents are in the financial position to even give the child the opportunity to become interested in a given activity, much less get deep enough in to come close to bankruptcy on the behalf of the child.

We tend to oversimplify this type of conversation to race, but it’s actually a number of factors including economics, social standing, cultural identification and other factors. While I do not often agree with NASCAR, their qualification of having “media aptitude” speaks a little to that. Basically, they’re saying that a qualified applicant needs to be able (or be able to learn how) to speak to the current demographic.

NASCAR at its higher levels is INCREDIBLY competitive. No one is able to maintain their position simply for their race or gender. Ultimately, sponsors pay for results. I don’t care how pretty or “popular” the driver is, if that person cannot be consistently competitive, then that person will leave the upper echelon of stock car racing and find another way to race. If nothing else, sponsors want the recognition of victory lane (or other interview opportunities to have their brand mentioned on mass media).

Anyway, those are my two cents. I hope all who take the time to read this have a good day.

RickP
06/07/2013 08:14 AM
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Amen, Jeff! That the same stuff I’ve been saying for years.

As with the previous posting, examples can be dug up pointing out “discrimination”. We could say the same thing about the current administration (via reverse discrimination) for not prosecuting the Black Panthers for voter intimidation but want hate speech charges for dissing Islam.

The company I work for has a women’s group, an Asian group, an American Indian group, a Hispanic group, a black group, an LGBT group but there’s not white male group to be found. It sure makes me look around and try to determine who got their job because they’re the best and not because of race/gender.

Funny how no one bitches when things are slanted in their favor.

Johnboy60
06/07/2013 09:24 AM
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AMEN to Jeff and RickP!!

Old farmer
06/07/2013 11:02 AM
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Jeff: You got it exactly right this time. Congratulations.

The Mad Man
06/07/2013 11:18 AM
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The first slave owned in the United States was owned in the state of Virginia. The ethnicity of the slave owner? Black. Your history lesson for the day.

fuzzy
06/07/2013 11:30 AM
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It appears Batman has lost Robin !!!

jerseygirl
06/07/2013 12:26 PM
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Batman, you say you’ve never been discriminated against as a white male? Congratulations. I don’t know many people who have not been discriminated against – ever – for some reason or another.

I am in the camp of let the most qualified person for the job get it, not to fill any role by a quota system.

Thanks for the history lesson, Mad Man.

Kevin in SoCal
06/07/2013 01:32 PM
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Batman1970 said: “I don’t care how pretty or “popular” the driver is, if that person cannot be consistently competitive, then that person will leave the upper echelon of stock car racing

And yet, Dale Jr still has a job. Explain that one?

Earner
06/07/2013 02:41 PM
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Agree with Jeff …Now Danica thats based on gender..Then theres the weirdos ..kevin in so cal ..Jr’s 6th in the points ..give your head a shake..Many years ago in Boston (late 70’s-early 80’s) The fire dept did training with male & female rookies. Only 1 of the female trainings cleared the test of bringing a body out of a building (some of this was also down stairs & a test on the ladder..Complaints flew & after an enlightening court case the judge ruled that the Boston Fire dept would (& I Quote) be required to make a test that the females could pass..& Down the standard went…Think I’ll go try & lose some weight now (just in case)

Joe..
06/07/2013 04:30 PM
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The person with the most qualifications,abilities gets the nod, no quotas. Nothing worse than misguided self serving self appointed white guilt.
I remember when Lee White of Toyota TRD first got into NASCAR and declared loudy that if you had a problem with Toyota coming into NASCAR you were nothing more than a racist. I never forgot that. Maybe people don’t like Toyota because of their cars nothing more.
Jeff, you’ve got stones to raise this subject. Many people are scared to point out flaws in the system.
I will never forget the picture of MLK pulling out a burnt cross in the front yard with his little boy standing next to him. There are better ways to get everyone on equal ground. No more screaming racist if someone has an objection or a different opinion. Want to be a great race car drive? Then go for it, I don’t give a damn who you are!

Joe..
06/07/2013 04:57 PM
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Wanted to state there should have bee a paragraph break between the MLK story and the next statement. Sorry for the awkward writing which gave the wrong impression of what I was trying to say. Hell, we need to get along, work together or this country will collapse from divisiveness.

spot1
06/09/2013 11:43 PM
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Um, after Pocono today, Jr. stands 4th in points.

 

Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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