Promoting Racing in the Age of Cancel Culture
We live in an extraordinary time. 2020 hasn’t been a kind year.
Many of us involved in grassroots racing are used to being pretty much ignored by anyone outside of the sport. But with racing being one of the few sports operating in any sort of capacity, we’re seeing attention like never before.
We have been given an opportunity.
What are we going to do with it?
What happens next is the responsibility of each and every person involved in racing. That means race teams, track promoters, and manufacturers/retailers. There’s a spotlight on the sport, even at the grassroots level.
Now is the time to share stories, invite new people to attend, and tell the world the deep “why” of what racing means to us.
This may not grab national headlines, but maybe, just maybe, a person or a business owner in a local community sees those posts and decides to attend a race for the first time. It’s a lot better than the alternative.
We live in cancel culture today. If you’re not familiar with the term, it means that if a person or a business steps out of line by doing or saying something objectionable of offensive, they are “cancelled.” An army of keyboard warriors on social media will attack the business, business owner, and any supporters they can find. Do we want that for racing? Absolutely not.
Maybe you’re not afraid of a few keyboard warriors. You should be.
Let’s say a track owner says something offensive. The army attacks the social media accounts of every sponsor. They may even pick up the phone and talk to the sponsors. What will the sponsors do? Leave, of course. But it won’t stop there. Some drivers will see this happening and won’t go to that track. For drivers that do decide to race, the army will attack every driver and their sponsors. They may even call a driver’s boss at their job and ask that they be fired just for associating with the offensive track. This gets ugly. Unless the track owner has deep pockets and is willing to step back and likely wait out the rest of the season, the track is unlikely to survive.
And what about other tracks? Negativity about racing reflects on us all.
So, what can we do? I understand that there is a lot of tension in the world right now. Everyone has an opinion. What I ask is that we step back and look at the bigger picture. If we want to make this about winning and losing, it’s about winning and losing the opportunity to race.
This is about the survival of racing.
It’s about having racing available as an option for generations to come.
So, before posting or replying to a post in a way that could possibly be racist, just don’t. If you see it happening, ask the person nicely and privately to take it down. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.
We are not a racist sport. It’s time to start showing it.
Note: I’m purposely not mentioning any particular situations because I don’t want to add any more attention to them. Calling them out in a post would lend more publicity, thus hurting racing even more than the irresponsible ones already have.