The NASCAR driver deserves an apology. The fault lies with racing officials who set off the false alarm.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
It’s not unusual to put a loop at the end of a rope to pull down a garage door at a NASCAR track (which has lots of garages). But one at Talladega was made using a hangman’s knot. If directed at Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., a black driver who has championed antiracist causes, it would have been an ugly racist taunt. But it wasn’t. The rope had been hanging in the garage stall for months before anyone knew Mr. Wallace would occupy it.
All’s well that ends well. One point survives the column I would have written last Wednesday but didn’t for fear the matter would be resolved before the paper reached your breakfast table: The media’s instant theory of the case assumed good faith on the culprit’s part. He or she might have had offensive intent toward Mr. Wallace, but certainly no nefarious intent toward the media and its predictable hot buttons.
Of course the assumption was absurd. That’s why many NASCAR fans were skeptical and smelled a pseudo-event—one cooked up to create a media furor.
As it turned out, the FBI was called in and the rope was just a rope. Mr. Wallace is now a different kind of victim, explaining that he didn’t find the noose or complain about it—NASCAR called him in and tearfully declared that there had been a heinous racial incident.
When a single team member noticed the rope, NASCAR, instead of investigating, pawned the issue off on the Feds, vaguely murmuring about a possible hate crime. This was not brave. NASCAR is a surveillance organization, tightly controlling access to its garages for competition purposes. Its leaders likely could have discovered the truth in 15 minutes by examining video and questioning garage habitués. But a racing body once run by people unafraid to make a decision may have worried because NASCAR itself had assigned Mr. Wallace a garage space that came pre-equipped with a racist noose.
When a meteorite crashes through somebody’s roof, that’s a real news event. Real news events still happen. But the pre-emptory powers of media attention and media “narratives” have become dominant forces in their own right.
The story has heroes but they are the many Americans who resisted rushing to judgment even at the expense of being called names on Twitter. Al Sharpton and driver Jimmie Johnson also managed to convey disapproval with nuance. Both insisted, in so many words, that NASCAR find out not only “who” but “why,” as if motive might still be up for debate.
Sadly, once the truth was revealed, Mr. Sharpton decided the absence of intent was not a defense. “It’s clear what a noose represents,” he told MSNBC. A writer at the Atlantic, in the manner of sophisticates everywhere, relied on emphasis in place of argument, tweeting: “It. Was. A. Noose.” An unnamed NASCAR official told ESPN.com: “There [are] a lot of ways to tie a rope. This was unquestionably a noose. So, why?” Mr. Wallace himself on CNN ruled that any noose is offensive by virtue of being a noose.
OK, we can partly lay this off on people being made to feel foolish by this episode. But we are also witnessing something that might be called the closing of the doors of perception—or maybe the birth of the stupid.
A noose can mean anything or nothing. We need to retain all the possibilities. Some of us will never be able to see one without thinking of Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood. My fingers still regularly tie a hangman’s knot because, as Wikipedia notes, “it can be left with a larger loop that gives [a fishing] lure more freedom of movement.” Wikipedia even provides an animated GIF showing how to tie one. Nowhere in its entry, at least for now, does it say a hangman’s knot is always and only a symbol of racist hate.
Consider the reification fallacy (not to mention anachronism) of this sentence in my favorite newspaper, giving preference to the reduced and impoverished world of symbols over the large and encompassing world of the concrete: “A noose, one of the country’s starkest symbols of hatred and racism, had been on display in a working area at one of racing’s premier venues for months.”
Uh huh. The rope was just a rope until the 1 in 43 chance of Mr. Wallace being assigned a particular garage slot at last weekend’s race. If nobody had called attention to it, by Sunday passersby might have interpreted it as Mr. Wallace’s message of what he intended to do to fellow drivers.
Yes, we should be on the lookout for racial insults, but not to the point of robbing the world of its richness in the way that neurosis (so plentiful in this episode) robs personality of its richness.
Cedar's Take: Occasionally we stumble upon news and opinion items of current events that are either on point or in some case totally miss the mark. The choice is yours. So what do you think?
Nascar died the day Earnhardt bit the turn four wall at Daytona. The noose incident shows how far people in this country have lost their damned minds over this blm shit.
What I don’t get is how Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s logos are now racist? It’s a black woman selling pancakes and a nice black bald man selling rice. How’s that racist? It’s their product and their rich doing it. For that kind of money I’d change my name to uncle Ben legally tomorrow! Is the cream of wheat guy now a racist logo too? And if so, who makes the call? I’m thinking of a million dollar idea but it might be racist. We put Cecil’s photo on a box of Magnum’s and market it to folks that get some trim on the side.
That's some funny shit! Extra small Willy Condomns with Cecils face on the box. That's a Shark Tank pitch. Could sell thousands of those on QVC...
9:29. NASCAR did not die when Earnhardt died. It contained to grow for the next eight years till the recession hit. That coupled with a tv package that is totally unpredictable as to where it will be broadcast and when the race will be shown has had a huge impact. The pandemic is a real concern. Will fans’ interest have shifted too far by the time live craws are allowed back? We shall see.
Honestly, it looks like everyone is jumping off the CMPD ship. How many openings are at the DC level? JJ is an idiot and was picked to be a pawn for the mayor and CM. The CM is a racist and dope, too. They have been screwing us over for years on pay and raises. Remember when he took money off the back end of the pay scale to help with recruitment? Also, there wont be any raises due to the COVID recession. They are doing layoffs at the state level, and these people need new affordable housing complexes to squat at.
But they got 2 million for the fucking helicopter upgrades. SMH
If JJ is going after racists, why is Garnes still working here after his comments about caucasian officers? Imagine if it was the other way around..
1:22, what was Garnes’ comment?
Look up how many people have been shot in Charlotte alone in the last 10 days. Cedar you like numbers. This is a preview of the Defunding the Police movement. No Police, No Justice!!!!! How many people have been shot in cities across the country in the last 10 days? It was looking good for Charlotte on the homicide rate until about a month ago. It was looking like a big reduction from last year but now who knows. PoPo are not being aggressive and sitting back protecting their jobs now. You cant stick in my ass if I'm sitting on it. Good job Charlotte!!!
8:03... forget that piddly non-sense. I want to know where I can buy the specialty Trojans with Cecil’s face on them. I want to make sure I buy a few boxes before the woke mob gets them taken away. There is a few hoes I need to plow on 3rd shift. PS. Does it become more racist if I’m hitting one of these hoes from behind while eating a stack of Aunt Jemima’s Pancakes? I’m sure gonna miss those delicious pancakes
8:55 just make sure you check your sock drawer when you get home in the am. Once i get done plowing your moms asshole im going to hit your dog. Third is the best. About 30 minutes after you get to work someone is at your place taking of business.
^^^. That you Cecil? Don’t get mad cause he spitting truth.
I was just thinking about Brad Koch getting his ass whooped by that kid. lol That kid was so skinny too.
11:55, you are clueless. NASCAR died right after Dale Sr did. Dale Sr had so much pull and influence with Bill France Sr. Remember it was Dale Sr and Teresa that started Sports Image which made NASCAR and drivers millions with sports memorabilia marketing. Dale Sr. had a lot of say in the garage and at race meetings. You may think NASCAR “flourished” until 2008 but it did not.
NASCAR sold their soul for new tracks in big cities and abandoned their roots. They closed all the true racetracks. Let’s look back at the idiotic changes. Pit road speeds with selective enforcement (I get the reason for safety but still stupid). Then it was blue or red windshield markers for pitting on opposite laps. Then you couldn't go below theyellow line. Then you couldn’t race back to the yellow flag. And the worst of all, THE CHASE. Let’s undue a years worth of hard work by teams and drivers to nod all that in the fall. Let’s give the loser in 15th place a chance to be champion. Everyone knows that Jimmy Johnson would only have 2 championships without the Chase change. It’s so laughable.
No way NASCAR implements al, that if Dale Sr was still alive. It was all B.S. marketing for new fans with money and tv rights. Now look, no one goes to their races anymore. It’s a garbage, fixed product. Talk to anyone on the inside and you will hear even more about that.
NASCAR has always sucked. ALWAYS. I’d rather watch paint dry.
Ok, completely off topic. I’m amazed at how much folks are deceived these days. The protests are being funded and led by Marxists & their ultimate goal is communism. Any black person that is for this should really stop and think for themselves. I was a life long Democrat and believe me, I didn’t like Trump at first but think about this my brother or sister. This Marxist revolution which will metastasize into communism if not stopped will look like Cuba or China in 10 years. You’ll work 8-10 hours a day (for the state) be taxed at 80-90% be dependent on the state (kinda like a slave master) and die with nothing. Don’t you see?! History repeats itself. We’ll all be slaves then. Black, white and Hispanic. Trump has my vote and I’m happy my family and I finally saw the truth. I don’t agree with everything Trump does or say but he’s a hell of a lot better than Biden or Hillary... even Barack who did jack shit for black folks. Also.. fuck Vi Lyles, Braxton and the rest of these kool-aid drinking clones.
10:25.... you’re an idiot. Lay off the Fox News and OAN. If you can’t figure out by now that Trump is a moron, then the problem is between your ears.
I am curious about this... The officers were relieved from duty, but I wonder how he was expected to handle this type of drama. Can someone please explain?
Shut up about politics and marxism. I know where Dance buried the money! Get a shovel, Stella...
It’s hard being black and conservative, you have to hide it from your “friends”. Trump isn’t a racist. Black votes for Trump!
Yo, Jennings is on his THIRD different portrait on the portal in two days. Wtf is going on? I wonder how much time he’s putting into this photo selection.
8:46... you are the idiot. Keep thinking what the CNN and your family tell you you should think. I am thinking for myself. Keep on drinking the CMPD Kool-Aid and keep on following the pack. I am a proud Black American and I refuse to be anyones victim.
Bout halfway thru the communists manifesto...all the shenanigans make more sense since BLM leaders are proud marxists....just wonder how they are gonna get past the fact Karl Marx didn't think too highly of black people
6:50. How ironic. The white liberal idiots are perpetuating the BLM/Marxist movement that’s end goal leaves us all as slaves to the state. Y’all need to wake up and read a history book. How’d you like to work your whole life and in the end own nothing? That’s communism and ironically enough what the actual slaves had at the end of their lives
Have to agree with 2nd shift 7:58. You may not like the man (Trump) but he’s who our country needs now. It’s like that coach you had in high school that no one liked. You hated his guts... until you started winning! I too was a Democrat but have to say I think I’m on that Trump train now.
Post a Comment