NAACP wants NASCAR to ban Confederate flag
Saturday, May. 23, 2009
Officials of a South Florida branch of the NAACP say the organization could stage protests during NASCAR races in an effort to have the Confederate flag banned from events.
The Miami-Dade branch’s leaders said they would first ask for help from NASCAR officials in banning the flag, but are prepared to begin contacting sponsors. Also under consideration are a boycott and a march during the season-ending race weekend at Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway, according to the South Florida Times.
The Times article, quoting NAACP officials, said correspondence was being prepared to Brian France, NASCAR’s chairman and CEO. France has spoken out against the Confederate flag in recent years and tried to distance the organization from a “good ol’ boy’’ sterotype.
“I think it’s a fading image … these are massive facilities," France said in a 2005 interview on CBS’s "60 Minutes. "And I can’t tell people what flag to fly. I can tell you the flag we get behind. It’s the American flag.”
As for the Confederate flag, the NASCAR boss told “60 Minutes, "It’s not a flag I look at with anything favorable. That’s for sure.”
Personnel at NASCAR’s offices in Daytona Beach, Fla., were trying Friday to determine if any communication from the NAACP had been received, according to the newspaper account.
In the South Flora Times article, Elgin Jones wrote that NASCAR could ill afford the kind of publicity an NAACP protest might generate, particularly as it has suffered during the economic downturn.
The Homestead track was targeted in 2004 by a group calling itself the National Association for Minority Race Fans. A group of protesters assembled at the track entrance for about two hours on a race day.
A statement released by that group said it was working to promote a safe environment at tracks for minority fans, and to promote racial diversity among NASCAR competitors and employees.
Several months ago, the stock car racing company settled a $225 million lawsuit filed by Mauricia Grant, a black woman who worked as a NASCAR inspector before she was fired. Grant alleged she had been the victim of racial and sexual harassment.
The dollar amount of the settlement was not disclosed.
On The Web: www.thatsracin.com/115/story/9845.html