The widespread attention given to the noose found in Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace's garage stall should be a reminder to all that a dangerous, racist mentality can be found among our popular modern entertainment venues and our people.
The noose was discovered in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama days after he led the charge as the lone Black NASCAR driver to rid the Confederate flag from all NASCAR events.
Authorities determined on Tuesday that the noose had been in the garage since last October and no one could have known Wallace would have been assigned to that garage recently. There is no evidence for charges, according to the FBI.
Still, many questions remain.
The fact that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s office were involved in the investigation suggests they took the discovery seriously and were likely investigating it as a hate crime. That's good.
Hate crimes are described in federal law as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
But what's the purpose of a noose in any garage stall at the NASCAR professional racing venue? What's the purpose of a noose in any garage or home? Someone obviously thought it had a place, perhaps not coincidentally, in a venue that allowed Confederate flags.
It was heartening to see the wave of support Wallace received from his fellow NASCAR drivers after the noose was found and before it was discovered it had been there for some time. The 40 other drivers in the Talladega race pushed Wallace’s No. 43 vehicle to the front of pit road with each following behind in a show of support. Each driver embraced Wallace at the end of that procession with team owner and NASCAR legend Richard Petty comforting Wallace as he wept.
NASCAR officials had pledged to get to the bottom of who placed the noose in the garage. While the incident may not result in a crime, tough questions need to be answered.
We can all abhor the imagery of the noose and what it meant for Black Americans years ago, but the underlying mentality behind the possession of a noose today should be a great concern for all.
Our country’s founding principles call for equality. And when one of us is attacked for our race, then we are all attacked.
All of us need to condemn these props from a brutal history in the most serious and most public ways.