Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Does the stereotype of NASCAR fuel lawsuits?

I don't know if there is or is not any credence to the allegations in this story or if it is just a lawyer trying to capitalize on NASCAR's stereotypical reputation with charges that can't be proven or dis proven.

Mauricia Grant, a former NASCAR inspection official has filed a lawsuit against NASCAR claiming "sexual and racial harassment."

Personally I can't believe that some of the charges are true in this day and age. It is very hard to believe that anybody who would treat another person the way it is claimed Grant was treated would even be able to get a job these days. This is not to deny that some of the alleged incidents could have happened, because there are still a lot of stupid people out there. If Grant was treated in the way her attorney claims she was, then NASCAR should deal with those individials in the harshest way possible.

While prejudice and imbecilic behavior have not been wiped completely from society and the work environment, it is hard to believe that such a case of harassment would involve so many perpetraters. As Marc points out at Full Throttle if the practice is as common as the language of the lawsuit suggests, why haven't women and other minority members who are employed by NASCAR had similar experiences?

True, there is the story of David Scott, a hauler driver for Penske who was harassed by other hauler drivers at New Hamshire International Speedway in 1999, but those drivers were suspended indefinitely for their actions, and we can safely assume that such behavior is not tolerated in NASCAR.

Of course, fall out is unavoidable, and we are already seeing opinions from those who believe that NASCAR is a bunch of racist hillbillies, such as this one from the Nation of Islam Sports Blog:

We would proffer that Ms. Grant should never have taken the job in the first place. Clearly, a Negro woman working in what is essentially a large scale KKK meeting is not a good idea.

When one accepts employment, one also accepts the certain obvious dangers involved. If she had been hired by a circus to walk a tight rope, and fell and broke her legs, would anyone be the least bit surprised?

That is essentially what happened here. Ms. Grant picked up a stick and poked a bear.

We are talking about NASCAR! What sane Negro would accept employment with them and not expect to be maligned, mistreated, harassed, shamed, whipped, shackled and eventually lynched?

Those of us who watch NASCAR on a weekly basis, and are aware of the many African-American people who are employed by teams involved in NASCAR and by NASCAR itself, know better than to even try to respond to the above statement.

The blogger who wrote the opinion for Nation of Islam Sports Blog chose to respond to a story about racist behavior with a statement accepting a stereotype that should have long since been overcome. Racism seems to go both ways.

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