Monster Energy Girl Mariel Lane on working around confederate flags at NASCAR tracks – For The Win
TALLADEGA, Ala. – There are no shortages of confederate flags flying from tents and RVs at NASCAR races, particularly at Talladega Superspeedway.
Although NASCAR likely wishes that was not the case, issuing a statement in 2015 discouraging fans from flying the flag in order “to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all” and “demonstrate (a) sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events.”
But some fans choose to ignore NASCAR’s request, which left Monster Energy Girl Mariel Lane, an African-American woman and Tennessee native, a bit “startled and nervous” when she first saw the flag’s frequent presence at races.
“But I guess since there’s not as much of a presence of minorities, it’s not something that people have to think about as often,” Lane, one of a few minority Monster Energy Girls, said at the track Saturday. “Once you start working in the sport, you train yourself to push it out. And NASCAR is something I’ve grown to love and even the fans and people that are part of it.”
She further explained she understands some people view the flag as more of a “southern thing” than a race issue, describing NASCAR fans as some of the most dedicated and loving people.
A post shared by Mariel Lane (@missmariellane) on Mar 19, 2017 at 6:25pm PDT
Because of this, she said she’s not willing to paint all NASCAR fans with a broad brush just because they might wear or hang the confederate flag.
“There are people who think it’s just a Southern pride thing,” Lane continued. “It’s not saying they don’t care about people’s feelings, but it’s a little not coherent to, maybe, someone else’s opinion on it.
“You don’t want to put in your heart or in your mindset that a group of people are a certain type of way because of a flag – at least just for my own mental sake because you want to genuinely get to know the fans and love them and not have preconceived notions because of something they have (hanging) up.”
NASCAR’s 2015 statement discouraging the flag came days after then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag’s removal on Statehouse grounds after Dylann Roof murdered nine black parishioners at a Charleston church.
“For many people in our state, the flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of heritage, and of ancestry,” Haley, a Republican, said. “At the same time, for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”