“Oh, you’re overreacting”. “It was a mistake”. “He didn’t mean to say it”.
These are the common excuses you will see from a specific pigmentation of people about the NASCAR driver who nonchalantly used the N-word that was heard over a driver’s Twitch stream during last night’s Monza Madness event.
For some background, Kyle Larson is a California native, Asian-American, and an alumnus of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program where NASCAR is attempting to bring in a diverse group of women and men into the series to eliminate the stigma that the NASCAR community is just a bunch of racists Southerners who proudly fly Confederate Flags.
When you look at Larson’s background, it would come as a shock that he would be the one in the sport to use such a word, but alas, here we are.
While I have lost a lot of respect for Larson and his actions, I can forgive him down the line, but it is never going to go away, and something that is always going to haunt him unless he can prove that he has learned his lesson. The problem is that Larson used the word so calmly that sounded like he’s used it in casual conversation many times before.
My issue now falls on the reaction from fans who have come to the defense of Larson.
Let me make this really clear: IN NO CONTEXT, IS IT OK TO USE THE N-WORD.
I don’t know how more blunt someone can be about this topic, and I don’t know why the loudest people about this topic are the ones that don’t have a credible say in it. For all you non-black folk out there coming to the defense of Larson, your words are not credible because that word does not have the same effect on you as it would myself or any other member of the black community.
The only response you can have, if you aren’t a part of the black community, is to deem the word as malicious and that Larson should face any consequences that are handed to him. There is no “overreaction”. The word is only malicious and demeaning. There is no “Oh, he did not use the word in a directly malicious or demeaning manner” like Sirius XM NASCAR radio host Dave Moody irresponsibly wrote.
If your initial response is not to be disgusted by Larson’s actions, then just sit this one out.
Another thing to add is that Larson’s action does not represent the ideals of the NASCAR community. Not once have I gone to a race as a fan or covered a racing event as a media member, and have felt out of place. Every experience that I have had at a track has been phenomenal, and I would say that racing fans are nicer than most football, baseball or basketball fans. A few bad apples don’t speak for the whole.
However, Larson’s words will carry on for the foreseeable future and will always be a black-eye for someone that should know better.