Rampant Redneckery

Here’s something Atlanta can do to help bolster its image as a cosmopolitan urban center:

DO NOT PUT THE NASCAR HALL OF FAME HERE.

A little background here and here.

nascar.jpgI understand and wholeheartedly support the overwhelming urge to draw people to downtown Atlanta. I also understand that auto-racing has a long, storied history that is closely tied to Georgia and the South. As Atlanta is the de facto capital of the South (cram it, Nashville) I also understand the logic of anchoring a hall of fame here. It will attract a lot of people and those people will each bring with them at least one wallet, presumably. Good things, right? Sort of.

Rather than take the predictable route of complaining about who the NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHF) would attract (see picture above, insert redneck jokes here, etc), I think it’s more important to consider who the NHF would repel. Despite its recent surge in popularity and revenue, NASCAR represents the antithesis of diversity. NASCAR fans I’ve met would criticize this notion by saying, “Hey, man, jes cuz all them blacks and gays and chicks don’t like some racin’ don’t mean I have to give a crap. That ain’t my problem.” And as NASCAR fans, they’re right, philosophically.

It’s not NASCAR’s responsibility to promote diversity. People are going to like what they like and that’s that. Could NASCAR possibly expand their fanbase if they marketed to a wider audience? Maybe, but that’s their decision. My problem with the demographics of NASCAR fans is that Atlanta’s NHF bid includes building it at the HEART of cultural downtown. The solemn, bricks-and-mortar ode to southern-fried stock car racing will sit directly across the street from Centennial Olympic park. Is anyone else made even slightly uncomfortable by what this will do to the rest of the world’s already rickety perception of our fair city?

Add onto that the proposal to spend up to $30 MILLION IN TAXPAYER MONEY on this cultural cracker barrel and you’ve got what I think qualifies as a certifiable problem. It’s a tricky situation when you try to weigh potential revenue from tourism against potential fallout from social miscues, but if Atlanta is serious about crafting its image and moving forward as a truly modern city, it will let the NHF be built elsewhere.

Please note: If you leave a comment that says “Hey, I like to watch NASCAR and I am not white or male or a redneck,” then you have missed the entire point of this rant.

6 Comments so far

  1. Jessica (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    Well, I’m a bisexual female who was watching the Multiple-Caution 600 with my boyfriend’s mom Sunday. But I see your point.

    I’d say put it in Charlotte, Daytona, or Talladega, myself.


  2. Stevie (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

    $30 Million in taxpayer money!!!! HELL NO! NASCAR has plenty of money to spend on their own Hall of Fame. Why do I need to spend MY money on NASCAR unless I’m buying a ticket??

    I can’t wait to see how government will spin the wheel to explain why tax money needs to be used.

    Let NexTel use some of its co-branded ad revenues to build the building. Let all the other co-branding marketers use some ad revuene as well.

    And, I’m saying this as a racing fan, “good ole boy”, and Libertarian all rolled into one.


  3. Chaz rocker (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 4:40 pm

    All you southern people are the same. Afraid of change. Just grow up and stop all the downloading.


  4. kendall (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 7:42 pm

    “Hey, I like to watch NASCAR and I am not white or male or a redneck,” Sorry Tony, I couldn’t resist!

    When I think NASCAR – I think Daytona, Talladega or even Concord (Charlotte) not Atlanta … are there THAT many folks in and around the ATL just hunkering for NASCAR?

    Sounds like another case of Atlanta trying to be “the city with a little bit of everything for everybody who doesn’t live here…that you suckas who do call it home have to pay for ….”

    Anyone get the feeling that “they” are trying to just do TOO much around here?


  5. Steve Huff (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 11:58 pm

    Dear God. I never want to see the number 3 again.


  6. Anya (unregistered) on June 16th, 2005 @ 6:48 pm

    This nightmare was brought to you by the number 3 and the decline of civilization.



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