Friday, October 15, 2010
I appreciate NASCAR's push for diversity. It's a great sport that everyone should be able to enjoy both as fans and participants. If Danica Patrick catches fire and has a successful career, what a boost to the sport that would be. At some point, there will be an up and coming African-American who will be a fine competitor. These are good things and NASCAR working to advocate such vital growth is a nobel and necessary enterprise.
What is never acceptable is pandering and patronizing. Clearly, there was an annoying example of that with the singing of the National Anthem. The singer, an African-American female, peformed horribly. She could not handle the demands of the song, looked awkward performing, and hot-dogged parts of the song at the end, a practice among pop singers who sing the "Star Spangled Banner" before sports events that is most annoying and disrespectful.
Enlisting singers like this one are bound to be greated with cynicism -- as in "Why did they chose her?" or worse, "Token!"
This is no way to accomplish what the sport needs to accomplish. There are plenty of performers who are audience appropriate available. Tonight's performance stunk of pandering.