The 2022 Formula One race on Austria was marred by reports of fans being abused by racist and homophobic comments from others attending the race weekend. Lewis Hamilton chose to highlight an alleged global racist agenda following the death in the USA of George Ford by caused by a USA police officer.
Yet the question we should be asking is whether highlighting the occasional small one off incidents of abuse actually helps the cause of stamping it out.
Clearly the incidents of abuse in F1 are numerically insignificant but raising the attention of the billion plus F1 global audience to these matters escalates them completely out of context. Further it gives a platform to the extreme minority to have their say and have it broadcast around the world when in reality abusers are an extreme minority in society.
In what some may see as an unfortunate societal development attitudes have changed over the past 50 years. When this writer was brought up we were taught to be colour blind and abuse from whatever quarter was deemed to be a display of weakness, immaturity and insecurity on the part of the abuser.
Now despite the fact that the UK demographic is over 90% white the TV advertisements of national brands portray the ‘reality’ that most families are of mixed race. Whilst untrue this clearly gives a platform for the minority with racist attitudes to ‘rage against the machine’.
Sky F1 Tv’s introduction this year of Naomi Schiff smacks of tokenism. A black female presenter ticks all the diversity programme boxes.
Yet is she there on merit and skill as a presenter?
The answer has to be arguably no.
Schiff’s claim to fame is winning the Clio cup club China series in 2014 together with finishing 16th in the ladies W series championship in 2014.
Like Sky’s Johnny Herbert, she is the master of the soundbite and stating the obvious and from this writer’s perspective only employed as part of Sky’s diversity press.
Does this help with driving anti racist and misogynistic attitudes?
Or does it ram diversity acceptance morality down peoples throats?
For most of us we accept the TV presenters agenda wishing they would just do better, but for those who are inclined toward racial and misogynistic behaviour the abnormal promotion of minorities above their capability creates an opportunity for them to spread their views.
Formula One is in effect a UK based sport with 7 of the 10 teams based in England.
So why should we expect more than 1 non-white driver amongst the 20 in F1 given the UK population demographics. It’s not a racial denial of entry issue, its just mathematics.
Clearly the United States of America is a different kettle of fish given its non white demographic percentage. But importing their racial issues into F1 clearly doesn’t stack up with the European fans.
Maybe we should just accept in life there are bullies and people who are not nice. My father taught me, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”
Obsessing over the incredibly small minority attitude we find unacceptable just gives them a platform for their warped message.