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Will we ever put the brakes on bias?
As we embark upon the 30-day gestation period where Black Friday morphs into a White Christmas, America still labors with the pain of deeply embedded racism. Just ask NASCAR grand marshal Michelle Obama-the African American First Lady of the free world-who was booed at the last event on the race circuit on Sunday, November 20, 2011. Granted, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, also served as a grand marshal before the traditionally Republican group of predominantly Euro-Americans. Will the brakes ever be put on bias?
Non-Compliant NASCAR?: Some may be surprised to know how the gentlemen fired their engines in initiating the dubious start of the 64-year history of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). One university textbook says the creation of NASCAR "is attributed to the so-called ridge runners and blockaders who developed fast cars to outrun the revenuers who were trying to arrest them for hauling illegal whiskey. Family operations had stills and produced spirits, which were then transported to distribution sites in vehicles with supercharged engines and large load capacity. These drivers became legends in U.S. history."
Such a situation was reflected in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985) set in the mountains of northern Georgia, inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners. As they illegally transported moonshine, criminals attempted to elude law enforcement officers by avoiding the main highway, choosing instead to power their fast cars down dark roads in the country backwoods.
The textbook goes on to state that during the earlier days of lawful segregation in the South, President John F. Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was "an associate of many well-known criminals and bootleggers of the Prohibition era." In short, many believe the Kennedys (and other powerful American families) acquired their wealth through criminal enterprises. And though the younger Kennedy was a democrat (as is the current president and his wife), racism races-in broad daylight-across party lines. Even so, The Dukes of Hazzard had a fun-loving, exciting atmosphere, topped perhaps only by the thrill that NASCAR drivers experience. But, is there anything wrong with the "thrill of it"?
Go for it!: Thrill seeking for the fun of it can be both tempting and seductive, but, diabolical? Some think so. They point to the Devil's words to Jesus: "If you're truly one of God's sons, jump! Go for it! After all, to quote the Hebrew Bible as you have, Moses also wrote: 'God will command his angels to catch you in midair so that your feet won't even touch the ground.'" (Matthew 4:6, Modern Matthew: Good News for Today) The associated footnoted commentary reads:
"It appears that tempting or trying to cheat death for the sheer rush and excitement of it is not a new concept. By engaging in high-risk high-altitude death-defying extreme sports (e.g. bungee-jumping or risky parachuting maneuvers) is not only Devil-inspired, but is also summarized in the collective motto, 'Go for it!'
This is without a doubt where the thought behind the English word 'daredevil' comes. In short, the 'Devil dares' one to do something completely unnecessary and foolhardy for the thrill of it. The greater the threat to human life (as in playing a 'game' of Russian roulette), the greater the 'rush.' As he did Jesus, the Devil dares one to take an exciting chance with his life.
"One source lists 'brash,' 'temerarious,' 'harum-scarum,' 'hothead,' and 'lunatic' as synonyms of 'daredevil.' (Dictionary.reference.com/browse/daredevil) The perfect man Jesus noted that Yehowah must not be tested in such ways."
Christianity & the Constitution: The Constitution of the United States is allegedly predicated on Judeo-Christian principles. After all, the U.S. considers herself a "Christian" nation. However, racism in not Christian. "When they finished meeting," the Bible tells us, "they sent their advanced students, along with the politically-minded Herodians (normally enemies of the Pharisees), to Jesus, saying: 'Teacher, we know you say things exactly as they are, teaching only God's truth, and, in so doing, you couldn't care less what anyone thinks of you. Furthermore, it doesn't matter at all to you what the surface skin color of a man's face is.'"-Matthew 22:16, Carr's Christian Translation; see also Acts 10:34, 35; Galatians 2:11-14.
CBS News reported: "According to the Associated Press, the women [Obama and Biden] received a standing ovation at the pre-race driver's meeting. Obama also spoke at a NASCAR-Joining Forces barbecue for military families." President Obama did say prayer is needed.
Dr. Firpo Carr can be reached at