It took me a while to recognize and admit this about myself, but I am a racist.
When I was a teenager, I attended the harness races in Batavia, New York, just outside of Buffalo. The pounding of horse hooves, the jockeys, the carts, the fans yelling, the betting, the winning, the losing — it all added to the excitement. The experience turned me into a racist.
I also attended the stock car races in my hometown of East Rochester, New York. I loved the roar of the engines, the rise of the dust, the grit in the air, the shouting, the screaming, the squeal of brakes. Even as a teenager, I was definitely a racist.
When I moved to Indianapolis, I lived in an apartment a couple of blocks from the Indy 500 track. I’ll never forget the hype in the month of May and the steady hum of race cars as drivers participated in the qualifying races. And then the big 500-mile race when the stands and the infield filled with fans and medics and track workers. There’s nothing greater than to sit in a huge roaring crowd of fellow racists right across from the finish line and cheer wildly as the lead driver zips past.
A true racist wouldn’t forget to mention drag racing champion Don Garlits who continues to thrill fans and whose automobile display draws racists to Ocala from all over the world. I’ve toured his museum and marveled at his fantastic collection of movie vehicles, motorcycles, and his many famed dragsters. My racism is at its height during those tours.
And, don’t forget the Triple Crown and the many Ocala Thoroughbreds that ran in those highly competitive races. As a dedicated racist, I’m proud to be living in Horse Country, where I can take a drive past the horse farms and see the colts in the spring and the one- and two-year-olds in training. It’s a sight all true racists should see at least once in their lives. “Secretariat” is one of my favorite films. What racist would deny that?
Not only do I like to watch and support the various types of racing, but I’m an avid racist myself, and I say that with a certain amount of modesty mixed with pride. I’ve entered several 5-K races and a couple of four-milers, and I’ve won multiple medals — in my age group, of course.
Yes, I’m a racist. You can condemn me for that if you want to. But I’ve always been a racist and I expect I’ll always be one.