The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Hamil­ton on the fight for equal­ity.

Hamil­ton calls for in­creased black rep­re­sen­ta­tion across all ar­eas of mo­tor sport

- BY ALEXAN­DER BRIT­TON Society · Formula One · Car Racing · Motorsports · Sports · Lewis Hamilton · Minneapolis · The Sunday Times · Twitter

Six-time world cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton is to set up a com­mis­sion to in­crease black rep­re­sen­ta­tion in mo­tor­sport.

Hamil­ton, who pre­vi­ously said he felt “so much anger, sad­ness and dis­be­lief ” af­ter the death of Ge­orge Floyd, has spo­ken widely on race in light of protests fol­low­ing the killing in Min­neapo­lis.

He wrote in The Sun­day Times that racism was “only too fa­mil­iar to me” and said while peo­ple were quick to con­demn racist ges­tures like mon­key noises be­ing shouted at black foot­ballers, they were less quick to ad­dress struc­tural is­sues.

“I’ve been fight­ing the stigma of racism through­out my rac­ing ca­reer – from kids throw­ing things at me while kart­ing, to be­ing taunted by fans in black face at one of my first For­mula One races,” he said.

“I’m used to be­ing one of very few peo­ple of colour on my teams and, more than that, I’m used to the idea that no one will speak up for me when I face racism, be­cause no one feels or un­der­stands my ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The Mercedes driver said the aim of his com­mis­sion would be to make the sport “be­come as di­verse as the com­plex and mul­ti­cul­tural world we live in”.

He said it would be a “re­search part­ner­ship ded­i­cated to ex­plor­ing how mo­tor­sport can be used as a ve­hi­cle to en­gage more young peo­ple from black back­grounds with Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, Engi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM) sub­jects and, ul­ti­mately, em­ploy them on our teams or in other engi­neer­ing sec­tors”.

The 35-year-old Hamil­ton posted #Black­LivesMat­ter to his 5.7 mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers fol­low­ing the death of Mr Floyd, with his post fea­tur­ing a video of a young black Amer­i­can girl in tears about in­her­ent racism in so­ci­ety.

He then went on to post an ap­par­ent crit­i­cism of F1 col­leagues on his Story, say­ing: “I see those of you who are stay­ing silent, some of you the big­gest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of in­jus­tice.

“I would have thought by now you would see why this hap­pens and say some­thing about it but you can’t stand along­side us.

“The way mi­nori­ties are treated has to change, how you ed­u­cate those in your coun­try of equal­ity, racism, clas­sism and that we are all the same!”

He wrote in the pa­per that the “in­sti­tu­tional bar­ri­ers that have kept F1 highly ex­clu­sive per­sist” adding that the thou­sands of peo­ple em­ployed in mo­tor­sport need to be more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of so­ci­ety.

“Win­ning cham­pi­onships is great, but I want to be re­mem­bered for my work cre­at­ing a more equal so­ci­ety through ed­u­ca­tion”, he added.

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 ??  ?? FIGHT­ING STIGMA: Lewis Hamil­ton is speak­ing out about the racism he has faced through­out his ca­reer and the need to break down bar­ri­ers
FIGHT­ING STIGMA: Lewis Hamil­ton is speak­ing out about the racism he has faced through­out his ca­reer and the need to break down bar­ri­ers

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