Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dragster Soul

Mandingo Funny Car
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
The usually hilarious online satirist Iowahawk gets serious for a moment with this fine post about African American drag racers. An excerpt:

Oval track racing -- including open wheel, sprints, and stock cars -- has always been a more blue collar phenomenon, evolving out of the county fairground horse tracks of the Midwest and South. Nascar shares this heritage, along with an additional link to moonshine runners in the segregated South. For obvious economic and social reasons, neither of these racing forums were conducive to Black participation.

By contrast, drag racing evolved with fewer cultural barriers. Like oval track racing it was a blue collar phenomenon, a natural extension of straight-line street racing by young guys in cheap homebuilt hot rods. Unlike oval racing, it developed largely on the postwar West Coast, a society less encumbered by the legacy of segregation. As a result drag racing was more or less born 'multicultural' and egalitarian; the roll call of hod rodding greats -- Xydias, Iskenderian, Hirohata, Pedregon, Karamesines -- reads like a passenger list from Ellis Island. And African Americans were there from its inception.

This is exactly the kind of thing bloggers do best: when someone with a lifelong interest in a particular topic feels compelled to write about said topic, they do the kind of job with it that a reporter could never do, even with a year to work on it. Blogging rules!

And how about that pic? The Mandingo Funny Car. Awesome.

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