By Miles Jaye

Lewis Hamilton, five-time World Champion of the richest, and arguably the most technologically advanced sport in the world, Formula One auto-racing, will be recorded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport—clearly the best England has ever produced.

Standing somewhere between 5’7” and 5’9”, weighing in at about 157 lbs., Hamilton is a rich, handsome, popular, playboy, just as adept at explaining the physics of G-forces and the fractions of a second lost by the most minute weight gain as he is his new Tommy Hilfiger clothing line. From what he called the “slums” of Stevenage, his hometown outside of London, to world stardom– he has it all!

To the American public, more attuned to NASCAR than Formula One, Hamilton is virtually unknown, yet, to the rest of the world, this early 30’s icon makes a rock star, or a rap star, look like an average Joe. The average American knows very little of Formula One. For instance; an NBA team has 12 players on its roster, an NFL team, 53. Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG Patronas Formula One team has over 1,000 on its roster with an annual budget of $300 million for research, development and production of super high-performance cars that exceed 200 mph in each two-hour race.

Paradoxically, this master racer, revered, beloved, celebrated by so many, is also hated by others for the color of his skin—his race. Many of his detractors claim Hamilton came up through the ranks too quickly and too easily. This, in spite of his family’s modest means, and the fact that his father held down four jobs to buy and maintain the go-carts Lewis needed to compete as a young boy. It was then that his dad and others on the circuit began to recognize the child’s natural hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes and fearlessness on the track—all necessary attributes for a competitive driver. He was a child prodigy.

Interestingly, the most common, and usually the first definition of the word “race” is “a contest of speed” according to Merriam-Webster. This refers to competition, be it between humans on foot, horses, or in speed boats, to see which is the fastest over a predetermined run or course. Then there is the competition between teams or even nations to see who, for example, will be first to land a human on Mars. The next refers to movement of some sort, such as blood “racing” through one’s veins

Definition 2 of “race” refers to its other, more loaded, more sinister contexts. The word “race” can be as simplistic and efficient as it is fascinating in its ability to divide, diminish, and destroy by its explosive implications, by-passing and defying logic, rationale and reason and charging straight to emotions and deep seated, long held beliefs and feelings– prejudices. The redneck rocket-scientist is an anomaly.

 This is the “race” that classifies and categorizes human-beings into groups based on color, ethnicity and other seemingly common traits, the most benign and widely accepted being the human race as we differ from the animal kingdom. It is, however, also the “race” of race-riots, racial-discrimination, racial-cleansing, and racial-superiority as promulgated by Adolf Hitler in the 30’s and now by a Nationalist President Donald Trump in 2018.

“Race” in its most insidious form is divisive. It separates, highlighting differences or distinctions, juxtaposing, contrasting and conspicuously pitting one group against another. “Race” suggests one group is better than the other, one is ahead, one is behind, there must be a winner and a loser. Only in the context of “race” must there be a “minority” where census is weaponized to decree one group is not as good, not as intelligent, not as capable, not as deserving, not as wealthy, and perhaps not as human— and thus, “inferior.”

The flaw in racial theory, and the problem with racist principles is if the so-called “minority” is less capable, why then, if allowed entry or participation, given a level field-of-play and equally applied rules, do “minorities” excel and win so many races like the Formula One? This applies to sports, business, science, academics, and politics, among other fields of endeavor and competition where “minorities” perform at levels equal to or greater than the so-called “majority.” The “racist” knows the race is rigged but doesn’t fully understand how the “minority” manages to come from behind and win. They must realize that with all the time, energy and expense devoted to diverting and damming the course of the race, with enough rain, the river will eventually rise and over-run the dam. The First Step Act for Prison and Criminal Justice reform is a perfect example of rising waters.

One anthropological classification of “race” was based on a group of people with common language, history and culture, which would qualify all Americans as a race. Imagine what would become of an America where we treated one another as though we were all one race– American. Another classification was based on the simple notion that we are all human and that is, by far, the greatest, most consequential classification of all. Imagine then, if we began to treat one another as one family of mankind, or more aptly, the human race.

Final note; Lewis’ dad is black, his mom is white, to which do we attribute the superior racing gene?

 “We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us, and wealth classified us.” Unknown Source

Miles Jayewww.milesjaye.net

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