Mobility as antiracism work: The “hard driving” of NASCAR's wendell scott

Derek H. Alderman, Joshua Inwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores spatial mobility as a form of African American resistance and self-determination. We argue for examining the everyday activism and “countermobility work” of ordinary people of color as they move in ways that subvert, negotiate, and survive white supremacy. These ideas are developed through a historical case study not typically identified with the black civil rights struggle, specifically the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the “hard driving” of Wendell Scott. The first and only African American driver to win at NASCAR’s top level, Scott raced throughout the segregated South and faced considerable discrimination in what was otherwise an all-white sport. We offer a critical (re)reading of Scott’s racing career as antiracism mobility work and focus on the bodily, social, and technological practices he employed to maintain and even enhance his mobility around tracks and to and from races. Scott did not represent his efforts in terms of civil rights activism, but it is important to contextualize black resistance outside the confines of formal protest to include the struggle for survivability and material reproduction. The work of racing and driving was part of Scott’s geographically situated political practice and important to the struggle to access and move about the sport of stock car track racing and hence the larger U.S. landscape of citizenship. Our discussion has implications for analyzing historic practices of resistance but also has currency for understanding how countermobility practices remain central to resisting continuing racial discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-611
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Volume106
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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