Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Hamilton: Ecclestone’s “ignorant” comments show why he did nothing to tackle racism

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has condemned Bernie Ecclestone’s comments on racism as “ignorant and uneducated”, and said they show why the former Formula 1 chief did nothing to improve diversity when he ran the sport.

Ecclestone has already faced condemnation for his comments from Formula 1 Management, who pointed out he no longer has any official capacity in the championship.

“So sad and disappointing to read these comments,” Hamilton wrote on social media.

“Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong: Ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.”

Hamilton was a target of racist abuse from spectators at a test session at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2008. “I remember this like it was yesterday,” he said of the incident today. “The damage things like this do to people is unacceptable.”

“It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career,” he continued.

“If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep-rooted issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand? It starts at the top.”

The six-times world champion last week announced he is creating a commission to promote more diverse participation in motorsport. Earlier this week he praised a similar initiative launched by Formula 1.

“Now the time has come for change,” he added. “I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all. To create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities.

“I will continue to use my voice to represent those that don’t have one, and to speak for those who are underrepresented to provide an opportunity to have a chance in our sport.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Hamilton: Ecclestone’s “ignorant” comments show why he did nothing to tackle racism”

  1. Racism itself comes from the primal “that person looks/acts different, I need to be scared” part of our brain. On it’s own, it’s not that unusual.

    Racism combined with dominance can hold another culture down for centuries, and we have plenty of evidence.

    So, yeah, Bernie- everyone has the capacity to be racist, but some have the capability to act on it.

  2. Blacks accounts almost 75% of all NBA players and 70% of NFL players. Does it mean those american sports are racist? Does it mean NBA and NFL require similar “commissions to promote more diverse participation”? No. It does mean that Hamilton doesn’t take into account social and cultural differences. Those american black people prefer playing basketball, prefer run and prefer playing whatever they call football. White american people prefer baseball, hockey, racing and winter sports.
    So as in Europe which is home for F1. And most Europe doesn’t even have black people, as central and eastern Europe, mostly Balto-Slavic and Finno-Ugric never had slavery. We don’t even have racial division like they have in USA. We divide by ethnic groups. And almost 1/3 of European countries are mono-ethnic. I.e. over 90% of single ethnic group. With another 1/3 are multi-ethnic, but with dominant, 80 to 90%, ethnic group, including UK, German, France, Spain and Russia. So where will that diversification come from?

    1. Depending on how those players are treated there ABSOLUTELY could still be racism! Considering that number you mentioned, then explain why the vast majority of coaches at the university and professional levels are still white?

      1. then explain why the vast majority of coaches at the university and professional levels are still white

        exactly @wushumr2

        1. Maybe they are just more interested in and suitable for the position?
          What would a team have to gain by hiring a lesser qualified/skilled/capable coach?

          Same applies to F1, of course.

          1. William Jones
            28th June 2020, 0:37

            Why would anyone’s interest in something change based on skin colour? Isn’t that literal racism to assume that.

        2. Umm? because of the 330 million Americans, the vast majority are white.

      2. Same answer. May be black people in their absolute majority simply not interested of being coaches in universities.

      3. @WushuMR2

        I ‘like’ how you guys always keep moving the goalposts. You can’t get upset over a supposed under-representation of black drivers in F1 (compared to what population?), yet be totally fine with a huge under-representation of white NBA players, without being a huge hypocrite.

        You can always find a grievance if you look hard enough. Like regs said, perhaps it’s a matter of culture, where coaching is not seen as a normal thing to do in black American culture. Perhaps it is a matter of money (most coaching is unpaid or very poorly paid, so to get to the top coaching spots, people typically have to accept being unpaid and/or underpaid for quite some time, with no guarantee of success). Note that this is similar to how in F1, it costs a huge amount to even get a shot at the top spots. Hamilton’s father famously made huge sacrifices to give his son a shot, but it’s completely understandable that many people won’t do these sacrifices and that there is a huge bias to the rich, for those that do. Perhaps it is racism. Probably, it is a combination of a huge number of factors.

        That only the ‘racism by whites’ explanation is acceptable to much of the left, despite the immense amount of evidence that this can’t be the sole reason, just shows how racist and anti-facts so much of the left is.

        1. William Jones
          28th June 2020, 0:39

          It does depend on _why_ though, like Lewis has given us primary evidence that black kids are pushed out of karting from racist bullying, but are white kids pushed out of basketball due to racist bullying? I’m assuming that yes they are – white men can’t jump etc – and if so, yes, that’s just as bad. But Lewis isn’t here representing basketball, he’s tackling the problems he has the skillset to tackle, and not trying to muscle into a sport that presumably he doesn’t understand. Quite rightly too.

      4. Why does having a white coach imply racism?
        Just because you see a racial difference doesn’t mean anything nefarious is going on. I’m sure you’d hear about if there was.

    2. @regs Thank you.

      Hamilton you are the petulant uneducated one. Bernie said nothing wrong or untrue. Like I said in a previous comment, rappers often say other black people are more racist than white people, racist towards other black people. There mustn’t be anything wrong in discussing the realities of our society. Black actors also discuss racism within “their community”. Morgan Freeman has an unpopular opinion on it as well. Bernie is married to a Brazilian woman, he knows racism.
      Blame culture is disgusting.

    3. I think many of you are missing the point. When karting, Lewis faced racism on a daily basis and there was no one he could turn to and no one to intervene on his behalf. I faced similar racism in Canada when playing hockey and it ultimately drove me from the game I loved (and was quite good at) because it was no longer enjoyable.
      Simply quoting numbers is usually the best way to blow smoke and divert attention from the real issues. Do the white players who don’t make it to the NBA or NFL encounter racism that inhibits their development and ability to progress? How many kids who were the minority in a sport, were driven from the sport due to the racism of those around them, and I do include white kids in this question.
      Often those in charge must step up and introduce programs to ensure that no one is excluded because of anything other than their ability and Lewis is correct in saying that Bernie was in a unique position to make a difference and his lack of understanding is an example of why nothing was done under his watch.

    4. And most Europe doesn’t even have black people, as central and eastern Europe, mostly Balto-Slavic and Finno-Ugric never had slavery.

      This is not true the slaves were not black but white …

      Even the Netherlands started with trading at 1637 as they found the morale wrong but the merchants payed taxes. But even then it’s still in the homeland it was forbidden to have ‘goods’ stored.

      I never noticed any skin difference but that is of my family we had all colours…

      1. Netherlands is western Europe. Slavs never had slavery, but have been subject of slavery themselves.

  3. Just because Lewis says Bernie is wrong, doesn’t mean that Bernie is wrong. It just meens they have doffeing points of view. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle.
    We will never completely end racism as racism is an individual perspective on other race’s inherent in fear, insecurity ETC (Psychological). Anything short of brainwashing the entire human race into one way of thinking, it just isn’t possible.
    Most people are smart enough to know that everyone should be treated as equal and expect that to be the case. The most we can ask for is that all people are treated equally in the eyes of the law and the implementation of the law.
    Beyond that we all need to get on with our lives and do the best we can… Just like the vast majority do. Including the vast majority of people of “colour”.
    Those that support any movement that in anyway specifically calls out or represents one race are part of the problem.
    “All Lives Mater”, is called racist as it is supposedly a front for White extremists.
    “White Lives Matter”, is called racist as some white extremists have high jacked it.
    “Black Lives Matter”, is called racist as it has brought people onto the streets, looting, stealing and killing in the name of equality for Black people.
    All above are bad news, all above only add to the problem as their inherent behaviors are as bad as the problem, if not worse and simply simply lead to more tension and distrust.
    The majority of people are PC ans say what they think they should say, unfortunately the truth underlies this and is what people really feel.
    Please, lets stop identifying by skin colour, lets all just be Homo-sapiens.
    (Homo-sapiens – noun, the primate species to which modern humans belong; humans regarded as a species.) NB! Thats all of us folks, no exceptions!

    1. Sure it is not wrong because Hamilton says so. It is wrong because it just IS a plain wrong depiction of reality

      1. Typo Balck = Black

      2. In your opinion, based on the evidence/media that you choose to give credence. Doesn’t mean your right.

        There is racism, fact. There are black people who are racist, fact. Regardless of what you choose to believe. That is essentially all Bernie said. the message is that this is not a single sided coin.

    2. greasemonkey
      27th June 2020, 14:59

      Not my quote, but perfect: “humans are pattern matching machines”.

      Think that through. Humans are built to leverage pattern matching. Racism (and any “ism” with human sensory informed patterns) will be a continual challenge for goals of equality across perceived patterns.

      It certainly does not help that economic incentives have embraced patterns as a justification, amplifying the challenge (the narrative justifying American South slavery, post enlightenment, for example).

      But the point is that there cannot be an expectation that this will ever be “solved” in a way such as “smallpox is eradicated”. It will be a continuous struggle against human nature.

      Being aware that EVERY human is wired to generalize their environment (including people in it) via patterns, as a way to optimize processing and self interest, should inform strategies to achieve a goal that rises above this (“equality” — whose definition as a goal is itself variant across political views…outcome vs opportunity, etc).

      This is a very difficult goal to achieve. Hate, sound bite coverage, gotcha, virtue signaling, etc, all just delay even starting discussion on anything that will really matter.

      1. 100%, We will never solve racism or any other form of discrimination as there will always be people that are …ist in some form or another. Those of us that do not feel threatened by difference can strive for equality and equal treatment in terms of the law. So basically a fair go for everyone, nothing more nothing less.
        But no matter what you do, there will always be those that discriminate. Are they wrong? yes, but they will still do it. Regardless of what Lewis or Bernie say and how what they say is interpreted or twisted.

        While we would love to see racism end, anyone who thinks we can end racism is naive (whether you have been a victim or not has no bearing on this) we should however be able to ensure that law and enforcement does not discriminate.

  4. This is the danger, to some extent, of removing too many reminders of the past, such as public statues. If there aren’t enough reminders about how much of Western (and human history in general) is shaped by conquest and exploitation, you may get more people believe that Roger’s above comment holds water.

    1. Yes, just as we see younger people forget about the 2nd world war. And, now living in Berlin, I vividly recall my wife telling me how the Dutch teenagers who she used to teach German in NL would hardly believe her when she talked about the Berlin Wall: “a wall in the middle of a city? Nah, that’s nonsense, can’t be true” (well they aren’t wrong in that, but maybe now after Trump we realize should not does not mean will not for humans). Still, putting them in a Bristol Harbour, with a plaque, seems appropriate to me as a new way to deal with it!

      Wow, the usual suspects are out in force again, defending why nothing needs to change, because everybody is as bad as anyone. No, that’s not a good reason not to strive to be better people.

  5. I shall try once more….Bernie is entitled to his opinion just like Hamilton is. The fact that Bernie is white and Hamilton is of mixed race simply supports the rights of both to comment. Seeing as Hamilton is targeting F1 then he and his supporters should be able to readily furnish examples of racial discrimination, lack of diversity and gender bias in our current F1. The Spanish incident by a very small group of disaffected followers twelve years ago has no relevance in todays F1.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      27th June 2020, 10:06

      The existence of racism in sports, and the society in general, is not defined by when the last major incident took place or percentage splits.

      If you want to know if racism exists in your environment you just have to ask yourself which ’colour’ you want to have if born again tomorrow in your country.
      If you have a preference then you are probably not a racist, but you should be aware that racism exists in your country/environment. And the least you can do is not denying that it exists.
      If you don’t have a preference then you are certainly not a racist and luckily not exposed to it in your environment. The sad fact is that it probably still exists in the country you live in.

      There is no easy solution short of a virus which takes our eyesight as human beings. Therefore for now the least you can do is be aware it exists, and don’t try to argue it away with pseudo science.

      1. +1

        Brilliant reply.

      2. So if I am a male, and were I to be born again tomorrow I would still prefer to be a male, that would somehow prove the existence of misogyny in my country?

        1. ColdFly (@)
          27th June 2020, 12:34

          It would merely proof reductio ad absurdum.

          But then again I’d wager a bet that misogyny is prevalent in your country.

      3. If the existence of racism can’t be measured by when the last event happened, how are we going to know when it has ended?

      4. @coldfly

        The problem with your thought experiment is that I see culture as far more important than skin color, but that skin color is strongly correlated with culture. The main reason why I would choose to be a certain skin color is because it gave me a better chance of being part of a favorable culture.

        I would prefer to be a black person raised like Obama, over being a white person, raised in a dysfunctional white or black community (for the former, see the Appalachia’s in the US for a poignant example).

        Recent African migrants to the US do far better than African-Americans who have been there a long time, even when they came with no or minimal wealth. This cannot realistically be explained by current racism, as these Africans on average have a darker skin color than African-Americans (very many of whom are actually mixed race).

        There is a ton of evidence that people discriminate on many more things than race and that culture has a huge influence on outcomes, but many people consider it ‘racist’ if you believe the actual truth, rather than a false (literally) black and white narrative.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          27th June 2020, 14:49

          It’s not an experiment, @aapje.

          I’m not going to accuse you of racism, but there is at least some ignorance in your statement.

          The main reason why I would choose to be a certain skin color is because it gave me a better chance of being part of a favorable culture.

          Since when is skin colour in your country a prove of what culture you’re part of??
          How do you know a white person in the Netherlands (I believe that’s where you’re from) is part of the Dutch culture and a black person is not? Maybe the white person is Russian, Australian, or from the USA, and the black person could be an xth generation Dutch with forefathers from a previous colony.

          Prejudice – even more so than a few extremists – keeps racism alive and institutionalised.

          1. @coldfly

            This is a thought experiment that you proposed:

            If you want to know if racism exists in your environment you just have to ask yourself which ’colour’ you want to have if born again tomorrow in your country.

            If you don’t understand basic philosophical terms or how thought experiments work, you might want to read up on that. Especially if you propose them yourself.

            If you were born as a random black person in The Netherlands, there is a high chance that you will be part of a Caribbean (sub)culture, a smaller chance that you will be part of a African (sub)culture and close to zero chance that you are part of a purely white subculture. This is just the logical consequence of almost all black people in The Netherlands being descendants of migrants that came relatively recently, who almost always have a distinct (sub)culture, because not enough time has passed for them to (fully) assimilate. So if you were to die and reincarnate as a black Dutch baby, it is highly likely that you would be raised in a (partially) Caribbean or African (sub)culture.

            Descendants from slaves in the US mostly have a distinct subculture as well, so if you were born as one of them, you’d likely be raised in that subculture. We see that the descendants of poor of African migrants do better on average than the descendants of slaves, which cannot be explained by discrimination on skin color, because the African migrants are darker-skinned on average. It can also not be explained by generational poverty, because the migrants started off poorer. So the different culture of these two groups is then a logical possible explanation for the different outcomes.

            > Since when is skin colour in your country a prove of what culture you’re part of??

            I said that skin color is strongly correlated with (sub)culture, which is a claim that is perfectly consistent with the correlation being less than 1. Not every white person in The Netherlands is Dutch, but most are. This means that if you talk Dutch to a random person in The Netherlands, they are much, much more likely to understand you than if you talk Russian.

            The culture of the average long term resident in The Netherlands is far closer to Dutch than to American, which means that the behavior of the average long term resident is far more Dutch than American, which in turn means that Dutch society is reflective of Dutch culture much more than American society, even though there are Americans living in The Netherlands and Dutch people in the US.

            The same is true for subgroups within society. Their behavior reflects their culture, which causes differences in outcomes.

            PS. Note that the progressive claim that racism and white supremacy has enormous impact on the opportunities that people have, is completely inconsistent with the fact that Asian-Americans and Jewish Americans have higher incomes on average than (other) white Americans, while having faced substantial discrimination and still facing it to a lesser extent.

          2. ColdFly (@)
            27th June 2020, 19:01

            @aapje, you clearly have no reasearch experience. An ‘experiment’ would involve some kind of treatment/procedure; I merely proposed some (self)-observation.
            But you can call it an experiment if you want to; it’s not a biggy and it doesn’t change its validity.

            I’m appalled by what I read after that but won’t reply as I’m afraid you might soon refer to Philippe Rushton’s work.
            But you might want to read my last sentence of the previous post again: “Prejudice – even more so than a few extremists – keeps racism alive and institutionalised.”

          3. @coldfly

            You seem unable to distinguish between scientific experiments and thought experiments, nor between cultural differences and biological differences. As such, it is unsurprising that you are appalled, because you are incapable of recognizing that different things are indeed, different.

            If you cannot accept something as simple and obvious as different ethnic groups having cultural differences which leads to different behavior which leads to different outcomes, then your beliefs are totally and completely different from reality.

    2. You can try as many times as you like kenji. We can also give you as many examples as you like. We can explain why the senior figure within British motorsport no longer uses the racist nickname for Hamilton (in public at least). We can point you to Wolffs recent comments on what he has seen and had pointed out to him. We can discuss the use of the term **** music in relation to some garage music that the teams play, we can talk about why at some meets the pit lane reporters were described as ‘pit *******. You could do some simple research on the internet or listen to black participants on their experiences. We can look at the three people within F1 who have recently been sacked. But none of that matters to you, you will always find an excuse , because nothing will stop you being who you are.

    3. So you want examples, but only from Ham supporters? What an odd request. But seeing what you are, hardly surprising I suppose. I would offer the sacking of four people employed in F1 within the last year, but I’m sure you would have a reason why that and any other examples, don’t count.

      1. @ Ian Dearing..and @ ColdFly. you have read the article i presume? It headlines with a pic of Hamilton and it is Hamilton who says he wants to see more ‘black kids’ in motorsport and it’s his F1 platform that he’s using to promote his mantra. So it’s the Hamilton supporters, who are backing him here on this site, to whom i am requesting supply valid instances of racial discrimination by way of color,diversity and gender in F1. That’s a very simple request and i guess that judging by the lack of detail that you are now trying to divert the line of debate. Does the emperor have anything at all hanging in his wardrobe? Simple request…..name the four people you have nominated for starters.Money up.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          27th June 2020, 12:40

          @kenji, I’m sitting on my terrace overlooking the sea and with the help of ruler it appears totally flat.
          Can you please give me four proofs of less than 12 year old that the earth is globe.

          And please stop cross-dressing as an emperor ;)

          1. @coldfly

            You can easily find more than 4 images of the earth from the ISS from the last 12 years. In fact, here are 15 images just from 2015, with 5 showing the curvature of the earth.

            See how easy that was? Not so much with your claims, is it?

          2. ColdFly (@)
            27th June 2020, 14:30

            Sarcasm is like a retorical question: best not answered (seriously).

            PS can you please send me 15 images of a pancake?
            (warning: same applies as above)

          3. @ ColdFly…enjoy the view. I asked you for examples of racism in F1 today and you failed, miserably, to be able to supply same. Hollowed out i think! Have a nice day, night whatever.

          4. ColdFly (@)
            27th June 2020, 15:54

            I asked you for examples of racism in F1

            And I asked you for examples of the earth being a globe, and yet you did not provide it either, @kenji.
            But at least I can accept that my observation (flat earth) is wrong without needing explicit evidence.
            Sometime basic education, observation and reasoning is enough.

          5. William Jones
            28th June 2020, 0:31

            If you think about it, the horizon being flat on a globe is exactly what you would expect to see. You would see a curve if the Earth was a cylinder, but a globe, where it dips away from you equally at all points means that if would form a horizon equally at all points.

        2. Why would you want their names. What next, how many children they each have? By that very question you prove you are completely ignorant of the subject matter. You have done absolutely no research, not even a simple internet check, nor will you because you are what you are and nothing will ever change that. And btw I’m not here to prove there is racism in F1 and motorsport; anyone who says that there is none is a complete fool. Now run along and go and find out about the four who were sacked. And then come back and tell us why that doesn’t count as racism in F1.

          1. I believe you are referring to Mercedes sacking 4 staff members last year?
            I am confused though, the incident was 4 staff members bullying a Muslim, this is discrimination, but it is not racism. I have not seen anything about the race of the bullies or the bullied.

          2. They were sacked for ‘racist bullying’. But thanks for helping kenji out. Maybe you can now tell him what Hamilton’s nickname was during his early career up and and including into F1?

          3. @ian dearing – you may have missed my point.
            Yes, according to reports they were sacked for ‘racist bullying’, that is what the media called it.
            I.E. “racist – noun – a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”
            The incident referred to here as ‘racist bullying’ was actualy about religion, a Muslim being bullied. By deffintion that is not racist, WRONG, but not racist.
            The issue is that we refer to almost every form of discrimination as racist, this simply fuels the racism fire (which is exactly what certain peoples agenda is).
            That said, I do not know what races were involved in the incident, so the possibility remains that it was infact racist, but the reported facts do not support that assumption.

  6. Trevor Sworn
    27th June 2020, 11:18

    Well said Lewis. Ignorant and uneducated. Bernie The bigot also admired Hitler and then there’s the alleged corruption that he side stepped German justice by paying them off. But he’s entitled to his own point of view…

    1. Bernie also appologised for his comments and made it clear that he did not support what Hitler did, his words were taken out of context.
      Have you never said something that came out wrong and you regretted? God knows I have.

  7. Re: Spain 2008.

    Yes it happened, nobody denies it. But if my memory serves me correctly it was also widely condemned.

    I know I was disgusted (and a little perplexed at what “Hamilton family” was supposed to mean). I’m sure team bosses spoke out about it.
    I have no idea what Bernie said, if anything? But I don’t remember anybody saying anything in support of these despicable “fans”.

    I felt sorry for Hamilton at the time, as it was obviously aimed at him, but he did have a lot of people supporting him.

    1. By weird American standards Spanish people are “people of color” as well. Though they are white.

  8. Willy T. Ribbs, 1986.

    Ribbs became the first black person to drive a Formula One car, when he tested for the Bernie Ecclestone-owned Brabham team at the Autódromo do Estoril, Portugal. Ultimately, Ribbs was not given the drive for the upcoming season.

    That’s because he was black, right, Lewis?

  9. Lewis starts from a false premise, his starting point is that he is a “victim”, and does not realize how lucky he is, Lewis is trapped in an “ideological agenda” where “goodness”, “victimhood” and “political correctness” dominate it.
    Lewis speaks of “real equality”, Lewis does not realize that this is a fantasy, that does not exist, does not realize that “real equality” is a dystopia.
    What matters is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you (Epictetus)
    …for me, what has worried me these last three days, I have not been able to sleep, and I am very anxious, is to see what will happen in that first corner in Austria, that drivers will return to the pits on the first lap , the championship is going to be short, that first corner can be crucial for the championship, Max vs. Charles vs. Lewis, or Checo vs. Esteban vs. Carlos, or Romain vs. anyone vs. Kevin, … what anxiety my God, what anxiety.

    1. William Jones
      28th June 2020, 0:34

      Oh no. What a “dystopia” it would be if no-one denied people opportunities or bullied them because of skin colour.

      1. William, I don’t think you understand what a dystopia is.
        Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, … that’s “real equality,” that’s a dystopia.
        The different races is not an invention of man, the world in which we live is diverse, … white, black, yellow, brown, etc., etc., in diversity is the wealth of the world in which we live, in the diversity of landscapes, diversity of cultures, diversity of religions, diversity of thoughts, diversity of professions,….
        In diversity is the wealth of humanity, in “real equality”, there is misfortune.
        The ideological agenda that Lewis manages, the real equality that Lewis talks about is the equality that is aimed at dystopia, it is the one that forces you to think in a certain way, and if you go off that path, you will be punished … Huxley predicted it.
        I refuse to think like that.
        The problem is not in racism, the problem is in education.

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