Hi there! You don’t know me- so let me introduce myself. My name is Amy and I am a NASCAR fan (and blogger obviously). Not knowing me, you would probably characterize me as a gun toting, tobacco-spitting, country music listening, walmart shopping, taxidermy loving, lawn mower riding, cowboy boot wearing, high school dropout redneck living in one of the cities in on your 10 Most “Redneck” Cities in America list.
After reading the list and more importantly the
highly scientific method you used to come up with the cities that made the list I am flummoxed. You see- I am a NASCAR fan and I have been since I was a child. Yet I am none of those things. Neither are any of the NASCAR fans I know. You see, that is the problem when you perpetuate stereotypes- you inevitably alienate people. It would be like me stereotyping football fans as the inebriated, shirtless guy wearing a beer dispensing hard hat while his entire bare upper torso is painted in team colors while standing in 30 degree weather. Or like saying that all programmers are skinny, pale, bespectacled, dateless, socially awkward, caffeine addicted trolls who sit in darkened rooms playing WoW between code writing marathons. Those sweeping generalizations are for the most part untrue as are yours when it comes to NASCAR fans.
So let me get back on topic by telling you more about myself. I am a college graduate with a B.A. in Diversified Liberal Studies (Culture, Language and Diversity Tract) with a concentration in literature. I live in California but no where near Sacramento which is on your redneck city list. I do not smoke, I drink very rarely and don’t chew anything except the occasional stick of gum. I have never owned a pair of cowboy boots nor a gun (although I am not opposed to the latter- quite the opposite actually). I do not drive a riding lawn mower or a tractor (my current vehicle is a 2008 Chevy HHR) although I do live just a couple minutes from where most of the salad you ate for lunch was grown. I find taxidermy kind of creepy. I do, however, occasionally shop at Walmart and I do listen to country music- but not JUST country music- I listen to everything from Metallica to Nelly and in between- my music tastes are just as eclectic as I am. I have worked in Information Technology for almost 15 years now. Personality wise I tend to be fairly shy unless I know you. I like to read and have a love of photography and writing. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt to three beloved nephews and a best friend. I have also been described as a stalwart, tenacious Tony Stewart fan (he is a NASCAR driver). What I am trying to say in a nut shell- is I do not fit into your version of what a NASCAR fan is. Nor would any of the fans I know.
What can I tell you about NASCAR fans as a whole? It’s hard to put them into a single category. They are men and women who come from various walks and stations in life. They range in age from the very young to the very old. What I can tell you that they have in common is fierce loyalty to their sport (and their specific drivers) and each other as fans. Which in itself is remarkable when you consider that each race (or game for you stick and ball people) there are 43 different drivers (teams) competing in that race instead of just two teams as in (most) traditional sports. If you are really interested in the wide variety and NASCAR fans and I seriously doubt that you are- you may want to start by picking up a copy of The Weekend Starts On Wednesday -a book that tells the stories of real NASCAR fans (you can also read my review of The Weekend Starts on Wednesday here). That might actually be researching your subject though instead of basing your article on farcical algorithms.
If you should ever want to really write about NASCAR and it’s fans in a true light might I also suggest that you research it by going to a race and talking to NASCAR fans in their element. Let them tell you about their driver and why they root for that driver (the reasons are as varied as the people themselves- you can read my version in this post: Musings On Being A Tony Stewart Fan:I Should Come With A Warning Label). Talk to some of the crew member and let them show you what goes into the preparation of a car for the race. Observe what a weekend in the garage is like for them. Let the drivers show you what their typical race weekend schedule is like and during what little downtime they have let them tell you about their foundations and causes that are close to their heart. Go for a ride along even and get the full exhilarating experience of a stock car at speed. You might even find yourself having a good time and learning something.
P.S. By the way, your very claim that you don’t use the term redneck negatively is laughable. Your whole article reeks of the negative stereotypical drivel that NASCAR fans have dealt with for years. There is nothing “unique” or “fun” about (taken from your ABOUT US page) this “original” content. You may call it tongue-in-cheek, or having a sense of humor; I call it tired, unoriginal, inaccurate and offensive.
*I use the word Masterminds loosely as that is how they refer to themselves on the ABOUT US portion of their website.
(This is not the post I originally wrote to publish today- that one will instead run tomorrow. I read the article mentioned in the body of my letter and it just pushed all my buttons the wrong way and I HAD to respond- Amy)
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