Earth to Mercedes F1 race team: Black liveries DON’T matter
A victory for inclusivity in Formula One … or politically correct tokenism promoted by vacuous windbags? How new paint on the Silver Arrow F1 race cars highlights a contrast in the boardroom at parent company, Daimler.
A quick Lewis Hamilton update: I’m sure the F1 champ is operating from a place of generally good intentions, although sometimes he’s a pest, like most of us, but Mr Hamilton’s recent high-profile comments on racism, slavery and related issues do seem to me to be – at best – somewhat ignorant of prominent 20th Century history, in respect of acknowledged historical facts concerning the conduct of two of Mr Hamilton’s biggest sponsors.
These companies – Mercedes and Hugo Boss – used slave labour in World War II. It’s impossible for a rational person aware of modern history to overlook this inconvenient fact.
So it does seem – let’s be kind – odd, or perhaps ignorant, for Mr Hamilton to appoint himself a retrospective anti-slavery ambassador when he has made millions from companies which put themselves on the map using slave labour in the middle of the 20th Century. Just saying.
There’s no credible debate about whether they used slave labour in WWI. None. It’s a fact. I’ve done a full report on that, presented in what I hope is a fair and balanced way. It’s here: Lewis Hamilton’s selective take on slavery
I mean no disrespect to Mr Hamilton. This report is not a vector for hate or vilification of him. He is a legendary driver, of outstanding calibre. There’s no doubt on that, either. But perhaps he should just stick to doing that, because the facts are not retrospectively malleable. All slavery is unconscionable, surely?
The twist here is of course that the Mercedes F1 cars – the legendary ‘silver arrows’ – are no longer silver. They’re painted black this year. A symbolic gesture of support for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, at Mr Hamilton’s behest.
They will race for the very first time in this new, emblematic non-color this weekend. Mr Hamilton and his team-mate will race in corresponding black overalls this year, as well, and the ‘End Racism’ message will be displayed on both cars.
Mr Hamilton said:
Real and meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity. These buzzwords are straight from the social justice warrior handbook, I’m pretty sure. To which I would respectfully retort:
Equality and inclusivity are essential for any truly free and enlightened society. Ending racism is an admirable objective. But two black cars and matching jumpsuits, plus a slogan, does not constitute ‘meaningful change’ in this area. It just doesn’t. Or, if it does, I don’t see how. It does not even illuminate a path, in that broad direction, in my estimation.
This new non-colour scheme is hardly a turnaround for repressed groups anywhere. It’s just not. It’s a shallow, virtue-signalling token in my estimation – and you are of course free to make your own determination on this. I could be unable to judge by virtue of simply being a tired old white-skinned cynic whose association with the mainstream media for decades has sucked out his soul and left him a withered husk.
Certainly black lives matter. All lives matter. Equally. Obviously. Ending racism is admirable. I have no problem with the theory here – just the execution in this case.