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confederate flag

via piccolini cuscino / Twitter

NASCAR's only black driver, Bubba Wallace, told CNN on Monday that the league should ban the Confederate flag. "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," he said. "So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

Wallace drives the No. 43 car with Richard Petty Motorsports.

On Wednesday, NASCAR released a statement saying that it had banned the flag. It's believed that Wallace's statement pushed NASCAR to finally do what it had been considering for years.


"The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," it wrote.

"Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community it creates is what makes fans and sport special, the statement continued, "The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."

The ban comes a few days after the sport had a dramatic display of solidarity with the black community.

On Sunday, during its pre-race routine at Atlanta Motor Speedway, drivers stopped their cars on the track for a statement by president Steve Phelps who called upon Americans to listen to black people's calls for change after the death of George Floyd.

He also said, "Our sport must do better. Our country must do better."

During the race Wallace wore a shirt that said "I can't breathe" and had "Black Lives Matter" painted on his car.

"Our team brought that idea to me and I jumped all over it," Wallace said according to Sports Illustrated. "Why not dive in straight to the root and put #BlackLivesMatter on the car?"

Wallace's stance on the flag and willingness to stand for racial justice in NASCAR is a bold statement, to say the least. NASCAR is a favorite sport among American conservatives in the south and the flag is a familiar site at NASCAR races, dotting the infield atop RVs or being waved by fans in the grandstands.

The 26-year-old Alabama native wasn't always bothered by the sight of the flags but had a chance of heart.

"What I'm chasing is checkered flags and that was kind of my narrative," Wallace said, "but diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that, people talk about that -- that's the first thing they bring up."

For the past five years, the sport has had an uncomfortable relationship with the flag. It called for fans to stop beginning it to events in 2015 after a after a white supremacist murdered nine black people at a Charleston church in 2015.

But the request did little to limit its presence.

Before Wednesday's race, Wallace said NASCAR made the right call.

"Bravo," he said while clapping. "Props to NASCAR and everybody involved," he said. "There's a lot of emotions on the racetrack and off the racetrack that are riding with us. Tonight is something special. Today has been special. Hats off to NASCAR."







Hey, look! Congress did something kind of bipartisan for a change.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.


Perhaps even more surprisingly, Congress did something positive.

Under a newly passed amendment to a larger bill, the Confederate flag will no longer be welcome at many veterans' cemeteries.

A Confederate veterans' cemetery. If the law takes effect, the ban would only apply to cemeteries administered by the V.A. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

The outcome of the vote was reported by The Associated Press:

"The House voted Thursday to ban the display of the Confederate flag on flagpoles at Veterans Administration cemeteries.

The 265-159 vote would block descendants and others seeking to commemorate veterans of the Confederate States of America from flying the Confederate Battle Flag over mass graves, even on days that flag displays are permitted."

This kind of vote might not have been possible just a few years ago.

For decades, the Confederate flag, a symbol of slavery and Jim Crow, flew on public property all over the South.

As late as 2000, the flag was still flying over the South Carolina state capitol. A highly contentious debate that year ended with the flag's removal from the building itself, but lawmakers — in an attempt to accommodate (mostly) white Southerners who claimed the flag was simply a marker of their regional identity and heritage — allowed it to remain on public grounds near the statehouse.

Last year's tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine black men and women were murdered in their own church, finally got lawmakers on both sides of the aisle rethinking the place the flag has in public life.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

After an investigation into shooter Dylann Roof revealed dozens of images detailing his worship of the Confederate flag, its place as a racist symbol became impossible to ignore.

Lawmakers in South Carolina voted to finally and completely remove the flag from the area in front of the statehouse (even before lawmakers acted, courageous activist Bree Newsome took it down on her own).

It's regrettable that it took a tragedy of such terrible magnitude to force this much-needed change.

The Confederate flag is lowered at the South Carolina statehouse. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Thankfully, that change is finally coming to Washington — and, with this vote, becoming the rare issue where Democrats and at least some Republicans, are coming closer to agreement rather than drifting farther apart.

For now, at least, the Confederate flag debate is finally moving in the right direction.

A South Carolina police officer puts away the Confederate flag that had been flying at the statehouse. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Down, instead of up.

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Google’s recap proves 2015 was tough but filled with progress.

Our Internet searches say a lot about what happened this year.

Fact: 2015 was kind of an amazing year.

I know, I know, a lot of terrible things went down. That's also a fact.

It's easy to want to crawl into a hole after thinking back through the past 12 months:


And as the year ends, yes, many of us are asking each other, "How did our world become such a mess? But don't let that question fool you into thinking everything is terrible.

Because even though 2015 was rough, it really was also ... sort of amazing.

No, seriously.

More diseases were eradicated. Global poverty continued to fall. In the U.S. — where millions more Americans gained access to health care — it was confirmed that marriage equality is a constitutional right.

Folks celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage in New York City. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

#BlackLivesMatter brought the fight against racial injustice and police brutality mainstream. The world rallied together to slash carbon emissions and combat climate change. We have more trees in America now than we've had in the past 100 years. And we finally figured out the color of that damn dress.

Still not convinced 2015 actually rocked? Look no further than Google's annual "Year in Search" video.

The tech giant — which just released its list of the year's top searches — recapped 2015 by taking a look at what people were most curious about in its annual "Year In Search" video.

Yes, the list certainly reflects our obsession with scandal and celebrity culture — Amy Schumer, Charlie Sheen, and Kylie Jenner all make appearances — but it also highlights our desire for social progress.

"In 2015, the questions we asked revealed who we are,"Google notes. Questions, like these:

How can one person do their part to help Syrian refugees?

Here are a few ways how.

Why can't women be Army rangers?

By the way, now they can.

How can we trounce out racism?

We can start by acknowledging white privilege.

How can we rebuild a country devastated by an earthquake?

You can start by supporting organizations that are helping to fix the heartache.

How can we find world peace?

...Now that's the million-dollar question.

It's understandable to feel down thinking about all the awful things happening around us. But you shouldn't.

The world can be a scary place. But don't let the 24/7, "if it bleeds, it leads" news cycle beat you down.

There's more good out there than there is bad. 2015 is proof.

Check out Google's Year In Search 2015 below: