Add another group to the list of individuals that do not have a high regard for the Cuban exile community or Cuban Americans in South Florida: Car race promoters.
It seems that South Florida, with its rich and diverse cultural flair, is a little too Cuban for Bruton Smith, a race promoter that owns eight NASCAR racetracks throughout the U.S. He is none too happy about NASCAR holding its Sprint Cup Series finale at the Homestead Miami Speedway.
Nothing like some good ole’ boy bigotry to help promote a sport.
But Smith is not the only race promoter that doesn’t give a lick about Cubans. There is also Jay Lamm, the founder and administrator of the “24 Hours of LeMons,” a series of parody races where contestants attempt to race clunkers around a track for 24 hours. One of the races will be held at the Palm Beach International Raceway, and it is being billed as the “24 Horas de Cuba del Norte,” the “24 hours of North Cuba.” Apparently, the title was not insulting enough for Lamm, so he added the image of Che Guevarra to the logo of the event.
A joke of a car race in Palm Beach County is falling flat with some South Florida race fans and drivers for using the image of Che Guevara in its logo.
The tongue-in-cheek 24 Hours of LeMons racing circuit challenges drivers to buy, repair and transport a broken-down car – decked out to look like a Halloween parade float – for $500 or less and try to keep the thing together for a 24-hour endurance race.
Lamm, who was at a Le-Mons race in Omaha, Neb., last weekend, responded via e-mail that he had received only “about a dozen” complaints and responded to “the few that seemed to be thoughtfully written.” He does not intend to change the race logo or name.
“If some people take offense at an icon we’re using sarcastically, that’s an unfortunate but natural byproduct of humor; if they don’t understand that we’re on the same side as they are, I can’t help that,” he wrote. “I would note, however, that these are often the very same people who (are) offended by other images we’ve used (Appalachians, Coloradoans and recovering alcoholics, to name just a few) (and) that America was not founded on political correctness, nor on a reluctance to offend certain parties.
“Being an American means that you won’t get every joke, and you won’t like every image. Fortunately, since this is America – not Cuba – you’re free not to participate in anything you don’t get or agree with.”
Mr. Lamm is correct; this is America and he is free to say and do whatever he likes within the law. There is no law against disparaging and insulting the memory of the thousands that were executed because of Che Guevarra. That is just one of the many freedoms we have guaranteed in our constitution.
Another freedom Mr. Lamm has the right to exercise — and one he obviously exercises with vigor — is the right to be the monumental a-hole that he is.