If you don’t know Brad House, you should. He’s a long-time former California resident and bike racer who operates Back on Track Promotions. Back on Track puts on a couple of races each year, notably the LAX Circuit Race and the upcoming Hotter ‘n Hell Hill Climb at Mt. Baldy.
I support everyone’s right to voice their opinion. Even people who are racist or homophobic have a constitutional right to voice their opinions. Fortunately, Brad is not letting his free speech right wither on the vine, because on Facebook he voices his support for the Confederate flag as “heritage” and shares messages that disparage homosexual equality under “Christian” principles.
Although Brad has the right to voice these opinions, I think it’s healthy for the riders that race, the clubs and volunteers that support the event, and the governmental entities that grant his permits to ask whether or not this is the kind of promoter who reflects their values. And although Confederate flag-loving, anti-gay opinions are constitutional, do they represent you? Do you want to contribute money to people who support these ideas?
Brad has the right to support a flag associated with the Confederacy. The Confederacy was an illegal rebellion that tried to destroy the United States of America through violence. The rebels’ war killed over 600,000 people, and the its aim was to preserve slavery. Slavery was a system in which white people bought and sold black people for money and legally used them as property. Under this system, blacks had no human rights of any kind. Many people believe that the racial problems we have in America today are a direct result of slavery.
If you like the Confederacy and you believe in its principles, if you think that our nation would be better today split in half, part free and part slave, and if you think that the Confederate flag represents your values, I encourage you to support Brad and his races.
But if you think that the flag is a symbol of hate and that it represents a failed, violent, terrorist attempt to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and government in order to maintain slavery — if you associate the flag with the Ku Klux Klan, the lynching of blacks, and as a symbol of our ongoing racial divide — then I suggest you stay away from Brad’s races.
More than that, I hope you share with other people how you feel, as well as the fact that Brad cross-posts anti-gay “Christian” messages while seeking support from California racers and clubs. Did I mention that Brad lives most of the year in Texas?
Many of us in the SoCal racing community are gay, all of us have gay friends and family members. Do we like Brad’s brand of race promotion, a brand underlain by homophobia and promotion of the Confederate racial hate flag?
I don’t think we do–I certainly don’t.
So rather than voting on Facebook and engaging in meaningless arguments, where Brad enjoys taunting California bike racers who are either gay, black, supporters of gun control, atheist, Democrat, or liberals, vote with your race registrations and let him know that while you support his right to freedom of speech, you won’t subsidize it through bicycle racing.
Brad can develop a successful business model for bike racing here in SoCal, where he is the go-to guy for racers who are anti-gay, anti-black, pro-KKK, and who want to wear a Stars-and-Bars champion’s jersey. Brad could even make that his business emblem so people know exactly what they’re getting.
His next race on the calendar is August 15. There’s plenty of time to make sure people know that when they give money to Brad, they’re supporting his beliefs with their money.
Pass the word on, and if you’re feeling especially energetic send a letter or two to the entities that permit Brad’s races. Who knows? They may have a black person or (gasp!) a gay one on their board. But I’m sure they’ll understand.
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PS: Don’t forget to take the 2015 Bike Racing Survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3R5KGQZ