NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace is calling to end the sport's association with the Confederate flag by outright banning the symbol at upcoming races.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace says in a recent interview with CNN's Don Lemon. “It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

As the first full-time black driver in the Cup Series since 1971, Wallace admits that there was a time when the Confederate flags didn’t bother him. But things have changed.

"There's going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it's time for change," says Wallace, who wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at the NASCAR race on Sunday (June 7). "We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR to have those conversations to remove those flags. We should not be able to have an argument over that. It is a thick line we cannot cross anymore."

NASCAR began asking fans no to fly the Confederate flag at races in 2015. In a recent poll, nearly half of Americans consider displaying the Confederate flag as merely a way to express their Southern pride, compared to just over one-third of people surveyed who considered it a symbol of racism.

Whatever a Confederate flag's true meaning, the tension and demonstrations across the country following the death of George Floyd proves that the times are changing. Floyd was an unarmed black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. The officer has been charged with murder and manslaughter in his death. On Wednesday (June 10), Wallace will compete at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia in a car emblazoned with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme.

"I think by running this branding on our car, putting the hashtag out there, bringing more awareness to it, it lines up with the videos that we had put out as NASCAR,” the driver says of the car he plans to drive at the race, which still won’t have fans in attendance due to continuing coronavirus (Covid-19) concerns. "Listening and learning. Educating ourselves. So people will look up what this hashtag means. And hopefully, get a better understanding."

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