NASCAR’s ‘Diversity Internship’ Sparks Controversy: A Case of Reverse Discrimination?

In a move that sparked controversy and legal debate, NASCAR introduced a paid “diversity internship” program. The catch? It appears to exclude white applicants based on their race. This stipulation has raised eyebrows among legal experts, with some labeling it as “blatantly illegal.”

The diversity internship program, part of NASCAR’s broader campaign called “Drive for Diversity,” has specific racial requirements for applicants.

According to the program’s guidelines, eligible candidates must belong to one or more of the following races/ethnic minority classifications: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Latino or Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

David Bernstein, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, has voiced his concerns about this racially discriminatory program.

Speaking to The Daily Wire, Bernstein stated that NASCAR’s program seems to violate Title VII and the 1866 Civil Rights Act.

He further added, “Having a 100% quota for minorities for a position is illegal even under a very generous view of what is allowed.” Bernstein also suggested that an applicant unable to apply due to their race could potentially have legal standing to sue the company.

This isn’t the first time NASCAR has faced criticism for its progressive stance. In recent years, the company has been accused of “going woke.”

Last year, it issued an apology for having Texas’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott appear at one of its races. Just this month, it suspended a driver indefinitely for “liking” a meme on Instagram that made light of the death of George Floyd.

These actions have led to some fans calling for a boycott of the racing league.

However, NASCAR is not alone in imposing race-based requirements for career opportunities.

Tech industry giant Oracle, along with other well-known companies like Best Buy, Liberty Mutual, US Bank, and Bayer Pharmaceuticals, hosted internships, scholarships, and career advancement training programs that excluded white and sometimes Asian applicants, based on their race.

Voya Investment Management also hosted a Financial Services Diversity Scholars Program that required applicants to “self-identify” as a minority to participate.

These practices have caught the attention of legal authorities. Attorneys general from 13 different states have recently warned companies that they could face “serious legal consequences” if they engage in racial discrimination.

Despite these controversies, NASCAR continues to promote its diversity initiatives. Alongside the diversity internship, the company offers the “Pit Crew Development Program” and the “Driver Development Program.”

Both programs are designed for aspiring minority and female pit crew members and drivers, respectively, providing them with coaching, mentorship, and development.

Interestingly, despite implementing racial requirements for these programs, NASCAR’s job postings state that the company is an equal opportunity employer.

The statement reads, “NASCAR is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EEO). We seek to attract and retain the best qualified people available. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race.”

As the debate around NASCAR’s diversity internship continues, the company has yet to respond to requests for comment.