Lewis Hamilton’s Lost Uncle Tom

The first and youngest black Formula One champion, on the eve of the first black president of the Unites States. Clearly, all complaints of racism and class-barriers are nothing but self-indulgent, patronising nonsense. Here is a black working class boy who achieved an ultimate goal by sheer hard work and the support of his family. So why can’t They all do it? Obviously because they are lazy, shiftless and feckless, and are imprisoned by state pampering.
And so Lewis Hamilton’s great sporting achievement becomes a stick to beat black boys with. That is the function of the sporting Role Model. To convince everyone that life is a competition, and all can win it.
But life isn’t sport, strangely enough. And Lewis Hamilton would have never been heard of if the state had not pampered him with education and health care, and the anonymous, underpaid people who worked in those professions hadn’t, on balance, done their work almost as well anyone about to become a billionaire for driving a car in circles.
The Carole Malones and John Gaunts and other media bitches have always offered sport as a route out of, and therefore a validation of the class system. ‘There is the door, why don’t you use it?’ The entertainment industry serves the same purpose, ostensibly demolishing class and race crimes at a stroke. Minstrelsy was very popular, for a while.
Before the desperate gutter press seize on this as another justification for gross inequality and for their denial of the class structure and for slashing the dole at a time of rising undemplyment, they should remember that exceptions only sometimes prove rules, they never make them. That Lewis Hamilton’s triumph is built on such a vast network of labour and support, from midwife to wingnut-maker, as to be almost meaningless as a heroic sporting achievement which can be paraded as a Triumph Of The Will. This is Formula One Motor Racing we’re talking about, which is more of a mobile country than a sport, with cars instead of an army, and a large amount of political and economic clout. And the days of the death-defying gladiator-driver are gone. The driver should have a knack for driving fast round corners, enough of a nasty streak to not worry about putting others at risk, and be good at games of Chicken.
But in fact, what we really need are more and better-paid midwives and fewer, poorer Formula One Champions. At least they would live here.

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