Saskatchewan Roughrider’s eyes opened in NASCAR trip
SASKATOON -- Jordan Reaves and his fiancée, race car driver Amber Balcean, say a trip to a NASCAR race in the southern Unites States opened their eyes..
“We pulled into the RV park and like three of four of the RVs right around ours all had Confederate flags flying,” Reaves said.
Reaves, a Winnipeg-born defensive lineman for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, said he felt uncomfortable and that some in the area stared at him.
He said Balcean and her family didn't know what the flag meant.
That's when he opened up about racism and the flag’s meaning to people of color.
"When they see that flag it directly relates back to the Civil War and the people flying that flag were against the abolition of slavery.”
Aside from the race, the couple said they have spent plenty of time the U.S. and say they have noticed something different.
"As an interracial couple when we were in Winnipeg, I never thought that we were an interracial couple. We were just a couple. And here we are an interracial couple. And you know, you feel it a little differently,” said Balcaen.
During the race, they got up close with a pit crew and enjoyed the experience and the people they met. Reaves said he became hooked on the fun of being there.
Both say NASCAR has made many moves to become more inclusive, including banning the Confederate flag.
“There is a Black Lives Matter race car. They have included the Pride flag now,” said Balcaen.
Reaves said racism exists in Canada too. Although he wishes he was playing football, he is using this time to make his voice heard.
"It’s definitely is helping. It's helping to go out there and you know, be with a team - another team of people that all have the same cause.”