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Friday, February 3, 2023

‘School was the most traumatic. People threw bananas at me, used N-word: Hamilton opens up on bullying

FeaturedSports News'School was the most traumatic. People threw bananas at me, used N-word: Hamilton opens up on bullying

Formula One great Lewis Hamilton was bullied when he was just 6 years old and says he had bananas thrown at him when he was racially abused at school.

The seven-time champion, who is the only black driver in F1, described his school days as extremely traumatic.

“For me, school was probably the most painful and hardest part of my life,” Hamilton said in an interview for the On Purpose podcast, which was released Monday. Think back then, (at that particular school), I was probably one of three colored kids and just big, strong, bully kids were throwing me around a lot of the time.”

Born and educated in Stevenage, England, Hamilton described how racial abuse continued throughout his school years, leaving him feeling completely isolated and confused.

“And then the constant jabs, the things that get thrown at you, like bananas, people who will use the N-word, very casually. People half-ass you,” Hamilton, 38, said on the podcast show. Caste and not knowing where you fit in. There aren’t people of color in history that they were teaching us. So I was thinking, ‘Where are the people who look like me?’

Even authority figures will choose him, Hamilton said.

“Out of 1,200 children, there were only six or seven black children and three of us were kept outside the headmaster’s office at all times,” he said. He said, “The headmaster said only for us and especially for me.

“I was put in the lowest seats at school and told that if you did well you could get promoted. They never let me get promoted, no matter how much I tried,” added Hamilton. “I really felt like the system was against me and I was swimming against the tide.”

Hamilton said he felt the sting of withdrawal even during leisure time.

“I was always picked last, you know when you stand in a line, when they’re picking teams for football (soccer). I was always the last one picked or not picked. was gone. Even if I was better than anyone else,” he said. “Just juggling all the emotions you’re feeling, plus I struggled in school.

Hamilton described how he pushed through his pain and put on a brave face when he got home.

“There were a lot of things that I repressed. I didn’t feel like I could go home and tell my parents that these kids were calling me the N-word today, (that) I was bullied at school today. , beaten, or I wasn’t able to defend myself. “I didn’t want my father to think that I wasn’t strong and that if I had tears, I would hold them back. If I had emotions, it would be in a quiet place. would have been It really wasn’t until I started running. I was able to channel that emotion that I put into my driving.”

Hamilton is the F1 record holder with 103 Grand Prix wins and 103 pole positions, and shares the record for most F1 titles with fellow great Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes star, who did not win a grand prix last season, begins his quest for an eighth F1 title when the season opens in Bahrain on March 5.

In recent years, Hamilton has distanced himself from the track, tirelessly campaigning to fight racism and encouraging others in F1 to speak out.

Hamilton established “The Hamilton Commission” to improve F1’s diversity, and has also been outspoken about human rights abuses in F1 racing countries.

Last year, Hamilton said the “archaic mindset” had to change after retired champion Nelson Piquet allegedly used racism against him.

(Translation of tags) Lewis Hamilton (T) Lewis Hamilton Bullying


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