Car Race

An Open Letter From Angie Skinner

My friend and former Sirius XM Speedway co-host Angie Skinner found herself swept-up in a controversy not of her own making yesterday, when her stepson, Dustin Skinner, posted some shocking, racially insensitive comments on social media. Sadly, much of the online backlash was directed at Angie and Mike, who in no way deserved the hateful, vitriolic comments that came their way. 
Angie reached out to me today — as a friend — to share her heartache and disappointment. After reading her words, I asked if I might share them with you here. Not because Mike and Angie need defending, but because messages of understanding and tolerance are badly needed these days.
For the record, I have known Mike and Angie for a long, long time. They are wonderful, giving, selfless people, without a single racist bone in their bodies. I have no idea what brought Dustin to the dark place he currently inhabits, but I can tell you for sure that it wasn’t Mike and Angie. 
We all hope and pray that our children will be successful and make us proud, but there are no guarantees.
I would ask that you read Angie’s words with an open heart…
Every morning, I have an
amazing God-sent friend that texts me a spiritual writing, she NEVER misses a
day.  At 5 AM this morning  I prayed for the right words for today, after
reading the horrific words from someone I love.
Do not speak in the hearing of fools; they
will despise the wisdom of your words.– Proverbs 23:9
Many of you really don’t know
me –  you don’t know how I grew up, or
why I never had children of my own.  You
don’t know the ways I have been mistreated by friends; men and women of all
races.  You don’t know my battles with
depression, my heartbreaks, my failures… You really don’t know me.
Many assume that my husband and I raised children together. We did not.  Many assume we own a race team. We do not. Many
of you have posted despicable comments against us for something we did not do,
nor support.
My good friend and broadcast mentor
Dave Moody taught me one thing when I joined his show years ago; Remember
everything you say is permanent. NO ONE forgets, so always make sure what you
say or post is accurate and true. Check your sources and do your research.
My true friends and family DO
know me and my husband.
You don’t know why I chose to NOT
be a serious news reporter after I grew up dreaming of reporting the news every
night. You don’t know why I went in the direction of sports and entertainment.  And I won’t share with you those
stories.  Yet. 
I will say that  I just love to make people laugh. It’s that
simple. I love to make people laugh and smile and forget about their troubles. This
is how I use my social media channels; I really do try to just make you all
laugh, and myself. 
And you know what? There are
many of you out there that even complain about my laugh. That hurts, because
it’s my laugh and it’s genuine. But that is your right I guess, to tell me I’m
obnoxious and loud and what a piece of crap I am.
It’s my right to ignore your
comments and still LAUGH, just as it’s me and my husband’s right to handle our
personal grievances against someone and family matters personally and not on
social media.
I am not a politician. I never
signed up to be outspoken on social injustices.  I admire those that do in good manner, but
it’s just not me and for sure is not my husband; who literally still doesn’t truly
understand social media. He was told he needed an account and he followed the
suggestion. 
When I was notified of the
horrendous comments Mike’s son made about Bubba Wallace, I cried. I prayed. I
asked God for guidance on how to handle such a situation.
I didn’t even know they were
made.  To be honest, Mike and I have not
really followed NASCAR media as of late. We are in a stage in our lives where
we are transitioning to other adventures. That doesn’t mean we don’t watch
races or read tweets or posts from drivers we follow, it’s just not our
priority at this stage of our lives. We are diving into new ventures, and with
so much hate lately in our world, we rarely even watch the news anymore. 
Our PR manager found the
comments, called me immediately and addressed the comments. I asked her to deal
with it because I was just so upset that anymore – let alone a family member —
would express anger in that sentiment.  I
didn’t even share the info with Mike. I just wanted him to not deal with
another family ordeal, of which we have experienced many.
When we were alone and the
race was near ending, I told him about the comments made by his son.  He was extremely hurt, humiliated and
upset.  He dealt with the issue man to
man by calling his son and discussing his anger. 
My husband is a good man who
can look into the mirror every morning PROUD of who he is. He is genuine and he
is guided by his heart. He loves his friends, his family and his country.
Your judgements against
someone you have never met? Well — just that. You have never met him.  You only saw him on a racetrack and hear him
on radio sometimes.
Many made comments in rage, suggesting
and demanding what he should do as a father without even knowing how he did
handle the situation, minutes after he was told about the post.
You did it behind a keyboard
with anger and hate.  You didn’t check
your facts and you chastised me and Mike, not realizing the hurt we were
dealing with. The same that has happened to many of color, gender, ethnicity. You
did exactly what the world needs to STOP doing. 
If we are going to change this
world, we need to not promote so much hate and anger. We all need to be kind to
one another, help one another, heal with one another, learn from one another.  How we act…. How we love…. How we treat
others… How we pray for those fighting such anger…. Love heals and changes –
not demands and threats. 
This is how I deal with the
many social injustices in this world. 
I’m not radical, I’m peaceful. 
When I watched the amazing
start of the Talladega race, with the drivers and racers supporting Bubba
Wallace, I cried happy tears. It showed the real change being made in love and
support.  It was genuine and so
beautiful.  I was proud of the sport and
even more proud of the people.  To end my
night in such chaos really made me think. 
Really made me realize that maybe social media isn’t for me in my life
right now.  Really made me realize my
actions in person mean more than what I type behind a keyboard.  (I know, I’m typing now, but it’s the only
way to express my true feelings and hopefully shine a more positive light onto
such a dark situation).
We pray Dustin changes his
views. He already broke down, apologized and realized how horrific and hurtful
his comments were. He asked what to do and we suggested apologizing and
learning from the outburst.  Again, we
pray that his views change.
But it’s up to him to handle.
Mike will not stop loving his
son because the public demands him to. 
Mike will promote his positives and hope he continues to grow and love;
reminding him of his good qualities and using love and positivity to change his
attitude one day at a time.
My husband is a man of great
integrity and he will not be demanded by those who have never met him, or via
social media channels to give up on his son. 
He will fight to fix it — personally – and not on social media.
He will use love to conquer it.
He will do what he can to heal the heart. 
He will use love and positive words and any means possible to change the
mind of someone who is full of anger and rage. 
That is all he can do – and I ask that you understand how we handle our
situation. 
Please stop the ranting, hate,
blaming and finger pointing.  It’s not
going to change our world – it’s just going to fuel the fire.
We pray something positive can
come from such a horrific venting of social injustice. 
Though I have never birthed a
child of my own – I see the pain and hurt my husband goes through when a child
of his acts out in such a manner.  It’s
between our family. We all have issues with our families, and if you are so
lucky to have the perfect family, God Bless You. Please pray for ours.
I leave you with a message I
heard from a sweet, sweet little girl. 
Her name is Willow. She is bi-racial. 
Her innocent soul has no understanding why she would be looked at
different or negative. She is a child with a genuine and young heart. 
Her lesson?  It doesn’t matter what color skin we have.
If we all cut our finger…. Our
blood is the same.  It’s red.  We all have a heart, we all have two lungs….
We are all the same. We should all be treated equal… we should all be treated
the same way. 

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