While most outlets of mainstream entertainment have pushed the limits of reality in their quest to toe the politically correct line (if television is any indication, one in three doctors are black) the WWE has remained unapologetically racist. It is racist not because Chairman Vince McMahon secretly attends Klan meetings under the cloak of night â€“ though the country clubs he is sure to frequent are not far off â€“ but rather, because his staff is lazy and lacks any semblance of creativity or imagination. It is clear these failed sitcom writers hold their audience in contempt, contently targeting the lowest common denominator when pen is put to page. Why waste time with character shading and depth, when we can simply seize a ready trait, inflate it and hope to Christ they donâ€™t notice they are cheering a cardboard cut-out?
In recent years, the WWE has held the appeal of the slope browed set; the same who believe George W Bush a true patriot because he didnâ€™t waste his time â€œreadingâ€ pussy liberal stuff like the Constitution and instead wagged his dick like a true American on the international stage. Wrestling harkens to simpler times when women were big breasted, docile, with a nary a thought in their heads; men were ripped, glistening and vengeful; and coloreds were little more than a collection of the broadest available stereotypes. Perhaps this simplistic appeal to our base desires is what makes wrestling so alluring, drawing millions of viewers each week despite its meager offerings. We know we will be treated to brutal violence interspersed with comedy, heaving tits and fireworks, ending with John Cena standing tall over the carnage. There is a certain comfort to be found in the routine. The downside to such a formulaic, reductionist approach is that certain demographics are bound to be stung by their unfair, simple portrayal.
Which is why, several weeks ago during Smackdown, I was not surprised that my friends were filled with a white hot rage when they laid their eyes upon Cryme Tyme. I admitted Cryme Tyme were the most embarrassing black act to ever grace a WWE ring, including Mark Henry banging an 80-year-old woman, yet I didnâ€™t share their anger. Granted, only a wrestling show could escape criticism at scripting two black men to steal, speak in the incomprehensible gibberish that passes as English to the ignorant black set, and hold impromptu booty contests with (surprise surprise) the other ethnic girls on the roster. But more telling: these men are cheered, revealing the strict terms the creative staff believes the average wrestling fan will accept black men.
Kofi Kingston fares little better. Though he is thin (comparatively) on stereotype Kingston (a Ghanian billed from Jamaica as Creative thinks the viewers too stupid to connect a black man from any other country) is also accepted by the audience, though on different terms. Kofi is wide-eyed, vacant, all claps, shuck and smiles; for if there is one thing we know, once a black man stops smiling he is but mere moments from bludgeoning and raping the nearest white woman. His smile assures us he is one of the safe â€œonesâ€; safe meaning a Negro youâ€™d set a place for on Thanksgiving but start polishing the .45 if he made eyes at your sister. Yes, itâ€™s a borderline racist gimmick but I donâ€™t feel compelled to break out the camo gear and bowie knife each time he shambles down to the ring.
Perhaps I am in the wrong, as the popular opinion in my home that day was that such blatant racism in this day and age, ten months after Obama single-handedly ended it across the land (if the Huffington Post, New York Times and Nobel Prize Committee are any indication), is staggering.
As long as blacks are willing to send the entire race down the river for a few scraps of money and attention, I canâ€™t get angry at the companies for exploiting them. Yes, there is something horribly wrong with black culture, and it is in poor taste to use it for profit, but should we black people not hold our own to the same standard? Why is it honorable for 50 Cent (Gucci pellet guns tucked beneath his Fendi bulletproof vest) to brag, from the confines of his Massachusetts mansion of course, about drugs sold and souls hastened into the afterlife, but once a Disk Jockey besmirches a womanâ€™s basketball team, the gates of hell must open and swallow him whole? Why can blacks tap their foot to the latest rap video, champagne cascading down the ass crack of a well-built gutter rat, $60,000 chains and $100,000 watches winking under the stage lights (while a number of fellow black people toil like rats in the inner city) but are blind with rage the moment the puppeteer of this masquerade is revealed?
As a black man, I am not entitled to outrage each time Mami (Mama Benjamin) and Uncle Tom (Virgil, Kofi) are paraded before me, but as a wrestling fan I sure as shit am. Iâ€™ve had enough of the one-dimensional characters, scripted distractedly by a Hollywood hack while his Blackberry eagerly awaits a callback from According to Jim. I refuse to watch Shad and JTG saunter around the ring with a thug act that wouldnâ€™t pass muster in Killa Season or Baller Blockinâ€™, not because they are disgraceful (which they are) but because I have no reason to care whether they win, lose or die. Why should I? One reason Stone Cold Steve Austin succeeded was because he was a three-dimensional character. Sure, he tapped into our collective feeling of suicidal despondence, waking each morning to work for faceless corporations that care more for profit than their employeeâ€™s lives. But, we could also imagine Austin existing once the show ended. We could easily picture the man drinking at a Texas watering hole and inciting a brawl because he took offense to the way the bartender was â€œeyeballinâ€ him. Or riding his ATV around the ranch, a cooler of beer in the back. Same as I can envision Chris Jericho belittling a check-out girl for not bagging his groceries to his exact specifications Yet when creative is faced with creating a black character, they fall far short, settling on oversexed, violent, semi-retarded thieves.
No, Vince McMahon doesnâ€™t hate black people. Heâ€™s just too lazy to show any different.
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