Vince McMahon Doesn`t Care About Black People
by Daniel Douglas on October 21, 2009

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 – though the country clubs he is sure to frequent are not far off – 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 don’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 didn’t waste his time “reading” 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 didn’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 “ones”; safe meaning a Negro you’d set a place for on Thanksgiving but start polishing the .45 if he made eyes at your sister. Yes, it’s a borderline racist gimmick but I don’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 can’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 woman’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. I’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 wouldn’t pass muster in Killa Season or Baller Blockin’, 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 employee’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 “eyeballin” 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 doesn’t hate black people. He’s just too lazy to show any different.



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Daniel Douglas

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  • Bruce

    While your go-home line is most likely correct, I feel like this is more a criticism of the writing team as a whole as it relates to all characters than just to blacks. I mean, it’s not like Katie Vick was winning any storyline of the year awards, or the Eddie/Rey feud over Dominic was highbrow entertainment. Nor was Tajiri walking around with Torrie as a geisha girl, or Kaientai trying to choppy choppy Val Venis’ pee-pee.

    It seems like 90% of all characters are racist, and 100% of the midcard ones. So to single Vince out for having racist black characters is missing the forest for the trees in highlighting a small part of a more pervasive issue.

  • http://diehardgamefan.com MLKennedy

    “oversexed, violent, semi-retarded thieves” describes most wrestling characters in some way or another. Certainly, all wrestlers are violent.

    Why is there no mention of King Booker or The Rock in this column?

  • Buzz

    Hey,

    Just wanted to say this was excellently written. Kudos on a great article. I’m white, but I definitely agree. I don’t think they’ll ever push a non-mixed black man to champion, and I have no idea why Cryme Tyme is considered ok.

  • Tim

    I don’t disagree with your premise, but do with your examples. Kofi Kingston has been using that character since well before he joined the WWE. Cryme Time started out very very different when they debuted. They were evil, and devious.

    You are forgetting the characters that have been highly successful, portrayed by black wrestlers, such as the Rock, King Booker, as mentioned by ML Kennedy.

    And as Bruce says, ridiculous characters are not left solely to black wrestlers.

    They hate Asians, too! Do you think Funaki speaks pigeon English? Or that Yoshi Tatsu can’t speak at all? Jimmy Wang Yang is portrayed as a moron. Heck, even Khali. He’s either an evil unthinking brute, or a horny chubby chaser.

    What about Eugene? Or Jesse and Festus?

    No doubt, the writing team seeks the lowest base denominator, and makes broad generalizations and plays upon stereotypes. But they do so across the board.

  • Bo

    Wow this was the worst column I’ve ever read on this site

  • MW

    The differance about the The Rock and Booker is that they were fully fledged characters far before the current writing ‘team’ in WWE got together. If you remember, in 2004, when Booker was looking to confront the Undertaker’s evil powers of darkness, what mystical forces did he turn to? Voodoo. The source of all a black man’s evil powers.

    Hell, the closest they’ve come in recent years to a decent push for anyone that wasn’t white was the Boogeyman. The only black men with the company today that aren’t forced to parade themselves as some kind of ridiculous stereotype are Shelton Benjamin (though he had the unfortunate – obscenely racist -Big Mama period) and Mark Henry.

  • Damnurfine

    I think Crime Time got over because we (The non smark Fans) wanted them over and wouldn’t allow them to be effective heels. If they were better in the ring they’d be higher on the card. Kofi is a face and behaves very much like most vanilla faces do. Elijah Burke broke tons of steriotypes in ECW and should have been the face of the company before who knows what got him fired. I think creative sucks! but I don’t think they’re racist. They’re just not very good at their job.

  • Damnurfine

    And oh, yeah I’m very much urban black. I bought about 15 Elijah Burke Jakks figures trying to show the WWE his character had legs. The Fans did not support him. The IWC did not support him. The IWC rarely mentioned him on their Hottest prospect lists, like they did CM Punk (Who I really like and support also). E. Burke could/should be above where the Miz is right now, but the fans didn’t get behind him and his figure clogged the toy shelves while the Miz was a hot seller. The WWE is a company and eventually they get the point about characters. Cena sells, Crimetyme sells, Batista sells. Jericho doesn’t sell as much (he is my all time fav) but has undeniable wrestling talent. Kofi does not, Cryme Tyme do not. Really aside from E. Burke this argument should have revolved around Shelton, as he is among the most talented superstars and yet he’s floundered in mid card hell forever.

  • Damnurfine

    One of you IWC guys need to explain why E. Burke didn’t make it to me in the WWE. I’m hoping for Glazer, as I respect his opinion and often can follow his logic. I feel its mostly the fans and sales that get a guy over or cause him to fail. Cena is a money maker even when is character is vanilla and redundant, but the fans (paying fans, not guys who steal PPV off the net) still love him. These are the people (the fans) that should really be blaimed for not supporting the real talent, black or white. ALSO CAN WE KEEP POLITICS OFF THE WRESTLING FORUMS! PLEASE!! I can’t and wouldn’t force you to not do it, but damn it really undermines your opinion’s ability to pursuade. thanks

  • Ken B3

    Well yeah, all the black wrestlers get fitted with cheesy gimmicks or personalities (although Crime Time isn’t too far from many rappers) and the main event is really, really white. Seriously, Legacy is the whitest group ever, guess Manu and Sim didn’t fit, and then they feud with Cena and DX. I mean people say Shelton Benjamin isn’t charismatic enough, but he’s better on the mic than DiBiase and Rhodes, and he’s damn sure a better wrestler.

  • Aaron Glazer

    Thanks for the request. I’ll have the article up tomorrow.

  • Joe

    I enjoyed this article, but it’s an age old argument that never seems to be settled. Vince is not alone, and this time segment is not alone, either. For YEARS blacks have failed to be elevated above the mid card belts. Other than Booker, The Rock (slightly black) and Ron Simmons, think of the other World champions. They’re not there, and never have been.

    So aside from beating that dead horse, I’ll move on to this dead horse – Shelton Benjamin. He’s been one of their best wrestlers since day one of stepping into the ring, held the IC, US and Tag Titles numerous times, yet cannot get that push to the upper leagues. Not even for that piece of crap title strapped around Christian’s waist. Seriously, a feud with them could be golden (pun intended) but he’s stuck with Pale Skin McGillicutty.

    However, watching him attack Sheamus last night I thought that maybe he’ll get his one day, and when he does it will be huge. Maybe it’s good to have a guy fight and fight and fight for years instead of getting it all handed to him rather quickly, i.e. Orton, Cena and even everyone’s lover, Punk.

    But then again, maybe he’s a real A-hole behind closed doors. Who knows.

  • DGB

    Absolutely. “Lazy” hit the nail right on the head. Just as Cryme Time is a barely disguised reworking of “The Homeboy Shopping Network”, so is John Cena a parody of Jim Carrey’s Vanilla Ice parody.

    Clearly someone in Steph’s cadre of aspiring sitcom writers has a thing for 20 year old “In Living Colour” sketches.

  • Nigel Chaos

    DGB – one big difference though. I’d actually rather watch two hours of In Living Color.

  • David Brashear

    Joe – you also forgot the Junkyard Dog. While he didn’t do much title-wise in the WWF, he was one of Bill Watts’s major stars in Mid-South, even holding their main title four times (even if it wasn’t technically called a world title). In his book Watts talks about how he’d tried to build JYD up like that knowing that he had a large black audience in his territory. And the fans came out to support him.

    I just think it’s kind of crazy – Vince puts Rey Misterio on top on Smackdown because of how much it boosts the Latino viewership, and he can’t figure out how to do the same for the black audience. He’s even got a perfect guy to go to right now in MVP. The fans are behind him and all they’ve got to do is pull the trigger. But, like Daniel said, I doubt they will. Hopefully Burke will have a better shot now that he’s made the jump.

  • WhatTheHell

    Cause MVP isnt near the performer Rey Mysterio is and he isnt near as popular and the black community doesnt really follow MVP too much, and its no latinos that love Rey, its children and smarks, rRey has a great styyle and reputaion and he can live on reputaion alone but he is still one of the better performers out there. MVP is no where near what he was when he feuded with Chris Benoit, he has gotten lazy and hasnt evolved, he is sort of like Ken Kenedy, he had soo much potential but instead of getting better or improving he stays at the level he is at or gets lazy

  • Rob S.

    Just as a counter-argument concerning Rock and Booker:

    Rock was promoted as much (if not more) on his Samoan heritage. He also toed a very conservative, WASPy line early on like in the Wrestlemania promo with Genifer Flowers.

    Booker on the other hand played what could be considered a minstrel show – a black man adopting white characteristics for the amusement of the white audience.

    Additionally, TNA has actually had a black World Champion in Ron Killings, although it was with the NWA Title at the time. Nice shitstorm for this article, though.

  • WhatTheHell

    Rob S If your gonna make the argument that Booker T played a Black man with White characteristics to amuse the crowed is very racist. Cause in a sense your saying that Black people cant be Well spoken and a snob, when that is how most richer people in in England carry them self no matter the race….. But just as Racist, we would have to consider that John Cena plays a White guy who adapts Black characteristics to amuse the crowed and same argument goes for Jessie in Cryme Tyme……Hell Ill go further same thing goes for jJustin Timberlake….. I think this artical is out of line in a whole….. You dont like the way WWE is making Black people out to be then stop cheering and watching Cryme Tyme and buying there merchendise and start lobbying behind a more Dignfied Gimmick Such as the Gold Standered Shelthon Benjamen. No cause Black, Whites and all pop culture like the Gangsta attitude, Guns, Ebonics and poorly spoken Black men who talk/brag about stealing and breaking the law, There is a reason 50 Cent, Jay Z and Snoop Dog made a hell of alot a money. whens the last time you seen someone under the age of 40 Listening to a classy Dignfied Black man or woman on there Ipod? or a Good Song that actually means something from a Black Artist. Nope its all about hoes, Drinking, Drugs, Stealing and pouring 5,000 dollar champane botles on womens big asses…. So dont blame WWE, Dont blame Media, Blame everyone who wants it, Blame the Artist.

  • Brad Curran

    Where does Lashley and his massive push fit in?

  • http://pulsewrestling.com/author/vinnytruncellito/ Vinny Truncellito

    Another thought-inspiring piece. Vince has never been able to paint with shades of gray. Just observe how poorly Mark Copani’s Muhammad Hassan character was handled (and subsequently, Copani himself). Vince knows only stereotypes; racist, offensive, simple-minded, and rude.

    Spot on!

  • Tom

    I understand the point Mr. Douglas is trying to make here, even though I think he’s off point (as others have mentioned, it’s not really racism, so much as laziness, that is the root problem). The problem I have with this article is two-fold. One, it’s too angry to make it’s point dispassionately, therefore (for me) losing it’s ability to persuade and convince. Secondly, this, from the first paragraph: “It is racist not because Chairman Vince McMahon secretly attends Klan meetings under the cloak of night – though the country clubs he is sure to frequent are not far off – ”
    That’s ridiculous, as well as pure conjecture. It makes you sound like some kind of predjudiced person with an axe to grind, and I found myself thinking before I finished the article, that this guy is so biased he’s just going to use arguments and half-truths to support a premise he wants to be true, no matter what actual truth is.
    The talent the Mr. Douglas has led me to re-read the article itself, trying to take my own bias out of the reading, and while I don’t think this is anything approaching a hack job, I still think his passion and anger are overshadowing and dampening his talent, which is unfortunate.

  • Rob S.

    Where did I say Booker had to speak ebonics or that black men couldn’t be articulate? Booker adopted a faux-British accent and would switch back to ebonics when he got angry, with the implication being that he was still uncouth. He also played a stereotypically white version of royalty. I also don’t think many rich English “snobs” still act that way in this century.

    I don’t cheer Cryme Tyme or the “gangsta” image and I don’t have to justify what music is on my iPod because that doesn’t prove anything. There are many black artists today that rebuke that image ranging in styles from hip-hop (Common and The Roots) to rock (TV on the Radio) and beyond. That you can’t find anything beyond angry black stereotypes might be saying as much about you as it does the media because there are people that break that mold.

  • Ricardo Coleman

    Maybe, we should look at ourselves. This is about money, is it not? We are not putting any pressure on McMahon. I agree there are a lot of stereotypes, and I also agree that it is across the board, but its like the REAL WORLD, until we, who support and actually pay for these shows and events, put enough pressure on the WWE to change the script they are not going to change anything. This is BIG MONEY and the people who play these roles are doing it because they get paid for it. I don’t really belive that these are the ideal roles that they want but, where are the protest, the boycotts, the buycotts? Until we actually do something about it, we can’t expect anything other than what we are gettin.

  • http://pulsewrestling.com/author/vinnytruncellito/ Vinny Truncellito

    Tom,

    Lest you forget, this is an op-ed piece. DD’s passion and anger FUEL this column, rather than detracting from it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Ricardo,

    That’s true. As long as WWE fans continue to financially support the product, Vince won’t ever have to do anything other than what he wants to do. I’m proud to not be one of his customers anymore. It’s been about two years, and the indies have consistently provided the best wrestling action I could have hoped for.

  • Paul
  • Stephen
  • WhatTheHell

    ummm Rob S, I wasnt talking about you when it comes to the music and Cryme Tyme cheering comment. That was a theroy in general. I dont know you to make that statment, i was going by whats popular. The only thing i said about you is making the point that Booker T acting like a Rich English snob is not racist. Its like When Bobby Eaton or HHH had the same gimmick calling it racist against. its insane…. I think the R Truth Giimic is more racist then Kofi or Cryme Time, A black man that Raps and dances who came from the streets blah blah, That is a stereo Type. Kofi isnt a Stereo Type, i mean the fake accent is kinda dumb but he is more like a Islander which doesnt have noting to do with being black. Same Accent they gave Razor Ramon and They give Jamie Noble…….. now what i was commenting on is how dumb this artical is and Attacking WWE and prowrestling in genral, when they are much less stereo typed then Music, TV and Movies.

  • Tom

    Vinny,

    I did forget! Or rather I should say, I never thought of it quite like that. But I would simply say that, while his anger is palpable and justifiable, his column (and this is only my opinion, not inarguable fact) would be better served by tampering that anger. But I do see your point. I mean, I shouldn’t expect a dispassionate list of facts and figures.

  • Aaron Glazer

    My response column for Daniel and “damnurfine” – http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2009/10/21/a-modest-blog-on-the-wwe-not-hating-black-people/comment-page-1/#comment-13732

    Daniel, please do respond.

  • http://pulsewrestling.com/author/vinnytruncellito/ Vinny Truncellito

    Tom,

    Groovy. Glad you see my point, and I understand yours as well.

    Group hug! No, seriously – thanks for bringing an open mind to the table. That’s all I’d ever ask for.

  • Rob S.

    Whatthehell,

    Booker’s act could be viewed as racist as I already pointed out the similarities to the minstrel show. Part of the gimmick was that he was trying to hide his “thugness” under the cover of a prim and proper image of traditional white royalty but when he would get flustered or angry his inner thug would reemerge. This was supposed to be funny.

    Not only that but there’s a long tradition of African royalty. Why adopt aspects of an Anglo view of royalty? I’m not saying he can’t do it but it was done in a way that encouraged the audience to laugh at the character, not with him.

    I also realize you weren’t singling me out with the music comment but felt the need to point out that there are positive, successful black figures in entertainment.

  • WhatTheHell

    Rob S
    I have no doubth that There are plenty of positive Black people in entertainment… Forget positive, i just mean muscians that dont fit the Stereo Type Stealing black thug. But the problem is not the lack of talented Black people in music and television, not even lack of black Charecters that dont fit the Stereo Type, Its the Lack of intrest people have for Black people that dont behave that way…. and everyone Falls in that catagory from whites to even blacks……. and i dont see how Booker T was ever potrayed as a Thug in WWE. Maybe in WCW but never did he come off as a thug on WWE TV to me…. Sure he came off as stupid and unintelligent but that was for him giving the stupidest answers on the Howard Stern show and failing to answer the simplest questions, i dont think it was a knock on black people……Booker T was always made out to be a Decorated Champion, sure he was booked in stupid skits and Angles, Sure they were degrading in some ways, but they were degrading in general, had nothing to do with Race. It showed that Booker T was pretending to be Royality and the King of the Ring went to his head and at times the real Booker would come out, not a stereo Typpe Black Man.

  • http://www.theserioustip.com Jordi

    I was completely and utterly not impressed with this article. You took 2 stereotypes and made a blanket statement. It’s not that WWE doesn’t care about Black People, maybe they just don’t care about the black demographic enough to push a black champion who is realistic. And why should they, from a financial perspective? They are making hand over fist with the current model. It’s just like Hollywood in the 70s and 80s. And to a point even now. Name a leading African-American actor, besides Denzel, who Hollywood allows to carry a serious movie.
    This is a black culture problem and an American social problem, not a WWE problem. WWE is only a reflection of American entertainment. They don’t create trends, only exploit them.

  • Grut

    Jamie Foxx. The Rock. Samuel L. Jackson. The highest paid movie star in the world, Will Smith. Mos Def.

    Maybe it’s not Hollywood who believes you can’t make money off an African American leading man. Maybe it’s you and the WWE. Anyone who says Denzel Washington is the only leading man black actor has a problem.

  • Kevin

    Cryme Time is hardly the most embarassing black act in WWE/F. What about Saba Simba, Kamala, or The Slickster? Hell, why not go with a role given to a white man pretending to portray an African man (with a boombox), Akeem?

  • http://www.theserioustip.com Jordi

    Grut
    I will cede you Will Smith and Jaime Foxx, but not Mos Def and The Rock (who is mixed and therefore “safe”). However, Will Smith and Jaime Foxx did not get their start in serious roles, Denzel did. Even Lawrence Fishburne had to cut his teeth on Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Foxx and Smith are no different from a wrestler who had to pay their dues as midcards or embarrassing gimmicks. Do not try to say In Living Color or the Fresh Prince were serious roles. Samuel L. Jackson has become a gimmick of himself.

    Ok, now name a serious black leading actor from the 70s and 80s. Maybe Billy D Williams?

    The WWE is trailing Hollywood in this respect. Not considering the fine arts and theater (which I know little about), the only entertainment venues that I know of that are “pro-black” in acceptance are sports and music.

  • Daniel Douglas

    For the love of everything holy, I can’t believe there have been so many comments.

    Further to my article, I don’t think Vince dislikes black people. He’s old, he’s out of touch and worst of all, he’s stubborn.

    The wrestling landscape has moved from underneath his feet but instead of shifting with it, he’s driven a stake in the ground to prevent it from moving further.
    He has it in his head what wrestling should be and is defiantly sticking to it, even if it means pissing people off. Because let’s face it, wrestling is a specialized product, with very loyal fans. If you like wrestling, you have no choice but to watch two hours of crap and hope for a fleeting moment of enjoyment.

    Call me crazy but I think if TNA hadn’t have lost confidence in their product and began imitating (poorly I might add) the outdated McMahon model, they’d be breathing down the WWE’s neck right now.

  • scott m

    Kevin:
    In fairness, Kimala was around long before he joined up with the WWE. I believe it was Bill Watts who first came up with the gimmick in the Mid-South. Or maybe Jarrett/Lawler in Memphis. But he was wrestling as Kimala (and making good $$$ at it) for the better part of a decade before he ever stepped in a WWF ring.

    Now bringing that back on topic, I don’t think Kimala tells us anything about Vince McMahon’s feelings towards African-Americans.

    I think what’s missing from this discussion are the fans and the business. Wrestling fans are predominantly white or hispanic. Pitching an African-American champion to them is a harder sell than a white or hispanic champion. That’s just demographics.

    But it’s also a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. By downplaying African-Americans (which I don’t think the WWE is doing), fewer African-Americans are going to connect with the WWE and tune in. Which forms a feedback loop, whereby African-Americans are not given a push to the top because, frankly, it’s easier to sell Rey Mysterio, John Cena or HHH to the existing demographic.

    And I really do think the WWE is trying to make inroads to the African-American audience. They’ve pushed Cryme Tyme, Bobby Lashley, Elijah Burke, Kofi Kingston, Ezekiel Jackson and others just over the past few years. For a long time the only backstage presence familiar to WWE fans (besides Vince McMahon) on any WWE show was Teddy Long — not Pat Patterson or whitey-mcwhite Bob Backlund.

    If someone like Ezekiel Jackson could find a way to resonate with the existing fans, I’m certain that the WWE would throw a strap on him in a heartbeat. For them, African-Americans are an untapped market. Case in point, Shelton Benjamin: Talented? Yes. Capable of bigger and better? No doubt. But Benjamin has still cashed in on gimmicks and screen-time long after he would have been future-endeavored had he been anything but African-American. When’s the last time anyone’s seen Charlie Haas? Or Carlito?

    But I think we have to view this from a business angle. Not merely a racial angle — which is where I think this article falls short.

    More African-Americans watching = More $$$ for the WWE. Does anyone dispute that the WWE is interested in their bottom line?

    I think the problems we’re talking about are difficulties that the WWE is having reconciling their desire to build their African-American fanbase while still creating a star their existing demographic will “buy”.

    Ironically, if the “Sports” end of the spectrum were emphasized (as opposed to the “Entertainment” side), this would be much less of an issue for the WWE. The ebb-and-flow of sports creates its own drama. And it would be far easier to create a “Denzel Washington” style of character using that paradigm than it ever will be via skits and poor acting.

    For example, Bobby Lashley was getting over incredibly well until he started talking on a mic.

    Then he just sounded like a My Little Pony. And the Goldbergesque-illusion created around him was shattered.

    Forever.

  • scott m

    Daniel:
    Amen on that last post. Vince definitely has a vision of “what wrestling is”. And, unfortunately, he has decades of success against the territories and WCW to back him up.

    And I don’t mean that sarcastically. I’ve read accounts of that being the ultimate wall upon which any idea Vince disagrees with is flung. A creative glass ceiling, if you will.

    He won. And there ya go.

    And I fully agree that he’s hidebound and hindering what could be a truly amazing period in wrestling history.

    And regarding the number of comments, I think most wrestling fans are aware of the dramatic skew in the demographics of their pastime. I think the article, or at least the title, probably hit their panic buttons.

    I only joined in because I wanted to set the record straight on Kimala (at first).

    If anything’s going to change, it will have to be the fans driving it. If fans react negatively to stupid, out-dated and offensive stereotypes, like Cryme Tyme or Kofi Kingston, then we’ll see less and less of them.

    Just think about Tatanka. We see anymore “indian chiefs” after him?

    But as long as people respond “as expected” to Shad/JTG, Kofi and others. We’ll keep seeing more and more. The bottom line will merely reflect that the WWE is giving the fans what they want. Further justifying giving us more.

  • Aaron Glazer

    So the last few comments are saying this week’s South Park had it right about wrestling.

  • http://pulsewrestling.com/author/vinnytruncellito/ Vinny Truncellito

    “If you like wrestling, you have no choice but to watch two hours of crap and hope for a fleeting moment of enjoyment.”

    DD,

    Wrong. You DO have a choice if you REALLY like wrestling. I did what you suggest above for years, and almost quit watching ALL wrestling forever. But now I have found nearly 100% satisfaction from the indies. Since I deserted the immature, silly world of the televised “big league” promotions I haven’t once felt the frustration of a fan trying to bide his time and wait out the crap to get to the good stuff.

  • What The Hell

    i dont understand what Black Wrestler in or out of the WWE do you guys think needs to or deserves to be Champion….. R Trtuh? MVP? Homicide? please noo way none of them deserves to be any where near championship main events cause they havent proven them self……ROH Never had a Black Champ…. TNA has never pushed a Black wrestler, R Truth they gave the title too for no reason, but now that there big name 1 black male wrestler there pushing? none. One Black guy and he is rip off of a old White mans Gimmick (jay lethal) and he isnt even pushed…. Booker T they jobbed out and they treated all WWE rejects great besides Booker T…… so why is WWE pin pointed

  • ROHFemBot

    What the Hell,

    I’m not sure why you mentioned Homicide here.

    A) He is Puerto Rican (what did you think LAX was all about?).

    B) He was ROH world champion and FIP heavyweight champion.

  • Jomo Basoga

    First off this is nothing new. For over the past 25 years we’ve seen the most vile of racial stereotypes in the former WWF.

    Think of how every Samoan was a non-speaking, moaning and groaning “savage.” Or how about Kamala who was given likewise treatment–a belly smacking Ugandan mute who likewise moaned like an infantile beast.
    It wouldn’s surprise me if Kamala is actually Chuck Thompson from the South Side of Chicago. And how about the original Stone Cold Steve Austin–Bad News Brown, who wasn’t from Harlem but from Canada.

    The same with Booker T. who was intially part of the tag team, Harlem Heat, with his supposed brother Stevie Ray. Sounds familiar–Booker T (Booker T & the MG’s) and Stevie Ray (as in Stevie Ray Vaughn)–both legendary blues/R&B artists. Truth is Booker T’s not from Harlem but Houston.

    As if every Black wrestler at that time had to be from Harlem or some supposed ghetto.

    And lest we forget the jive jheri-curled part time pimp/preacher/wrestling manager Slick. The loud-mouthed showboat Koko-B Ware, the Mandingo-esque Ahmed Johnson or the faux militant Nation of Islam hybrid, The Nation of Domination.

    Remember Papa Shongo, the demon high priestess who just a year or so later was transformed into “pimpin’ ain’t easy”?

    It’s either you’re a pimp, savage beast, preacher, showboat, militant, or thug as is the case with the current Crime Time tag team.

  • Mike

    TNB

  • WhatTheHell

    ROHFemBot

    Really? i thought someone said he was Black before, i assumed he was half Black i guess and half Puerto Rican….. and the part of him being main event material. Can you really see Homice going to WWE and being a main eventer right now? i mean he is no where near ready for a TNA and for sure WWE title run or main event push… but yeah that was pretty dumb of me thinking he was Black.

  • kristin

    The fact that the WWE has rejected and spit in the face of overwelming PC madness is quite appealing surely.

  • http://pulsewrestling.com/author/vinnytruncellito/ Vinny Truncellito

    WhatTheHell,

    Homicide was a big deal in RoH/FIP for a while. He didn’t need to “go to WWE” to be a main event guy.

    There’s far more to professional wrestling than Vince McMahon’s personal playground.

  • Pingback: Can Kharma Crush Stereotypes in Women’s Wrestling? | Adios Barbie

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