The whole debate regarding whether race should be in angles is once again a major topic. I guarantee you, every time racism is used in an angle like this, even though in decreasing amounts of severity, it sparks more interest each time. Racism in wrestling angles has been around forever, the weird thing being that when blatant stereotypes and racism became passé in American culture, there was no similar disappearance in wrestling.
The answer is not for debate, it all depends on how it materializes itself in the shows. Chief proponents of using touchy subjects in wrestling say it’s no different from shows like Law and Order addressing similar topics. Such an argument, which has been used here, was also used to defend the marriage of Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo, HLA, or mock necrophilia. Billy and Chuck was a cheap publicity stunt with no resemblance to any serious attempt to address gay marriage; HLA objectified women with no class or artistic value; HHH pretending to have sex with a cadaver was meant to shock, entertain, and offend. Those have absolutely no comparison to a popular crime drama that through the executive and judicial branch of the American government – along with the rhetoric and seldom-vague cynicism of each character, attempt to address moral issues that plague society. One has a track record of treating serious issues, another tends to paint sloppy pictures and classify characters inappropriately – in the process drawing characters thin and lethargically. Even when Vince McMahon prided himself on creating a drama separate from good-evil, black-white – he was just tooting his horn, as he fell into the same category as before with Austin feuds.
In WWE, Booker T is portrayed just as Hunter described him. When I watch RAW and see Booker T, I don’t see a positive image of a black male face or a good heel. What I do see, is Booker doing exactly what he’s accused of doing, a polar opposite to when he was a serious WCW champion amidst times that were anything but respectable. He’s a joke. In WCW, he was articulate, immaculate, and respectable champion. Now he is a laughing, dancing, joking, non-serious, under-achieving nigger. The only difference between him and Slick is that there has been no vignette in KFC yet.
Perhaps it’s hard for some of you to understand why what I just said is important but you probably don’t have a grasp of how hateful recent years have been on Black people. Most of you are young, or could care less but if you want to examine this issue you have to understand what this country has been and where it has to go.
Booker T has been weak in response. His protagonistic responses to HHH were nothing to prove he’s above that. At first all he said was something to the effect of “perhaps you’re right, but I’m still going to kick your ass”. He is not getting over and if he becomes champion his weak lead-in to the biggest PPV of the year will be a big part of it.
I firmly belive (sic) they are not insulting their fans or the wrestlers in conducting this angle and since I have not heard any voices of disapproval from organized sources (NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH coalition, Congressional Black Caucus, politicians, etc.), wrestlers involved in the angle, or the fans themselves, I say let it go. Supplementally, I’ve received emails from African American readers that say they have no problem with the angle and are actually interested to see how it plays out.
You haven’t heard any voices of disapproval because none of those organizations monitor professional wrestling consistently, in fact, few do. The voices of disapproval have come from within WWE and insulted fans. You ignore a good portion of fans who *were* in fact, insulted.
White people get just as many lame gimmicks as black,latino,asian, etc. do.
– Mike Coughlin
Does that make it any better? Not at all. There is a difference between lame and something as important as race and oppression. To trivialize such issues is insulting to me personally.
Overall, addressing race, religion, and politics need be off limits in wrestling considering WWE’s substandard track record. If they can prove that they can handle such an angle with dignity and class then by all means they should do it. The homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, and racism within the WWE needs to end. They have crossed a line.
Trevor’s note: After I originally wrote this column (before WrestleMania), I decided not to publish it for a few reasons. But in light of the result of WrestleMania, I think I will and let you mull it over. Please be sure to send feedback and comments to THunnicutt@aol.com or email@example.com and include your name.
What do you think? Head over to The X-Forums to let your opinion be heard!
– E-mail feedback to THunnicutt@aol.com
– Read more of Figure Four Leglock!