Why are minority wrestlers "grill-wearing, thuggish B-listers?"


#1

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#2

Does anyone remember "KAMALA the Ugandan Giant"? He just stared off camera and groaned and grunted...that was pretty damn racist. But then there was Koko B-Ware: he danced around with a high leg kick...he was a likable guy...and had a macaw on his shoulder, and spoke with an accent...I suppose that was pretty racist too.

But racial stereotypes have been part of the industry for many years: The Iron Sheik? Mr Fuji with his Odd-Job bowler hat and thick Japanese accent...The Bolsheviks? The Bushwhackers? The Orient Express? It's the nature of the medium...

You want a True Black Champion: he'll need the size of Andre, the physique of the Ultimate Warrior, the populism of Hogan, the charisma of the Rock...and the best moves of all of 'em. It's not fair....but neither is the real world.


#3

I think it's the nature of the owners, and to a degree the audience too. Wrestling was big in Athens, but they didn't dress up as cartoon Cyrenians.


#4

I'm not sure you should blame the fans. This past April I attended Wrestlemania and RAW, and the crowd was probably the most diverse I have ever experienced at a live event. It's not the fault of the fans that the owners are slow to evolve.

Wrestling is kind of like live-action super hero comics, and it relies on broadly painted archetypes. Unfortunately for years these have been based on racial and ethnic stereotypes. This has improved, but there is still a long way to go. The shows are still written by old white dudes, and until they get more diversity in their writing team, they are not going to do justice to their minority performers.


#5

With Leather already dealt with the glaring, unforgivable oversight to this piece here:

http://uproxx.com/prowrestling/2014/07/breaking-the-rock-isnt-black-anymore-according-to-the-atlantic/

I look forward to future pieces of similar merit, such as "why haven't there been any black winners of Wimbledon?" and "how come there's never been a German NBA Finals MVP?" and and "how come there aren't any female NASCAR drivers named Danica?"


#6

Does Dwayne Johnson's African/Samoan heritage not count?

EDIT: i somehow missed the paragraph where they mention him.


#7

I'm just old enough to miss Andy Kaufman.


#8

Completely different thing- Greek wrestling was a competitive sport. Modern wrestling is scripted entertainment.

Well, technically, I suppose it's a sport- But more of an exhibition sport like cheerleading or bodybuilding. There's some pretty impressive physical feats involved, but it's really just about the presentation- So, anything that creates spectacle....


#9

A soap opera starring acrobats.


#10

Still, I don't like how they were dismissive of this fact because it didn't fit exactly with their thesis. The fact that the Rock was wildly popular and was world champion at some point is a bright note in an otherwise dismal place. The place is still dismal.

Obama being president doesn't change the racism that many ordinary Americans face every day, but we can acknowledge the problem without pretending he doesn't count.

Rather than answering, "I have one conflicting data point so you are wrong," with "This is why your data point is an exception we shouldn't count," I wish people would use, "Yes, there is a lot of variation and not everything fits into one neat narrative, but I don't think that's fatal to my overall case."


#11

I remember all those guys! Also, Junk Yard Dog:

I didn't know he had died.

You'd think the stereotyping thing would have gotten better now, but it seems like, at least the way the author describes it, it's gotten worse, or more entrenched?

SOMEONE WRITE A DISSERTATION ABOUT THIS PLEASE!!!


#12

From what I can tell, it was a hastily added addendum after the author was called on that very fact.


#13

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