Professional wrestling is the place where casual racism can live happily ever after. For eons, the house that Vince McMahon built has been able to turn a dehumanizing rally into highly profitable entertainment. Just recently, the happy-go-lucky rapping wrestler R-Truth went the stereotypical “Angry Black Man” route to make his heel turn. His constant complaints about the man keeping him down while occasionally puffing a square took him from lukewarm, mid-card wrestler to ultra-hot, main-event status overnight. This kid best sums up our thoughts on that:
But this isn’t the first time the WWE has used cringe-worthy stereotypes in their programming.
1. Ted Dibiase: Slave Master?
We don’t know if the WWE just assumed we were unable read between the lines, but they sure did spell out the “rich white man” and “poor black slave” angle in this interview with Ted Dibiase and his “valet” Virgil. They could have left out the polishing shoes part. They could’ve left out the whole thing, actually.
2. John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Illegal Aliens
JBL was a right-wing wrestler, and he truly drove that point home when he bashed illegal immigrants while camping out on the Mexican border. But when he literally kicked them back across the line, our jaw just dropped.
3. Rowdy Roddy Piper Talks Soul Food With Teddy Atlas
Rowdy Roddy Piper has never been one to shy away from controversy, but this segment of Piper’s Pit with Tony Atlas was surreal on so many levels. Let’s just start with Piper asking Atlas if he eats soul food to get big and strong. Then we can move on to Atlas saying “I sho’ do eat fried chicken and chitterlings.” To top it off, Piper grabs for the low-hanging fruit and tosses in a watermelon joke.
4. Mexicools aka “The Lawnmower Men”
These Mexican wrestlers ride into the ring on lawnmowers, because Mexicans are always gardeners, you see.
5. Booker T Learns His Role From Triple H
When Booker T and Triple H entered into a feud before Wrestlemania, HHH cut this promo ripped straight out of one of those after-school specials about racism. Not only does HHH ask Booker T to entertain him and “do a little dance for me” because “that’s what he does,” he further drives the point home by saying that Booker’s job is to make people like him laugh. Oh yeah, that nappy hair line? Don Imus would be proud. After all that you’d think the WWE would let the good black man prevail over the evil white man and win the title. Nope. He lost.
6. It’s Cryme Tyme!
“Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo! Pop a 40 and check your Roly. It’s Cryme Time!” What dude? Really? From the bulletproof vests to the petty larceny, everything was wrong with this gimmick. Everything.
7. Slick’s A “Jive Soul Bro”
From the first seconds when the camera pulls back to reveal manager/pimp Slick chewing on a greasy piece of chicken, you know things are about to get racist. This was actually a part of a series of music videos, and Slick’s “Jive Soul Bro” embodied the entire “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” barrel of stereotypes.
8. Shelton Benjamin Mocks Asian Wrestler
We’re not sure what’s worse, Benjamin threatening to call Godzilla on Asian wrestler Yoshi Totsu, or the fact that the audience laughs at this ill-mannered and unfunny mockery. Starting at the 1:50 mark, it’s downright embarrassing to watch.
9. “Hulk Hogan, We Comin’ For You, N***a!”
Talk about passion! Booker T must have really been feeling it when he cut this promo challenging fan favorite Hulk Hogan. As the Harlem Heat, Booker T and Stevie Ray were the hood’s finest wrestling tag team. They really embraced that stereotype when Booker let the dreaded N-word slip on air.
10. Vince McMahon Drops The N-Word
Unlike Booker T, Vince McMahon made no mistake when he cut this promo on an episode of Raw. After exchanging pleasantries with John Cena (“What’s good in the hood?” he asks), the WWE chairman gives Cena a handshake and barks “Keep it up, my n***a!” And who’s there to catch Vinny Mac delivering that line? You guessed it: Booker T.