Around the time of the 2016 presidential election, I became more aware of certain political and social issues, as it was my first time voting in an election. The blatant racism on display during the election (not naming names, but you know what I'm talking about) made me start to notice racism in things I enjoyed in my spare time, such as wrestling and gaming. As a black wrestling fan since 2006, I started to realize that the WWE can be extremely racist.
What made me realize this was the now infamous Hulk Hogan n-word controversy, which you can read in full here. Hogan decided to not only drop the n-word a few times, but he literally called himself a racist. Why he decided to say this after having sex with his former best friend's wife, I'll never understand.
When this got out on the internet, I felt vindicated in a way. I started watching wrestling long after Hogan was around and never became a fan because I thought he was really lame. Now I had an even better reason to not like him.
Of course, not everyone felt this way. There was plenty of "Black people need to get over it," "SJW," and my personal favorite, "As a black man, Hogan did nothing wrong" comments. Hogan did end up "apologizing," but his apology was very vague and never straight up addressed the fact that he said he is a racist. The WWE ended up cutting ties with Hogan, which was very hypocritical (more on that later) and the right thing to do.
So WWE doing this meant they were taking a stand against racism, right? Not at all, since they decided to bring him back this year at WWE Crown Jewel. Of course, they weren't bold enough to bring him out in the United States. They do it in a country that wouldn't care if he hates black people.
Not all wrestlers in WWE were accepting of Hogan's return. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E, also known as "The New Day," released a statement which unlike Hogan's apology, actually addressed the issue head-on. The New Day had their own experience with racism over two years ago when this picture of all the black champions in WWE with the caption "#BlackExcellence" was posted on Twitter.
As you can imagine, certain people took issue with that hashtag and couldn't keep their racism to themselves. The first response to the tweet is the typical "But if it were white people this would still be racist." Kofi Kingston had to release a statement explaining that it was meant to be inspirational in an effort to quell the keyboard racists, but it didn't work. The first tweet replying to his Tweet read, "I can't believe that black people still think they have something to prove after Obama became president in 2009! Get over it!"
It is very disheartening as a black fan to know that WWE is filled with so many racists, both fans and wrestlers alike, as I watch to try and escape those types of people. This behavior is rampant not only in WWE but in the industry as a whole. It will continue to occur because like in reality, blacks are a minority in the wrestling world. Unless an influx of black people join the industry, which I doubt will happen, wrestling will be what it has always been: a white man's sport.