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Al Sharpton and the WWE – A RAW Hypocrisy

Al SharptonRev. Al Sharpton will be tonight’s WWE RAW Guest Host. Sharpton will look past fifty years of racist of WWE booking and pro wrestling for a little television time tonight. Al will be working with a company that has promoted racial stereotyping for years. Who’s next week’s WWE Guest Host, Gloria Steinem?

I try to keep my politics out of my blogs. However, Vince McMahon has made it easy for me to mix them up on the ccb. My first memories of Al Sharpton was the Tawana Brawley story as a teenager. Ever since that time I never took the good Reverend seriously. Sharpton introduced that same hypocrisy to the new generation last year when he went after Barack Obama.

The guy is a fraud in my opinion and has been nothing but a television and publicity whore. By appearing on WWE RAW, he has truly taken the cake of selling out his “reputation” for a little television time. I have watched WWE programming most of my life. This may not be an overtly racist company, but this is not a company that respects racial equality. Bad News Brown/Allen must be turning over in his grave.

In my lifetime alone, I can think of several deeply racist storylines that the WWE has produced. Here are just a few reasons why it is a complete joke that Al Sharpton would have anything to do with the WWE or Vince McMahon.

1 – Roddy Piper WrestleMania VI. Roddy Piper wrestled Bad News Brown at WrestleMania VI. The two started a feud and it culminated at the big event. To promote the match, Roddy started painting himself half black. Piper began wrestling in half-black makeup and attempting to act black in the ring. Bad News Brown himself was disgusted and was extremely outspoken about the angle following his WWE career.

2 – Virgil. It wasn’t too long ago where an African-American named Virgil was booked to be something of a slave to a rich white man. The Ted DiBiase-Virgil act played to thousands of WWE fans throughout the late 1980s. It wasn’t coincidence that Virgil was a black man.

3 – Sweet Sapphire. Remember Sweet Sapphire and Dusty Rhodes? Sapphire was a large black woman who used to accompany and later team with Dusty Rhodes in the WWE. Sapphire didn’t look just like Aunt Jemima by coincidence. WWE commentators at the time often made many racial stereotypes and remarks about her. One comment came ironically from Roddy Piper who during SummerSlam 1990 made a remark about Sapphire eating too many pancakes.

4 – Momma Benjamin. It was only three years ago WWE produced a character called Momma Benjamin. Momma was the on-air mother of WWE star Shelton Benjamin. Momma was the stereotypical older African-American mother. While she wasn’t much different than anything Martin Lawrence or Tyler Perry portrayed, it was definitely racially motivated. Where did she go anyway?

5 – DX mocking the Nation of Domination. Remember Mizark? Degeneration X came out for a promo dressed up as members of the Nation of Domination. Sean Waltman dressed up as Mark Henry. Waltman painted himself black and did the worst imitation of Fat Albert you could imagine. This was a very low moment in WWE history.

6 – WWE Vice President Michael Hayes is suspended for making racial remarks to Mark Henry. This was an outside of the ring incident. However, former WWE star Bobby Lashley reportedly left the WWE after similar incidents with Hayes. Hayes is the Vice President of the Creative Department. Hayes reportedly used the “n-word” to several wrestlers including Mark Henry. Mark Henry reported the incident and Hayes was suspended for 60 days. Many ex-WWE stars in addition to Lashley claim that this was common practice from the WWE V.P. of creative.

I can go on and on (Akeen, Slick, Kamala) but you get the point. This is not a company that ever considered racial relations in their storylines or booking. Ask the WWE how many African-American WWE champions they have had? The Rock and that is it. The irony of that is that when The Rock was the WWE champion, it was never acknowledged he was black. The WWE did more to promote his Samoan heritage than his African-American roots. Racial equality in the WWE, well you decide.

Let’s just hope Al checks his NAACP card at the door when he walks into the creative meting tonight. Al Sharpton is a hypocrite. He should truly be ashamed of himself by appearing on WWE RAW tonight.

I wonder how proud Bobby Lashley and Mark Henry are feeling about Al’s appearance tonight.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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