Monday, August 29, 2011

Negative White Stereotypes in WWE

By Brian Phelps

I know that many wrestling fans believe that the WWE is racist, particularly toward minorities. There has NEVER been an African-American WWE Champion (The Rock was 1/2 Samoan and 1/2 black and he clearly resembles his Samoan side, and Booker T won the Old WCW Belt aka Smackdown's World Heavyweight Championship). Also, many people feel that Vince McMahon portrays minorities in a negative light often portraying them as criminals, thugs, and thieves but I'll get into that in my next blog. However, for all minorities that believe that Vince McMahon portrays them in a negative light... keep in mind that he doesn't just do it with minorities. There have been several white characters in WWE history that portray whites in a negative or ignorant fashion. In this blog post, I intend to point out several white wrestling characters in WWE history that portrayed white people in a negative light.

"Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase

Ted Dibiase was a very controversial character, and many fans and wrestling historians actually perceive the Million Dollar Man as a racist character. His servant Virgil (who was black) was constantly verbally and physically abused by his rich white boss Dibiase. He made Virgil carry his bags, and would make Virgil pick things up off the floor for him. It was very symbolic of rich white men treating blacks like they were beneath them. He dehumanized Virgil and treated him like he was beneath him. Virgil was essentially a modern day slave. In one segment, Dibiase brought a black child on stage and asked him to bounce a ball and he would pay the kid. Right as the kid was about to finish, Dibiase kicked the ball out of the black child's hands and told the little boy that's life and you don't get paid for not finishing the job and laughed in the boys face. He even paid off Native American Tatanka to betray and dishonor his people. Even though I'm a big Ted Dibiase fan, I do believe the Million Dollar Man was a totally racist character. Outside of being a racist character, Dibiase was a scum bag who thought he could bribe his way out of trouble. He was the typical rich white racist who bought his way out of trouble.


Skinner was a tobacco spitting, flannel wearing, backwoods "crocodile hunter"... The guy just looks like those racist guys you see in the movies. Anyways, he was always talking about skinning boys alive. This guy is kind of creepy to be honest.

The Bushwhackers

The Bushwhackers were an ignorant unintelligent white tag team, who were also kind of backwoods guys (you know camouflage pants etc). They would lick each other and their opponents, and do other kinds of odd unintelligent things. They were very popular with the fans.

Hillbilly Jim

Hillbilly Jim was another face who was real popular during the 1980s. However, his actual gimmick was an overalls wearing hillbilly. If that's not a racist white stereotype I don't know what is. However, Jim had a heart of gold and I always enjoyed him growing up no matter how unrealistic he portrayed the average white person.

The Godwinns

The Godwinns were another couple of guys similar to Hillbilly Jim. They often fought in Slop Matches and were often portrayed as dumb and stupid rednecks.


Not only was Rico a negative white stereotype, but he was also a negative gay stereotype. Like every gay white guy has to be a flashy fashion diva who wears glitter. For an example of an average gay guy, see Neil Patrick Harris.

The Brooklyn Brawler

Portrayed lower class whites in a bad light. He was dirty, greasy, had holes in his clothes, and looked like a mechanic.

In closing, there have been several negative White stereotypes over the years as well as negative Black, Asian, and Mexican stereotypes. I think though that the defining difference is that even negative White characters were never portrayed as thugs, criminals, witch doctors, petty thieves, or lawn mowing illegal immigrants. They are usually never oppressed in the same ways as some of the minority characters such as Virgil were. They have been portrayed as racists, dumb, ignorant, backwoods, trailer trash. I could've gone on and mentioned Jamie Noble's trailer trash gimmick among others, but I think I've made my point.

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