Black History Month: Is WWE More Racially Diverse Now Than Ever Before?
The WWE is more racially diverse then it has ever been before, but does that mean that there are more racial stereotypes or is it actual diversity?
The truth meets somewhere in the middle.
There is an eclectic mix of wrestlers who are of different race and ethnicity, but part of wrestling is to make wrestlers into characters.
Santino Marella is an Italian stereotype from Milan, but Anthony Carelli, who portrays Marella, is from Ontario, Canada.
Kofi Kingston was originally billed from Jaimaica and had the corresponding accent, though he was allowed to use his real birth place of Ghana after a while. He also dropped the accent.
Even fighters like Mason Ryan are billed from Cardiff, Wales while hailing from Tremadog.
The WWE is more racially diverse, but at the same time they are trying to sell wrestlers as characters and personas. That means limiting the type of traits wrestlers might have.
On a topical level, the wrestlers the WWE employs are vast and from varied places. On a marketing level, the WWE has a ways to go.
They have started to get better like making Kingston's character Ghanian and letting him have an American accent.
The same goes for David Otunga acting like the Harvard graduate he is.
At the end of the day, being racially diverse means letting people of all colors just be like anyone else.
Is that a little cheesy? Maybe. In fact, it probably is one of the more trite things that could be said.
That doesn't make it any less true or lessen its impact. The WWE does need characters, but instead of trying to force wrestlers like Sin Cara or Alberto Del Rio down fans' throats, the process should be organic.
Neither wrestler has fit into the shoes of Rey Mysterio or to an even greater extent, Eddie Guerrero.
That is because even though there are ethnic differences in race, it changes depending on which person the company shows. There will be those who produce a more stereotyped image, and then there will be wrestlers who break the mold.
As long as they are given a free rein to do what they want, the WWE will not only be a better, more racially-diverse place, it will have a better product.
Racial diversity is a great thing if it is a natural occurrence. That isn't ever going to happen in wrestling. Everything about the business is a little off, but that is why fans love it.
And it would evolve the WWE from a company that is somewhat diverse into one that really is.
Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report. He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.
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