I’m pretty sure this isn’t news, but I have a feeling it’s going to be covered that way. It’s a story concerning the WWE, as in World Wrestling Entertainment. Take it with an entire shaker of salt.
The story concerns wrestler Jordan Myles of the NXT division of the WWE. If you don’t know what that means, don’t even fret, it’s really a very minor detail. In order to promote wrestlers, the WWE has wrestler merchandise. Most wrestlers do these days. Jordan’s, as I understand it, first shirt contains a logo he designed himself, and did approve the logo, that looks vaguely like a big red mouth with the name “Jordan Myles” in white looking vaguely like teeth, thus making the Myles / Smiles rhyme. Honestly, I have no idea who this guy is but I guess that’s his thing.
The problem comes from a Tweet, as many things do these days, about the shirt being racist… and it comes from Albert Christian Hardie Jr., or as he’s known in the WWE ring, Jordan Myles himself. Albert/Jordan has dark skin and could quite possibly be of African American descent. I’m just now finding out he exists so bear with me if I haven’t hacked his “Ancestry.com” account. The problem is that the design of the shirt, big red mouth with white letters was shown online on a black shirt. Well, that is clearly racist claims a lot of the planet inspiring the hashtag, #ForTheCulture.
Admittedly, that’s not the first thing I saw. The first thing I saw was a horrific design for the logo. It just looks bad. I design a lot of logos so that’s where I went first. Then, I saw the problem with it, or more accurately, read the problem with it. The red mouth on the black shirt is being considered “blackface,” as in Al Jolson – and if you don’t know that reference, look it up.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I agree with it being a blackface reference. It’s a horrible logo that happens to be on a black shirt. Would we have the same issue if it were on, say, a white shirt? Is it racist against white people or would that still be considered racist against black people because the “black” wrestler’s logo is on a white shirt? What if the shirt was yellow? Would it be against Asians? Red against Native Americans? Green against… Orions? Yes, that last one is a silly Star Trek reference but it’s on the way to making one of my points. If it were my shirt, I think I would be more worried about the terrible logo and worry about the shirt color later.
Also, are we really surprised if it was some racist maneuver by the WWE? The WWE has always been a bit “racist,” or colorist as I mentioned a few entries ago. How many non-“white” champions have we had? The heavyweight belt, I mean. There were 55 champions. Two of Mexican descent, two of African American descent and and one Indian – by which I mean from India. On the main WWE belt? 137 champions broken down as four Mexicans, and one each of African-American, Indian, Japanese and Persian (Their description, not mine). Not exactly spread around is it.
There have been several “non-white” wrestlers who deserved some time with the belt. Did they get it? No, of course not. This is the WWE(F) and this is America! Where only the rarest of the rare non-white people get to be acknowledged as the top of any profession. The land of the free. The home of the brave. Where every one is created equal… we just treat them differently after the creation part. We still need to work on that.
By the way, expect the whole shirt thing to end up being some kind of wrestling story-line.