Well December 31, 2018 has been a day in infamy for wrestlers on social media. Seth Rollins stepped in it in the morning over some jokes by Louis CK, and then Tye Dellinger got caught out there when he stood up for the rights of WWE social media people to exclude all the women of color when congratulating the women of WWE for killing it this. First there was the tweet from WWE, followed by a response from Nia Jax:
Now what’s the big deal, you ask? It’s just a dopey tweet, so why get mad? Well, as a black man I can tell you it’s because this kind of thing happens all the time in all kinds of setting be it wrestling, politics, sports, music, or even just the regular old private sector. Sit down and talk to, better yet listen to some of your friends, acquaintances, or family members who are people of color and ask them about being overlooked themselves or seeing other people like them get overlooked. And get ready to hear some painful stories.
Now let’s look at what women of color did this year in WWE:
- Nia Jax won the RAW Women’s Title and the Evolution Battle Royal
- Naomi won the Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal
- Asuka won the Women’s Royal Rumble and the Smackdown Women’s Title in the first ever women’s TLC match
- Ember Moon, Shayna Baszler, and Kairi Sane all held the NXT Women’s Title
And that’s just official accolades. Bianca Belair took NXT by storm as a rookie. Io Shirai reached the finals of the Mae Young Classic. Alicia Fox and Mickie James were the unsung utility players on RAW getting plugged into matches and angles at the drop of a hat and making them work. So with all of that to choose from, they include….the Iconics standing over Charlotte after attacking her?
2018 was the literally the biggest year ever for women of color in the WWE and the biggest year for people of color, male or female. It should be recognized even it’s just for PR purposes. And to all skip over all of that to recognize run ins and sneak attacks…..why? Seriously, what are you smoking dude?
‘But it’s just a tweet!’ Yes it is, and I’m willing to even give the social media person the benefit of the doubt that there was no malice intended. But sometimes we have to say something or else it will keep happening because it’s been happening for some time. It happens when Tiger Woods wins a tournament and as much time is spent talking about the guys he beat than him. Or when Serena Williams crushes Maria Sharapova and Sharapova still gets spoken of as if she’s equal. But there’s more…
Barack Obama wins the presidency in a rout, and there are constant reports about what Sarah Palin was going to do next. This year there were black people running for office that lost by close margins and yet a white guy who lost his race by more gets talked up as a presidential nominee over them. Taylor Swift or Eminem can damn near just show up and put something out and it will outsell and win more awards than anything Beyonce does even if her work gets more critical acclaim. The list goes on and on.
So when something like that tweet happens it’s not just a mistake it’s a reminder of all the other times we do something big only to be overlooked and see all the acclaim heaped on someone who was just barely there. Yes it’s just a tweet but quite often it’s a lot more than that, and it always starts with a simple slight that was done with no bad intentions. It still sucks, and it still needs to be brought up. Not because we want you to feel guilty but because we want it to stop and for you to not do it anymore.
Recognition matters. We all want some kind of recognition when we succeed, even if it’s just a head nod. It shows that you saw we did well, and that us doing well means something. Which it should because after all, we’re right here with you and we’re not going anywhere. We’re as human as you are, and we want the same kind of things as you so if you want your success noticed stop and think about ours sometime too. Treat us like you treat yourselves, that’s all we’re asking.