Friday, July 25, 2008

Wrestler of Yore: Colonel DeBeers

Ed Wiskoski is probably a pretty nice guy. He played football for the Bengals, he owns a kitten farm, and he apparently enjoys banjo music. I’m sure that, if we ever shared a beer together, he’d have some pretty entertaining stories to tell. But, invariably, I would probably bring our conversation to a screeching halt by asking one simple question:

“Why do you hate black people so much?”

You see, Wiskoski is better known to the world as Colonel DeBeers, one of the many characters he played as professional wrestler, and certainly the most well-known. Wrestling promoters in the 1980s often played on foreign stereotypes when making heel, or bad guy, characters, whether they be savage Samoans, ruthless Russians or hoity-toity Brits. But DeBeers was one of the most dastardly of the bunch, as he played an apartheid-loving South African soldier.

Let me repeat that. He was in favor of apartheid. As in, he thought it was a good thing.

Worse yet, DeBeers’ anti-black bias wasn’t just a subtle thing, but rather, pretty brazen. He goose-stepped to the ring, holding a South African flag. He would often give interviews downgrading the United States for their treatment of blacks. He even refused to wrestle in matches where there was a nonwhite opponent or black referee, as shown here:

Oh yeah, he had an eyepatch and a handlebar mustache as well, though those were less “racist” and more “awesome.” While not a great wrestler, DeBeers had a memorable feud with Superfly Jimmy Snuka in the late 1980s, which started from DeBeers refusing to wrestle Snuka because he was from Fiji, and therefore not white. DeBeers would escalate the feud when he pushed Snuka off the top rope to the floor, causing Snuka to bleed profusely. During the Snuka feud, DeBeers also gave an interview to “The Wrestler” magazine while in character, excerpts from which I've provided below:

“You must pick these animals off one by one, or else they multiply like rabbits and roam in killing squads. To them, life is cheap and human life is cheaper. These people have been known to eat their young when hungry.”

“The term black encompasses all that is not pure.”

“Scott Hall is a well-known Negro sympathizer, which accounts for the thrashing I gave him.”

“I’m trying to impart a philosophy vital to the perpetuation of a free society. Minorities have no place in a free society. If violence be part of such philosophy, such the better. I shall overcome.”

Wiskoski currently runs a feline kitten farm in Oregon (seriously). He has raised three prized cats - Sargent Snuggles, Private Puddles, and Captain Cuddles. I suspect none of them were black.


Hazel Maes Landing Strip said...

I saw the name DeBeers, and assumed Vince had created a Drunk German character. How wrong I was...

cmanners said...
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Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the exact issue of the Wrestler is where this interview appeared?