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Episode 76 — What’s Up Brother?


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:00 AM

Andrew Ti and Shots Fired hosts Jeff Weiss & MC Nocando explore the use of the word brother. They talk about how racist professional wrestling is and whether or not white people saying brother is racist. Leave us a question about racism at (323) 389-RACE.

#2 Shariq Torres

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:10 AM

You want an example of wrestling being racist, I can give you two really good examples. One is the big fight between the Iron Sheik and Sgt Slaughter during the Persian Gulf War. Even as a 11-year-old, you could see that this fight was a sublimation of all of the anger and anxiety over U.S. troops going to a ground war. The first one in about a decade since that mess in Grenada.

The second is the Million Dollar Man Ted DeBiase's servant, Virgil. DeBiase would regularly humiliate Virgil during their stage intros and generally treat Virgil as shit. Virgil was black, by the way...

#3 Kickpuncher

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

View PostShariq Torres, on 30 January 2013 - 06:10 AM, said:

The second is the Million Dollar Man Ted DeBiase's servant, Virgil. DeBiase would regularly humiliate Virgil during their stage intros and generally treat Virgil as shit. Virgil was black, by the way...


This is actually one of many, many examples where wrestling tries to walk a fine line, but ultimately has never shown anywhere near the level of nuance required to do it successfully. Their argument would be that DiBiase was a bad guy, and as long as that's understood (including the announcers, i.e. the most voice of the promotion, condemning his actions), then it's OK for him to be racist to get "heat" (note that wrestling good guys are virtually never racist). Virgil eventually turned on him, and (I'm guessing, because I don't specifically remember) probably beat him in a big match. Does that mean it's OK? Again, probably not given the specific ways they handle it.

#4 LemonDropKid

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:41 PM

Koko B. Ware's inspiration was Morris Day.

#5 pokey

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

Andrew tries hard to declare racism, or at least wackness, on a white man calling a black man brother, then confesses that one of the words he likes to call people is "dog." Homeboy Sandman's HuffPo piece came to mind. Dogs are subservient, brothers are equal.

"Are we trying to make everything racist?" - Nocando, summing it up.

#6 LemonDropKid

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

View Postpokey, on 30 January 2013 - 02:43 PM, said:

Andrew tries hard to declare racism, or at least wackness, on a white man calling a black man brother, then confesses that one of the words he likes to call people is "dog." Homeboy Sandman's HuffPo piece came to mind. Dogs are subservient, brothers are equal.

"Are we trying to make everything racist?" - Nocando, summing it up.


I like how Nocando is the least everything-is-racist guest there's been, and maybe the only black guest I can recall.

#7 pokey

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:06 PM

View PostLemondropKid, on 30 January 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:


I like how Nocando is the least everything-is-racist guest there's been, and maybe the only black guest I can recall.


I think a lot of the white guests have been terrified of coming across as racist (and a couple of them have said some cringeworthy things), and some guests seem a little intimidated by Andrew's approach.

#8 president cage

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:44 AM

After 70 plus episodes, Ti finally convinces an African American to appear on his show and then tells the audience "Don't listen to Nocando."

#9 Shariq Torres

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:45 AM

View Postpokey, on 30 January 2013 - 02:43 PM, said:

Andrew tries hard to declare racism, or at least wackness, on a white man calling a black man brother, then confesses that one of the words he likes to call people is "dog." Homeboy Sandman's HuffPo piece came to mind. Dogs are subservient, brothers are equal.

"Are we trying to make everything racist?" - Nocando, summing it up.



But Nocando apologizes for everything. Like with the basketball ep, that was real stupid. When you're playing pickup basketball not everyone is running combine drills where you can accurately reflect their skills. The guy from Richmond was picking black people first because of a common stereotype that says black people are just "naturally" good at basketball. I'm glad Andrew stated the obvious even if Nocando wanted to pussyfoot around the subtext of the caller's actions.

"Maybe that guy saw you working and figured you would be a good worker, and he just wanted to make sure you will be around for a long time. That's not necessarily racist." -- Nocando's views on slavery.

#10 Shariq Torres

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:46 AM

View Postpresident cage, on 31 January 2013 - 03:44 AM, said:

After 70 plus episodes, Ti finally convinces an African American to appear on his show and then tells the audience "Don't listen to Nocando."


But white folks don't really listen to black people when black folks DO say something is racist. So why start now?

#11 pokey

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

View PostShariq Torres, on 31 January 2013 - 05:45 AM, said:



But Nocando apologizes for everything. Like with the basketball ep, that was real stupid. When you're playing pickup basketball not everyone is running combine drills where you can accurately reflect their skills. The guy from Richmond was picking black people first because of a common stereotype that says black people are just "naturally" good at basketball. I'm glad Andrew stated the obvious even if Nocando wanted to pussyfoot around the subtext of the caller's actions.

"Maybe that guy saw you working and figured you would be a good worker, and he just wanted to make sure you will be around for a long time. That's not necessarily racist." -- Nocando's views on slavery.


What Nocando actually said was, "Maybe the guy looks more athletic, you know, maybe you saw him run before. You have to have more than just race."

That statement indicates to me that Nocando, like myself and I'm sure others who don't play basketball (with strangers, or otherwise), can't really imagine that the team captains are picking teams without any prior knowledge of the players' abilities, or at least seeing them shoot, dribble, run, warm up, or whatever.

And it seems like pretty insufficient evidence to judge that Nocando "apologizes for everything."

Besides, Andrew was definitely trying to force this one into the racist category when what the caller was doing was using the word "brother" (a name indicating equality and harmony, used in many diverse cultural and religious contexts), using it sincerely and without malice, and treating a black man the way he treats white men.

#12 Shariq Torres

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:07 AM

View Postpokey, on 31 January 2013 - 12:35 PM, said:


What Nocando actually said was, "Maybe the guy looks more athletic, you know, maybe you saw him run before. You have to have more than just race."

That statement indicates to me that Nocando, like myself and I'm sure others who don't play basketball (with strangers, or otherwise), can't really imagine that the team captains are picking teams without any prior knowledge of the players' abilities, or at least seeing them shoot, dribble, run, warm up, or whatever.

And it seems like pretty insufficient evidence to judge that Nocando "apologizes for everything."

Besides, Andrew was definitely trying to force this one into the racist category when what the caller was doing was using the word "brother" (a name indicating equality and harmony, used in many diverse cultural and religious contexts), using it sincerely and without malice, and treating a black man the way he treats white men.


What I love about you is that you admittedly don't know anything about what you are talking about, but are 100% ready to say that there is absolutely no racial bias going on at all. That is amazing to me.

No, when you play pickup basketball, you call "next." While the two other teams are playing, your job is to get together a group to play with. When the losers of the current game walk off the court, you got a few minutes usually to shoot around, set up who will be playing what position, and defensive assignments. You pick your team on the group of guys sitting on the floor watching the current game. Many times you don't even get to see them walk, much less how high they can jump. You make judgments on them based on their appearance.

That's why your statement and Nocando's statements are stupid. You are already admitting the selection is based on superficial means, but apparently the color of someone's skin doesn't factor into this at all! Even though this is the first thing someone sees other than a person's gender. That's why you and him apologize for everything. "You have to have more than race..." why is that? Race dictates what school you're going to, where you live, how long you will live, job opportunities, and everything else in American life, but not pick up basketball.

#13 pokey

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:29 AM

View PostShariq Torres, on 08 February 2013 - 06:07 AM, said:


What I love about you is that you admittedly don't know anything about what you are talking about, but are 100% ready to say that there is absolutely no racial bias going on at all. That is amazing to me.

No, when you play pickup basketball, you call "next." While the two other teams are playing, your job is to get together a group to play with. When the losers of the current game walk off the court, you got a few minutes usually to shoot around, set up who will be playing what position, and defensive assignments. You pick your team on the group of guys sitting on the floor watching the current game. Many times you don't even get to see them walk, much less how high they can jump. You make judgments on them based on their appearance.

That's why your statement and Nocando's statements are stupid. You are already admitting the selection is based on superficial means, but apparently the color of someone's skin doesn't factor into this at all! Even though this is the first thing someone sees other than a person's gender. That's why you and him apologize for everything. "You have to have more than race..." why is that? Race dictates what school you're going to, where you live, how long you will live, job opportunities, and everything else in American life, but not pick up basketball.


I think you're amazing, too, Shariq! You seem to have interpreted some absolutist tone in my previous post which I neither intended, nor do I see in review.

With that said, I regret that any ambiguity on my part may have given room for interpretation that I think that racism does not exist in pick up basketball. That is not at all what I meant. I do believe that race is at work, like you say, everywhere in American life, including pick up basketball.

I was forthright with my ignorance of pick up basketball and incredulous that it involves perfect strangers selecting each other without so much as seeing each other walk. I'll take your word for it, but, honestly, even hypothetically stripped of all racial prejudice, it sounds horrible! I was not apologizing for or denying racism, as you have accused, and I don't get the impression that Nocando was, either. I think he was equally incredulous that people are playing basketball with strangers whom they've never seen walk, as you have described. I agree that racism is involved. I also agree that, as Nocando said, there has to be more going on than just that.

Even you are saying that skin is one factor of the superficial means by which teams are selected. So, unless you're going to tell me that a team captain won't consider height, weight, physique, and other things (the way the person is dressed? the look of confidence/anxiety in a person's face?), then you must agree that there is "more than just race."

In the same way, more than race factors into one's life-opportunities. It does factor in heavily, and in a profoundly, painfully unjust way. But there are other factors, obviously, and you know that to be true. Poverty and privilege are also unjust, also heavy factors that limit or increase opportunities.

What about the original topic, Shariq? There's a reason I didn't comment on the pick up basketball episode (I don't know or care anything about pick up basketball). Is there a reason you've chosen to ignore this episode, but to hijack this thread to discuss the other episode?

Do you think that it's racist for white people to use the word "brother"? Do you think, as Andrew suggested, that white people should only call other white people "brother"? Doesn't it follow that if we call men "brother," we might think of them as brothers, and hopefully begin to treat them like brothers? Or is preferable to refer to a man as a "dog"?

Do you think that Nocando's resistance to labeling this episode's caller a racist is something that can be classified as an apology for racism? Or have you simply dismissed Nocando as a racism apologist whose opinions are invalid?