Booker T saw a lot in his time as a pro wrestler. His two-time WWE Hall Of Fame career also included 6 World Title reigns. He saw his share of racial injustice too, but Booker T knew when to put his foot down.
While speaking with Corey Graves on After The Bell, Booker T discussed how he handled instances of racism in the locker room. He didn’t have it at all, and for good reason.
Booker T brought up one particular story that involved him calling out someone who said something inappropriate about Martin Luther King, Jr. At the end of the day, they never worked in the pro wrestling business again.
“First-hand story in WWE, I’m not gonna say the person’s name. It was Martin Luther King’s birthday. I was in the locker room with this one guy and a few other guys, and that’s why I always say, guys, if you see something, you say something. I can’t do it by myself. I need guys to step up behind me as well, and a lot of those guys in the business that I’ve been in, I’ve been the one percent.”
“Most of those guys have been white, but I remember that day there was something on television about Martin Luther King’s birthday. He said, ‘what has he ever done? Who’s he? Why does he [have a holiday]?’ You know me. I’m pretty confrontational. My first mode is to throw hands. I reacted, and I wanted to throw hands.”
“I calmed myself down because sometimes you got to a moment. I always say when you have a moment, sometimes you may never get that moment back. So it’s what you do, which is very very important. So I said instead of fighting this guy, I knew we were having a meeting that day with all of the boys and all of the staff.”
“We have the meeting, and at the end of the meeting they said, ‘does anyone have anything to say?’ And I said, ‘yes, I want that person to say in front of this whole room what he said in front of me in the locker room earlier today.’ He kind of backtracked, and one of my boys stepped up and said, ‘no, no, no. Say exactly what you said earlier today because I was there too.’ That guy happened to be a white guy. He ended up having to say what he what he said, and needless to say, that guy was fired the week later. We never saw him again ever in the business.”
“For me, I’ve always been a guy to say something. I’ve never been passive as far as anything racial. If it’s me, I can’t speak for other people, but anything that’s ever happened with me racial, I always handled it firsthand. I’ve always been very very well respected in the business because I have a saying, when your 99%, you keep your mouth shut, but when your 100%, you speak up 100% of time. No matter whether it’s gonna get you fired or not. You still speak up.”
“As far as wrestling goes, wrestling has always been easy for me. I’ve never had those barriers of being the Black guy that people were you trying to hold down and suppress. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a lot of white guys. I got to say that because all of those guys pushed for me. All those guys wanted me at the next level.”
Booker T said he never experienced the typical barriers that other African American wrestlers did. He credited “white guys” for helping him achieve success. The Undertaker was someone who Booker T previously mentioned was extra welcoming to him.
It also helped that Booker T was always the type to say something and not let any kind of racial talk even get started around him. Whoever said those derogatory things about Martin Luther King, Jr certainly learned the hard way.
Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the quote