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First, in the 4/25 Cheap Seats, then in the 5/2 Mail, racism in professional wrestling has been discussed. Nothing wrong with that—pro wrestling is based on stereotypes, so a discussion on the harm of using those stereotypes is indeed valid.

However, both writings focus on the Iron Sheik in their claims. Dave McKenna implies that the Sheik—real name Hossein Khosrow Vaziri—had to be “created,” and the letter touches on this character as well.

What neither point out—or perhaps neither know—is that Vaziri is indeed Iranian, and what’s more, could be considered a fine Iranian. Vaziri, if you don’t know, was actually a stellar amateur wrestler before coming to the United States, and won a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Not only that, but he briefly held the WWF championship, losing to the now-famous Hulk Hogan (and therefore will have a permanent place in the history books).

So before you start stammering about how the Iron Sheik is a creation as a wrestler and as such is a stereotype, please realize that the man is in fact an Iranian champion, and can portray himself as such if he so wishes. As McKenna mentions, Vaziri created the character himself, and I’d guess that he’s mighty proud of what he’s done—both in the Olympics and pro wrestling.

Fairfax, Va.

via the Internet