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2021 POC Small Business Holiday Gift Guide

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In 2020, small businesses owned by POC took a big hit. 2021 hasn’t been much better for small businesses. Small businesses owned by POC, however, have taken much of the brunt of it. This holiday season, check out some of these folks in our 2021 POC small business Holiday Gift Guide. Give them some support and give some pretty delightful gifts!

Don’t forget to check out our other Holiday Gift Guides!

Skincare

1. Hero Cosmetics

Ever have a “pimple emergency?” Of course you have. If you need a hero (get it?) for your skin, look no further than Hero Cosmetics. With a multitude of options at your disposal, never worry that your skin is going to look ratched at the wrong time. 

They’re also having a limited edition holiday kit – up to 49% savings on pre-built bundles. 

https://www.herocosmetics.us/

2. Lovinah

Sometimes the traditional way works best. Lovinah is a true celebration of centuries-old traditional African remedies used to treat skin – with a dash of modern technology. Their mission is to make gentle, yet effective luxurious beauty ritual treatments. Made with ethically sourced, fair trade, certified organic ingredients, Lovinah is tradition done with care. 

https://lovinah.com/

3. Pink Moon

You love yourself best when you take care of yourself. Pink Moon is an inclusive wellcare and community oasis created by women, for all women. They provide a communal sanctuary that can’t help but inspire sustainable living and genuine self-love. When you think of Pink Moon, you just don’t think of quality beauty products, you think of female-led sustainability and ethically-minded brands that foster community, inclusivity, purpose, and self-love. 

https://pinkmoon.co/

4. Oui the People

Aside from a super cute name, Oui the People takes the iconic, classic razor design and puts a modern spin on it. While ads from half a century ago go with a “you’re not loveable unless…” message, Oui puts the power into the hands of women who want to feel beautiful for themselves. They want you to feel comfortable in your own skin, as you should. 

https://www.ouithepeople.com/

5. Klur

Who doesn’t love a company with values of clean, ethical, and inclusive beauty? Klur was founded on expert training and hands-on experience. They are more than just quality products and a conscious ethos – it’s about a human connection. 

Sustainability not only means addressing the long-term impact on our ecosystem. It also means that the products Klur makes meet the beauty demands of daily life. And they do. 

https://klur.co/

6. Strange Bird

Strange Bird is plant-powered and crystal-charged. We all know that when it comes to beauty and wellness all you need is a pretty rock. I’m kidding! Everyone has their own skincare and beauty routine that means something to them. If a pretty rock helps you feel confident and beautiful, then ride with it, ya dig? 

1% of Strange Bird’s sales go towards supporting women’s mental health. Strange Bird is spreading the light by partnering with nonprofits around the world. 

https://strangebirdbeauty.com/

7. Circumference

Circumference’s plant-powered formulas are designed to deliver the highest level of efficacy for deep skin nourishment. Every product they make is a meticulous blend of potent, plant-derived actives proven to be highly effective, safe, and stable. 

https://www.circumferencenyc.com/

Home Goods

1. Material

My mother taught me that, when planning a dinner party, it’s about “setting a mood.” Material understands how to set that mood with their beautifully and thoughtfully designed kitchenware for the discerning home cook. Save the simple moments with stunning, quality kitchenware. 

https://materialkitchen.com/

2. Lo & Sons

Here’s a smarter, more stylish way to travel. This family-owned business creates quality travel products that are designed thoughtfully, made sustainably, and brought to you by good people. 

https://www.loandsons.com/

3. Grounded

Grounded’s mission is to bridge the gap between owning houseplants and their natural therapeutic benefits for both your mental and physical space. Their catalogue is mindfully curated to boost your creativity, reduce stress, and purify the air. Don’t just have houseplants, live with them. 

https://grounded-plants.com/

4. Jade Purple Brown

Jade Purple Brown is visually striking, colorful, and optimistic art. They create prints for beach towels, postcards, blankets, or just a print of what will surely brighten your space’s vibe. I dare you not to get mesmerized by the familiar yet unique style that is Jade Purple Brown.  

https://shop.jadepurplebrown.com/

5. Folkus

Folkus is here to expand how we celebrate, cope, and connect through the prism of Black inventiveness, culture, and environmental stewardship. They produce eco-friendly stone paper products proudly inspired by Blackness. 

https://www.folkus.co/

6. Dear Sunday Co.

Sunday is a special day for many of us. It’s a day to take time to ourselves and feel special. Why not add a Dear Sunday Co. candle? If you’re into a space focused on self-care, relaxing, and full of love and gratitude, these are the candles for you. 

https://dearsundayco.com/

7. Wing on Wo and Co.

We have an icon here, folks. Since its founding in the 1890s, Wing on Wo and Co. has been breathing new life into culture craft. The oldest continuously operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of the few remaining specialized porcelain ware and cultural goods store in the world. This is something very special. 

https://wingonwoand.co/

8.  Blueland

Blueland is one of the best reusable cleaning bottles and tablets you can find on the market. For one, their cleaning tablets smell fantastic. For another, their design is sleek and modest. No more Mr. Clean bottle after bottle. This is a one and done kinda deal. If anything goes wrong, Blueland has excellent customer service. 

​​https://www.blueland.com/

9. Silk + Sonder

It’s never been more important to take care of your mental health. Silk + Sonder is a monthly journal and self-care membership that makes daily mental wellness easy and fun. Through a suite of analog, digital, and experimental tools, their holistic approach has empowered tens of thousands of members to live more meaningful, intentional, and productive lives — all from the comfort of their homes. 

https://www.silkandsonder.com/

Clothing

1. Okko

We’re always here for a body positive company. Okko is all about deliberate consumption, combining form with function, and encouraging all women to be unapologetically themselves and comfortable in their own skin. Transform your top drawer, ladies. 

https://www.loveokko.co/

2. Wasi Clothing

You can stick Wasi Clothing on the top of the recycling queen list. Sustainable, ethical, and slow fashion, Wasi Clothing creates low production quantities while also being low waste. Scraps of fabric are kept to recycle and reused for future creative purposes. If you’re a fan of utilizing as much of the material as possible, this is the brand for you. 

https://wasiclothing.com/

3. The Tiny Closet

Getting dressed for the day starts with a well-curated closet. The Tiny Closet is handmade in Los Angeles and makes a noticeable effort to minimize her carbon footprint. Responsible for manufacturing and selling new clothing made from outsourced and dead stock fabrics. With made-to-order production, you can count on zero waste from The Tiny Closet. 

https://www.thetinyclosetshop.com/

4. Jane Dottie Vintage

Created in an effort to combat fast fashion, Jane Dottie Vintage brings quality sustainable styles to the community while giving back to women in need. They aim to create a platform that not only involves all things eco-friendly but all things women empowerment. 

https://www.janedottie.com/

5. Autumn Adeigbo

Autumn Adeigbo designs colorful, fashion-forward clothing for women who like to stand out in a crowd. From sourcing to delivery, Autumn embraces sustainable practices by purchasing  in limited quality and producing only what is ordered minimizing fabric waste, excessive manufacturing and surplus stock. Her collection is not only eco-friendly, but exclusive, y’all.

https://autumnadeigbo.com/

6. Warren Steven Scott

Here is a true fashion artist. Warren Steven Scott is a contemporary accessory designer, fashion designer, tailor, and craftsperson. His debut collection, Sissy, will take place as part of the inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. His collection bridges the Western concept of luxury fashion with his ancestral worldview on ethics, craft, and aesthetic sensibility, representing a distinct contribution to a genuine Canadian fashion. 

https://warrenstevenscott.com/

7. Pepper

Pepper isn’t about pretending small boobs are bigger. Stuff your bra with that girl Victoria. Pepper has something grander in mind. Their mission is to empower women to feel extra special, supremely confident, and proud of their small boobs. Ultimately, they intend to change the world’s view of body standards. 

https://www.wearpepper.com/

Food

1. Golde

Golde makes superfood blends to boost your daily routine. From matcha to mushroom, you can count on Golde for products that are easy, fun, and actually delicious. Feel like your best self and discover your new routine today. 

https://golde.co/

2. Càphê Roasters

Càphê Roasters is the first and only Vietnamese specialty coffee roastery in Philadelphia, operating in the Kensington neighborhood. Their mission is to bring communities together as inspired by the common Vietnamese expression “đi uống cà phê,” meaning “let’s get coffee.” Which, in Vietnamese culture, signifies community engagement. 

https://www.capheroasters.com/

3. Mason Dixie

Baking at home is both an art and a science. Screw that, says Mason Dixie. They make the most buttery, crumbly, gooey, baked goods by taking the highest quality natural ingredients out there and mixing them with ice-cold butter and fresh-from-the-cow buttermilk. Pop them into the oven and bite into joy. 

https://masondixiefoods.com/

4. Indifix

If you haven’t had the delight of an Indian snack, do yourself a favor and try Indifix. They spent time selecting 200+ Indian snacks and treats. It’s a box filled with authentic Indian goodies delivered to your door. Every box you purchase allows Indifix to feed a malnourished child in need. 

https://www.indifix.com/

5. Emishka

Finally, a Thai tea without all the sugar and additives. Shake well and pour hard, that’s what a nitro beverage is all about. It’s a hint of sweet but creamy and smooth. Emishka’s Thai tea gives notes of spice and a smoky flavor with just a touch of vanilla. Plant-based, dairy-free, 100% all-natural. 

https://by-emshika.com/

6. Malai

Malai figuratively means “cream of the crop,” in a North Indian language. They are inspired from globally sourced whole ingredients, aromatic spices, and unexpected twists on old classics. All their ice cream is eggless, handcrafted, and churned with very little air, resulting in purer, more robust flavors, as well as the creamiest textures you can find. 

https://www.malai.co/

7. Rae’s Roots

A healthy mind starts with a healthy gut. Self-care is not once and done. It takes a lot of little changes and differences that add up over time so that they become a part of your life. A daily cup of Rae’s Roots adaptogen tea can help give you exactly what you need. 

https://www.raesroots.com/

Do you know of any businesses or companies we didn’t include in our POC small business Holiday Gift Guide? Comment and let us know!

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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Billionaires Be Warned: Organized Labor on the Rise

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Last week, Apple retail workers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65-33 to seek entry into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trade union. It’s a story that’s consistent with a promising trend.

In the last several months, a number of victories have been tallied for worker’s rights around the country.

In December, a Starbucks in Buffalo became the first of its company-owned U.S. locations to form a union. Since then, at least 150 of the 9,000 company-run U.S. stores have voted to unionize, with 10 stores rejecting the union. 

In January, engineers and other Google workers announced that they had formed a union—the Alphabet Workers Union— named after Google’s parent company, Alphabet. It represents about 800 Google employees.

April saw Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York vote to unionize, marking a first for the retail giant.

In May, video game workers at a division of game publisher Activision Blizzard voted to unionize, making them the first to create a labor union at a large U.S. videogame company.

Per a 2021 Gallup Poll: at least 68% of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest since Gallup found a 71% approval in 1965.

A resurgence of unions after years of decline.

President Biden has been vocal about his support for the decision. 

“I am proud of them,” 

Biden said in a statement to reporters. 

Workers have a right to determine under what condition they are going to work or not work.”

This is a far cry from the days of President Reagan publicly firing striking air traffic controllers, a move that signaled to the weakening labor movement that times were changing. Of course, labor rights weren’t always such a contentious topic. 

In the mid-1950s, approximately one out of every three non-farm workers were unionized. This was, of course, the peak of labor’s power in the US. 

In subsequent decades, the ranks of unionized workers would shrink. By the 80s and 90s, due to a combination of economic and political developments, the decline in unions accelerated.

The opening of overseas markets and the emergence of outsourcing put organized labor at a severe disadvantage. 

Around this same period, U.S. employers developed a set of legal— and illegal—practices that could effectively rid establishments of existing unions and prevent new unions from organizing. 

These practices included: threatening union sympathizers with firings and holding a mandatory meeting wherein workers would be subject to anti-union propaganda. Additionally, many employers hired permanent replacements for striking workers.

But Biden has been relatively labor-friendly. In February, a Biden administration task force issued a set of recommendations aimed at making it easier for federal workers and contractors to unionize.

The report argues that the trend of declining union membership has coincided with a rising share of income going to the top 10% of earners.

Youth movement gives labor unions a new hope.

After decades of decline, U.S. unions are finding hope in a growing movement among the youth. Union approval is high— and growing—with the youngest workers. This is reflected by membership levels, which are trending upwards for workers between the ages of 25 and 34. Even as they decline among other age groups.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of union members among workers aged 25-34 rose from 8.8% to 9.4% 

The aforementioned Alphabet Workers Union, for example, is run by five people under the age of 35.

This is consistent with a greater political trend among young people: the youth is less susceptible to the anti-socialist boogeyman rhetoric that successfully fleeced previous generations of working people’s rights.

It’s important to remember that many of the things we take for granted today are the products of union involvement. The eight-hour work day? Labor unions. Job safety laws? Labor unions. Overtime pay? Labor Unions. Weekends? Labor unions. Worker’s Comp? Labor unions. Employer-based health coverage? Labor unions.

And the list goes on.

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Who Does Tori Dunlap Think She Is?

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If you haven’t heard of Tori Dunlap, you’re probably not seeking financial advice. If you are seeking financial advice, you can do a lot better than Tori Dunlap. 

Tori Dunlap is an entrepreneur who claims to have saved $100,000 by the age of 25. After achieving such astonishing success so early in life, she simply had to quit her corporate job so she could devote her energy to helping women learn their financial independence and unassumed dominance in our white cis male-run society. 

Her mission? To create the brand HerFirst100K and…

Idk man… seems kinda gimmicky. 

Disclaimer: I am a cis white male with no financial expertise to speak of criticizing a cis white female financial pundit. I have zero doubts that Dunlap could balance a checkbook better than I ever could. I am not here to offer any financial advice. Rather, I am criticizing Dunlap’s approach to fiscal responsibility and her overall authenticity. 

In short: We’re not buying it and neither should you. 

How Did She *Really* Get $100K by 25? 

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At 25, I was working as a barback in a local gay bar and on the cusp of starting my first professional writing job. I had maybe $600 to my name and very poor financial instincts – you could call me a ‘spendthrift.

My peers around the same age were all fairly financially inept or carefree. Sure, we would meet our responsibilities but we sure as hell weren’t saving – and not for lack of trying. We all worked incredibly hard, dirty, thankless jobs for very little money and could be fired on a whim. None of us would have been able to save up to $100K by 25. 

By 25, I had been working steady jobs for 10 years. Even if I didn’t spend a single cent over those 10 years I don’t think the number would have ever reached $100K. Pardon my doubts, but how is a 25-year-old, any 25-year-old, able to save up to $100,000 all by themselves? After some digging, it turns out she did it with a lot of discipline and a lot of luck. 

She graduated college with zero debt, landed a job in digital marketing with a salary of $55K/year, and put a disciplined percentage of her take-home into saving and an investment fund. These are all great, very privileged ways to save $100,000 in three years. 

I’m curious to know how a 22-year-old snagged an investment fund and knew which investments would pay off and how much they earned but… I digress. 

I don’t sneeze at this kind of discipline. Many people would benefit from a financial discipline such as that. I do sneeze a little by using this as a marketing tactic. While she qualifies this by admitting her privilege, she makes her achievement the main marketing point of Her First $100K. 

I did this and so can you!” the sentiment screams. Except most people can’t. And I think Ms. Dunlap knows that. 

Tori Dunlap Is Not Qualified To Give Anyone Financial Advice

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The only thing I trust Tori Dunlap to do is market and brand herself effectively. She’s cool, she’s hip, she can play along with the broader trends, she TikToks with the best of ‘em, and it all feels so desperately empty and deeply phony. 

I think Tori Dunlap has a keen eye for self-promotion that masquerades as “woke financial advice.” This would be fine if it wasn’t potentially f*cking with people’s money. There are people out there with some serious financial issues and concerns. If they trust Tori Dunlap, they could be misled because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

I don’t mean she doesn’t know how to assert her value and practice financial discipline. I mean she doesn’t have the financial authority to be profiting off the advice she gives. It’s like getting medical advice from a sickly friend – they’ve got experience but no expertise. 

TikTok Advice Isn’t Real Advice

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If you take a look at Dunlap’s TikTok, it looks pretty much like every other TikToker out there. On her page, the financial advice is few and far between. It appears that TikTok is the space where she promotes her brand, podcast, and book – with a whole lot of cookie-cutter trends you will find on any account. 

When you finally do get to her financial advice, it’s no different than if you were to ask your fiscally savvy friend. For example, “know your worth and advocate for it” is a great bit of advice, it’s one I tell my peers at work – but it’s not expertise. It’s a good ol’ fashioned, “you can do it!” Which is nice, but it’s not practically helpful. What you’re getting from Dunlap are educated tips from someone who is being nice to you. 

When you present yourself as an authority figure you have a responsibility that comes with it. Telling people you are the savior from the patriarchy if you pay for her course doesn’t exactly scream “hero.” 

There’s nothing wrong with providing a service and charging for it. There is, however, something really gross about masquerading as a feminist hero when you’re actually an unqualified financial nobody with no serious credentials to speak of. 

Tori Dunlap is not qualified to be giving financial advice to anyone. She says so on her site: 

LEGAL STUFF: I am not a licensed financial advisor. I offer education, not prescriptive advice. The information that is found here are my opinions and the opinions of other readers/contributors and should be taken as such.” 

Legal stuff.” Cute, so relatable. 

All of Dunlap’s success stories are social media posts, texts, and emails. Hardly a case study. 

Dunlap claims to be “leading a movement of financial feminists,” but a quick Google search on female financial advisors yields no results for Ms. Dunlap. What exactly is she leading? You cannot be a leader when you don’t show up on the first 12 pages of Google. 

Here’s What An Actual Financial Expert Says

We spoke to Danetha Doe, an economist with over 10 years of experience in the financial industry. She has worked as an accountant and a CFO. She also created Money & Mimosas, a financial education resource for ambitious folks. 

In short, Ms. Doe knows her sh*t.

We asked Ms. Doe about how the average person could save up to $100K by the age of 25. 

I don’t think it’s reasonable to believe the average person can save $100K by 25. 

“In order to do that, they would either need to be born into wealth, have zero student loans, work for a startup that goes public or gets acquired, or start a business that is financially successful. 

“All of those scenarios do not apply to the average person.

“The median salary for an individual is under $40,000. Therefore, the average person earns about $40,000. In order to reach $100K in savings on an average salary could take decades in the United States.

Ms. Doe has a lot of excellent financial advice without being patronizing or weaponizing oppression for profit. She has a professional and personal background that makes her an effective authority when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

My two grandmothers [are the financial experts I admire most]. 

“They came to the United States as immigrants and became real estate investors during a time when Black women were systematically shut out of wealth-building opportunities in this country. 

“Their lasting legacy guides my financial decisions.

If you want to learn finance tips from someone who can relate to or understand your experience fully, Danetha Doe is the way to go

Besides, who doesn’t love a mimosa? 

What In The Hell Is ‘Feminist Financial Advice?’

What is it about financial advice that needs to be tailored specifically for women? Let’s take a super casual and lazy glance at successful women, shall we? 

Suze Orman is a trusted financial authority and has been around for a minute

Madonna has built herself an entertainment empire by being unapologetically female

Rihanna became a billionaire through her music and some super-savvy business moves. 

Laverne Cox bulldozed expectations and helped establish a foundation for trans artists. 

Sheryl Sandburg is the most powerful woman in Big Tech – did you see what happened when she resigned from Meta?

There is no shortage of female financial advisors. What kind of niche does Dunlap think she’s tapping into? Dunlap says on her site

I watched female friends get paid less than they were worth. I read stories about women being denied career opportunities because they were seen as ‘less.’ 

“Male colleagues said sexist, negative comments to me at work. I learned that women hold the majority of debt in America and that they invest less of their money than men, yet live for seven years longer. 

“So I knew that I had to fight back.

Sure, Jan. 

Fighting Sexism By Leaning Into Sexism

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I don’t think anybody disagrees (save for a few members of the Republican Party) that women have a tougher go of it than men. To be honest, it’s a bit of a stretch to connect general sexism with financial education. I learned how to budget from my mother, a woman who has had to fight her own battles with sexism and misogyny as the only female partner at her law firm. 

Frankly, I think the assumption that women need help from an unlicensed non-expert in order to learn fiscal responsibility is teetering on sexism. At the very least, it’s grossly condescending and certainly inauthentic. 

If you’re in a position where you need financial advice, you want it from someone who is a serious advisor, not a trending influencer with no qualifications. With inflation at a 40-year high and an underpaid workforce fighting for its value, we cannot afford to take financial advice from someone clearly more interested in self-promotion and branding. 

Dunlap appears to be less focused on offering genuine financial advice and far more focused on hitting woke buzzwords in an effort to patronize marginalized communities for profit. If you want to find a female-focused financial authority, try Ellevest instead. 

Tori Dunlap’s Communications Lead declined to comment.

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Vince McMahon Stepped Down From WWE. Or Did He?

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The news rang out around the world on Friday. 

Vince McMahon, father and face of the modern WWE, is voluntarily stepping down from his CEO position. The news came amid allegations of misconduct, affairs, and hush money.

And then, the strangest thing happened. Moments later, WWE announced that McMahon would make an appearance during Smackdown. Many speculated that McMahon would take the opportunity to admit remorse, address the new path, or prepare a last goodbye for fans.

Instead, he did this.

“It is a privilege, as always, to stand before you here tonight, the WWE Universe. Especially a privilege to stand here in this ring in Minnesota.

I’m here simply to remind you of the four words we just saw in what we call the WWE signature. Those four words are then, now, forever, and the most important word is together.

Welcome to SmackDown!”

“Bizarre spectacle” is a phrase that could appear under the dictionary definition for World Wrestling Entertainment.. But even fans were left scratching their heads by this appearance, with one caught on camera appearing to ask “That’s it?”

What really happened to Vince McMahon

Image credit: CNN

If you didn’t read past headlines about stepping down amid misconduct allegations, you might be stunned that McMahon would appear on TV at all. The truth, as is often the case, is a bit more complicated.

Per The Wall Street Journal, an inquiry began in April concerning a secret payout of $3 million that a WWE paralegal received in January. McMahon allegedly had an affair with the employee. The investigation opened up other, older NDAs relating to sexual misconduct by McMahon and talent relations chair John Laurinaitis.

The misconception at hand comes from WWE’s announcement. While it’s true that McMahon is stepping down from his chief position while the investigation continues, that’s not the whole picture.

McMahon is maintaining creative control of the WWE. For an entertainment company, the creative aspect is a pretty massive slice of the pie. As evidenced by Friday’s appearance—and another appearance on Monday—he’s not stepping down from the public eye either.

Image credit: WWE

McMahon’s WWE character, “Mr. McMahon,” it seems, is not under the same scrutiny as his actor. There are no signs that his exaggerated persona will cease making appearances on SmackDown and at other WWE events.

In a way, it’s a delicate PR chess move. The headline, “Vince McMahon Steps Down Amidst Investigation,” reads like a victory. The sticky truth, that he’s not really exiting at all, will have little impact on the general public.

Wrestling fans, on the other hand, are seeing both sides play out, and it’s leaving some confused. It’s an interesting twist on “kayfabe,” the suspension of disbelief at the root of the WWE community. In reality, Vince has stepped down, but in kayfabe, Mr. McMahon hasn’t gone anywhere.

This bizarre in-and-out response might reflect the inherent flaws in wrestling’s mesh of fantasy and reality. In pursuit of kayfabe, what happens if McMahon is fully ousted? Will an attachment to his fictional persona keep justice from being served? At this point, it’s hard to say.

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