Charles Ramsey, New Internet Meme Star
By Athena Yenko | May 9, 2013 4:32 PM EST
The Cleveland kidnapping incident where three girls, Amanda Berry, Gina de Jesus and Michelle Knight, were held captive in chains for ten years, was undeniably an appalling incident.
But as for most dramatic incident in history, a hero will surely rise and give people their silverlinings. As for the Cleveland kidnapping, the hero was Charles Ramsey who kicked open the door of the suspect's house, thereby freeing Berry, de Jesus and Knight.
Now, from a poor dishwasher who makes end meet, Charles Ramsey is being hailed a hero by people.
His interview showed a man who is straightforward and somewhat irreverent that memes about him are now circulating in the Internet with thousands of shares and likes.
While most people found a rather lighthearted take on the horrifying events that surround the kidnapping incident, some people pointed out a disturbing behavior hidden behind the meme sharing.
Aisha Harris of Slate.com wrote that it is a shame for people to quickly disregard Ramsey's heroic act by making him a laughing stock just days after the incident. What she saw in Ramsey was the people's fairly recent trend of hilarious black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a colorful style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.
Mr Ramsey's Internet popularity was likened to that of Antoine Dodson who rescued his sister from a burglar but who was later ridiculed for his ostentatious story telling of the event.
There was also Sweet Brown, whose unsuccessful attempt to escape her apartment during a fire incident, got her to being an instant Internet hit.
Of course, there was Michelle Clarke, whose ignorance of the Houston hailstorm got her memes viral in the Internet.
As how Aisha Harris puts it, it's difficult to watch these videos and not sense that their popularity has something to do with a persistent, if unconscious, desire to see black people perform. Even before the genuinely heroic Ramsey came along, some viewers had expressed concern that the laughter directed at people like Sweet brown plays into the most basic stereotyping of blacks as simple-minded ramblers living in the ghetto, socially out of step with the rest of educated America.
Ms Harris put emphasis on the fact that black or white, seeing Clark and Dodson merely as funny instances of random poor people talking nonsense is disrespectful at best. And shushing away the question of race seems like wishful thinking.
Ms Harris is right to point this out, but Charles Ramsey's interview was able to make a difference and alleviate the discrimination. For the first time, a black man said it out loud, upfront and aimed at the issue bull's eye.
In his interview with the media, he said that "I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!"
It was as if saying right into people's faces that he knew what are they getting at and that people might toy on the fact that he was black.
Ms Harris made the point clear by saying that "He (Ramsey) clearly knows a thing or two about the way racism prevents us from seeing each other as people."
There are those who made memes of Charles Ramsey for pure fun, shame on them.
But salute goes to those who put efforts on making memes that contribute to the fact that this guy choose to heed on the call of the victim rather than turn his back on them.
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