Charley Ramsey’s name is on the tip of everyone’s tongues lately, but not everyone agrees on whether or not it is for the right reasons. Ramsey, along with his neighbor Angel Cordero, saved three kidnapped women (Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Georgina DeJesus) along with Berry’s six-year-old child from the home of Ariel Castro who had kidnapped the trio ten years earlier. Berry’s child was presumably fathered by her captor or one of his two brothers who have also been implicated in the crime. Because of Ramsey, the four are now free of what the media is calling the “house of horrors.”
Ramsey was minding his own business and enjoying a Big Mac from McDonald’s when he heard a girl screaming. He rushed from the home and to his neighbor Castro’s home where he was able to free Berry, who then told him that there were more females held captive in the home. 911 was called and the girls were all rescued safely; Castro and his siblings are in custody. This story has become a sensation, not only because Berry, Knight and DeJesus were presumed dead, but because Ramsey has shown the world that he is quite the character.
Ramsey’s unintentionally hilarious description to the news about the rescue almost immediately caught the attention of the masterminds behind Autotune The News, who brought us Bed Intruder. They posted their video of Ramsey’s interview which is absolutely amazing. I love this song so much that I made it my ringtone. My hope is that the Autotune guys give Ramsey the same treatment they gave to Antoine Dodson and give him a portion of the proceeds if this song makes it to iTunes. Ramsey has already stated that any cash rewards he receives related to the rescue will go towards the victims, so it’s safe to say that any iTunes proceeds will go to them as well. He may also be eligible to receive the FBI cash award of $25,000, but that remains to be seen.
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to celebrate the rescue and celebrate the type of attention Ramsey is receiving. Aisha Harris of Slate.com is one who frowns on this trend of finding humor in these accidentally funny interviews. She states: “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. 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.””
Due to the fact that the most witty interviews have come from black people who don’t live in the best areas and who don’t have the greatest jobs, or jobs at all, has led many to believe that the public is preying on low-income blacks in order to get a few cheap laughs at their expense. Both Sweet Brown and Dodson have been featured on Tosh.0, for example, a comedic show that highlights hilarious YouTube clips from all races, countries and genders. Brown and Dodson received the opportunity to capitalize on their fifteen minutes of fame by taking their unintentional funny moment and making it even better. Neither of them seemed bitter, ungrateful, or angry about the fact that eyes were on them; why else would they agree to go on a comedy show and take the joke further?
Unlike Harris from Slate.com, I don’t see this as an issue of race. Since I am an avid viewer of clip shows that feature funny clips from the news and elsewhere, I can see a pretty even distribution across the board as far as race goes. That said, Dodson and Ramsey have given us the best material. The most racist thing I can say is that black people seem to be better at being naturally humorous than white people. I see just as many people of other races get on the news and I just don’t see anyone else coming out with anything that strikes my funny bone. Fox Morning News will show housewives giving awful comments on random events, CNN will show guys at gas stations giving unhelpful feedback, and none of it is funny for the right reasons. If there is any laughter, it’s there because these people sound mentally deficient.
Ben Huh, CEO of the comedic Cheezburger Network, states that “the internet likes to celebrate our heroes. In our own way, this is our celebration of Charles Ramsey.” The various memes and videos of Ramsey have given the Ohio kidnapping case a special attention that it wouldn’t have gotten by itself. Various donation sites have been set up in order to reward Ramsey, money which will go to the victims and not Ramsey per his instructions. Huh went on to say “I’ve seen this happen to every race, every color, every situation. They love this guy, not because he is some funny black man, but because he did something great and didn’t walk away from a bad situation.” If Ramsey was simply a joke, why the outpour of support? Why would people begin to care about this man?
Yes, there are no doubt people out there who think Ramsey is just some uneducated man who made a fool of himself on the news. Those people are wrong. Ramsey did a fantastic thing that should be celebrated in whatever way we can. He saved lives, reunited families, and gave a young child the chance to have a normal life for the first time in six years. He gave this rescue a special attention that touched the hearts of many who are now reaching out to support him and the victims in a way they may not have if he hadn’t been so outspoken. Let’s leave race out of this for once and just be happy that four people are now safe because of the heroic actions of a witty man who did not hesitate to help someone in danger.
Posted on May 10, 2013, in News and tagged amanda berry, angel cordero, ariel castro, charles ramsey, daniel tosh, dead giveaway, georgina dejesus, kidnapping, mcdonalds, michelle knight, race. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.