Charles Ramsey is a hero. At least in my eyes. In case you don’t know, Mr. Ramsey was the guy who helped rescue three kidnapped women who had been missing for years: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. Also rescued was a young child said to be Amanda Berry’s daughter.
According to a recent TWiB podcast, Charles Ramsey quickly became an internet meme (yeah his interview is already auto tuned, sigh) and was subject to ridicule and derision based mostly on his exuberant live on-air television interview at the scene. Shades of Antoine Dodson.
At issue is are many things. What seemed to bother the TWiB hosts – and me too – the most, was that the status of Ramsey as a hero, and the amazing feat he accomplished became pushed aside and the focus has gone instead to criticisms of the way he talks, how he was dressed and his hairstyle.
Aside from our internet and social media saturated society, the reasons for why this sort of thing happens are also many. When an individual does not fit our preconceived notions of what a “hero” should look and sound like, when what and who pop culture says a “hero” is supposed to be and reality don’t add up.
If you come from a marginalized segment of the population that is othered on a consistent basis, if your education is less than stellar, if you aren’t articulate in the lingua franca, you don’t get to be a considered a hero.
I did a google images search using just the word hero, and the results were very interesting. Aside from having to wade through tons of images of a gorgeous K-Pop star – named Hero apparently – one of the first images pulled up was this:
Superman and even the mild-mannered Clark Kent would not be subject to the same ridicule and criticism that Charles Ramsey is right now. Not to mention, that the hahaha isn’t he ridiculous and funny has now turned ugly, with the media digging up his past and engaging in some sort of smear campaign.
And speaking of campaigns. Mr. Ramsey isn’t running for office, or even putting himself forward as anything other than just an average person like you and me. He’s just a regular joe schmoe who was kicking it on his day off and instead of ignoring a disturbance he heard from next door, he went over to see if he could help. That is what heroes do. They run towards danger, the unknown, even while thinking the situation could be bad, or dangerous, they still go and see if they can help out.
And because he didn’t stop to put on his Sunday best, comb his hair, run out and get speech lessons and some more education and throw on a cape before going to rescue those women, he his an object of derision, ridicule and someone that is deemed ok to make fun of.
A hero isn’t always some articulate white guy with a chiseled jaw. A hero is not always someone who comes up smelling like roses after a background check. A hero is someone who overcomes their past, and through their positive actions in the present, show what kind of person they have become. Someone despite what they have done in the past and who they used to be, now makes different choices – choices that saved four human lives from captivity, rape and possibly even death.
And you know what? A lot of these people jumping on the bashing bandwagon need to take a seat. Their own background checks might not turn out to be so very awesome either. And shame on those people for even digging around in the first place. Why? To sell more papers, get more clicks?
Sorry, well, my convictions are always strong ones. I’m not going to let some mean-spirited media hack change my mind about Charles Ramsey. Ordinary guy with an ordinary person’s complicated life and yet he still stepped up to the plate and did the right thing.
This is real life, not some comic book or movie. We don’t get to pick and choose who our heroes are. Heroes happen. When ordinary individuals step outside of themselves and do that one amazing thing.
I don’t care what anyone says: Charles Ramsey is a HERO.