Charles Ramsey is a hero without qualification. He saw someone in peril and acted, kicking in his neighbor’s door to help a woman and a child who were strangers to him. This assertive and proactive conduct led to the rescue of three young women missing for a decade. Yet because Ramsey is unrepentantly expressive in the manner of his community and peer group, and is not the typical white, middle class American who tends to dominate the internet, videos of his account of the event, replete with colorful slang and vernacular and his own expressive flourishes, have become objects of mockery and ridicule on the web, with a nasty racist edge. He is now a viral meme, especially his signature quote about knowing something is wrong when “a little pretty white girl” runs into “a black man’s arms.”
Wrong. I love Ramsey, and love his open, clear, emotional, story-teller’s manner. He is articulate in the true spirit of the word—interesting, vivid, clear and genuine. John Kerry should communicate so well. Mitch McConnell should hire him as a coach. If Al Sharpton could convey such sincerity, we’d all be in trouble.
If, a month or so from now, Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy want to do a Charles Ramsey impression in the spirit of fun, fine: I’m sure Ramsey will laugh along. Right now, however, we owe this good and decent man respect and dignity, not cheap shots. He’s a role model in all the ways that count, and those who are making fun of hims now merely demonstrate their warped priorities and lack of values. Nobody mocked the heroes who emerged from the Boston Marathon bombing, and anyone who did would have become an instant pariah. Charles Ramsey deserves no less consideration.
Show him the respect he deserves, and let those who do otherwise know that they are behaving like jerks.
Pointer: Alexander Cheezem