Charles is keeping it real!
“I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. Either she’s homeless or she’s got problems. That’s the only reason”.
Charles Ramsey is an African American man with a slightly chequered past and even more curious future. Wearing a questionable hairstyle, and slightly bruk out teeth. Who works as a ‘dish technician’ and possesses a raw accent straight out of Comedy Central. This imperfect human is our hero. This type of man is a man we should respect and not ridicule.
Ramsey has shown the world that a man with good honest intentions can educate us in simple terms as to the truism of the good Samaritan and although his words may have made the world laugh his words also made the hairs on the neck stand up as he made people question race politics in Obama’s America. Ramsey has unwittingly opened up the race debate, with Obama sidestepping racialized issues throughout his tenure.
Ohio has had the spotlight of race politics shone on it before. When Obama first ran for Presidency back in 2008, an Ohio resident placed a burning effigy of the incumbent President on his lawn. And when Obama ran again in 2102 a racist message was left at the Labour offices responsible for his Ohio campaign, espousing murder and torture.
Whilst many applauded Ramsey’s actions there will be some who would be saying ‘No, Not me brother! No way, no how!’ As Ramsey delivered his comedic repartee, I could imagine the discussions that were kick-started in African American homes like – ‘what would you have done daddy?’ or ‘Don’t you dare run to no screaming white girl’s house…’
When Ramsey looks at the camera and tells us in his own illuminating way how racist parts of America still are, despite him having a job, despite eating where all the folks eat, he is our Dubois recognising that ‘the problem of the colour line’ has never left.
The fact that in a country where an African American man can be shot walking past a neighbours house armed with nothing more than a bag of skittles Ramsey’s directedness and unfazed quality was a joy to behold and despite he and the Cleveland police downplaying his courageous, actions his heroism is plain to see. The fact that he went towards the voice of a white screaming female is something many of us might have avoided, opting instead to find the nearest white guy to play Columbo. But Ramsey led with his heart and not with his head, the ‘maidens’ were saved and the film scripts are being drafted.
Whilst there are no longer cross burnings, there are smouldering racial issues in many parts of suburban America, where black and white often work side by side but rarely do they worship, fish or shoot hoops together.
This small town man, with a big, brave, heart has made people look at themselves again. He will be under the microscope and spiders may well come from closets as some have alluded to in regards to his brush with the authorities and those who want to paint him as a buffoon type character.
But Ramsey has stated that he does not want the reward money, instead instructing authorities to donate the money to the found girls and their families. Hero.
We will watch this space to see if this downtown, upscale man will ride high on the wave of America’s love affair with the ‘unlikely hero’ or see him fall due to America’s, inability to truly love the black man.
Article by Orville Kunga aka @kungadred