By now, many of you recognize the face of the man pictured above – Charles Ramsey.
He made national headlines late last night when he rescued missing Cleveland teenagers, now young women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.
It’s been an excruciating 10-year-old mystery, which eventually turned into another missing teen cold case, but because of an “unlikely” hero named Charles Ramsey, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda’s six-year-old daughter have a second chance at life.
The story of Amanda Berry’s hero should end there, but because of his striking appearance, quick-witted responses to prying journalists, and his meticulous eye for detail, Charles Ramsey has been launched into the webosphere of internet super stardom.
Since the beginning of modern-day media, Americans have been fed storylines and images of the quintessential American hero, none of which look, or quite frankly, sound like Charles Ramsey.
It’s not something any of us should be proud of, but just an observation I’ve made over the years hearing tales of American heroism.
According to American narrative, Charles Ramsey would appear to be the antithesis of a revered American hero, but in fact, he’s just one of countless unsung heroes who go unnoticed.
He’s black, ingenious, extremely candid, honest beyond measure, unfiltered, and despite the qualms surrounding his African-American vernacular, Charles Ramsey is intelligent.
Oh, and he happens to have quite the sense of humor about risking his life to save perfect strangers in need of dire help.
The juxtaposition of Charles Ramsey’s colorful vocabulary not only exhibits that he’s not this “uneducated” black man my sometimes overly sensitive people – black people – and cultural critics are painting him to be, but he instead is a charismatic black man who we all can relate to in one way or another.
The truth is, every black person can admit they know a “Charles Ramsey” or someone just as vibrant and wonderful as him.
Charles Ramsey is not a victim, he is a hero.
It is Mr. Ramsey’s heroism and humble reaction to saving the real victims, Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus, that rekindles my memory of what it means to be a human.
Not a man or a woman, a black person or a white person, but a human being at our most simple and pure form.
Not only did he exhibit the courage to save someone who needed to be saved, but he also defied the odds of typical bystander intervention by actually springing into action without hesitation.
Yes, pointing out his eccentric hair cut or quoting his unintentional one-liners can be seen as poking fun, but it’s people like Charles Ramsey that reminds us that everyday regular people do extraordinary things – regardless of race, class, socioeconomic background, or educational privilege.
I would even make the argument that if Charles Ramsey was a white man sporting a mullet and recounting an unbelievable story with such vibrancy and conviction, that he would also find himself at the forefront of internet stardom – my prime example being Honey Boo Boo, Mama June, and their colorful family. But then again, that may highlight America’s issues of classism.
And I get it, over the course of history, blacks have been subjected to stereotypes involving racism and classism perpetuated by liberal and conservative media, but in this case, Charles Ramsey isn’t some random man on the street reporters are asking to recount a story he witnessed from afar, Charles Ramsey is the savior.
He is one of the reasons why Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda’s daughter will return to the homes of their loving families and attempt to embark on whatever new journey life has to offer.
There will also be many of you who will point out the obvious that this story shouldn’t be about Charles Ramsey, it should be about the young women who were tortured and had their lives stolen for so many years, and I agree. Due to the lack of details and slow developments regarding the case, it’s likely most of us have become distracted.
It’s not an excuse, just a fact.
It’s also a fact that Amanda Berry is just as responsible for her rescue as Charles Ramsey, which is why she’s unfortunately the unsung heroine in this case.
Despite the polarizing opinions of how the media should portray Charles Ramsey, it’s his unbridled courageousness that restored my faith in humanity, so don’t do him a disservice and make him the fifth victim.
To my opposition that suggests I am perpetuating the exploitation of an “uneducated” black man, who is a victim of the “white liberal media” marginalizing his black narrative by depicting his “perceived” ignorance, get off your high horse and your self-righteous bandwagon and realize that even in the depths of darkness, there too, can be light.
Brittany Lewis is the Music Editor at GlobalGrind and a Howard University Alumna. Brittany considers herself seasoned on all the pop culture ish that matters. Follow her on Twitter @Buttercup_B.