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Shameful Internet Trend: Mocking Charles Ramsey, Other ‘Hilarious’ Black Neighbors

Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue three Cleveland women presumed dead after going missing a decade ago, has become an instant Internet meme.

It’s hardly surprising—the interviews he gave yesterday provide plenty of fodder for a viral video, including memorable soundbites (“I was eatin’ my McDonald’s”) and lots of enthusiastic gestures. But as Miles Klee and Connor Simpson have noted, Ramsey’s heroism is quickly being overshadowed by the public’s desire to laugh at and autotune his story, and that’s a shame.

 Ramsey has become the latest in a fairly recent trend of “hilarious” black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a “colorful” style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.

Before Ramsey, there was Antoine Dodson, who saved his younger sister from an intruder, only to wind up famous for his flamboyant recounting of the story to a reporter. Since Dodson’s rise to fame, there have been others: Sweet Brown, a woman who barely escaped her apartment complex during a fire last year, and Michelle Clarke, who couldn’t fathom the hailstorm that rained down in her hometown of Houston, and in turn became “the next Sweet Brown.”

Granted, the buzzworthy tactic of reporters interviewing the most loquacious witnesses to a crime or other event is nothing new, and YouTube has countless examples of people of all ethnicities saying ridiculous things. One woman, for instance, saw fit to casually mention her breasts while discussing a local accident, while another man described a car crash with theatrical flair…

Earlier this year, a “hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” named Kai matched Dodson’s fame with his astonishing account of rescuing a woman from a racist attacker. But none of those people have been subjected to quite the same level of derisive memeification as Brown, Clark, and now, perhaps, Ramsey—the inescapable echoes of “Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife!” and “Kabooyaw,” the tens of millions of YouTube hits andcameos in other viral videos, even commercials…

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One thought on “Shameful Internet Trend: Mocking Charles Ramsey, Other ‘Hilarious’ Black Neighbors

  1. Rebecca Pollitt Hall says:

    Everyone has a past….. according to the article it appears Mr. Ramsey paid his debt to society for his crime. Possibly he has seen the error in his ways, possibly he changed. What better way to right a wrong than to assist someone that is need. I can’t believe the MEDIA once again has to dig up dirt on someone who was simply doing something for the greater good. Many wonder why people don’t want to get involved…….. The article is the exact reason! This man deserves his 15 minutes…. leave him alone. It’s my opinion that he is owed a big THANK YOU! As anyone can recognize from the news reports the area is a poor working class neighborhood. To mock this man is shameful, it’s more than shameful, it’s classless!

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