The troubling viral trend of the “hilarious” Black poor person
May 7, 2013
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 and cameos in other viral videos, even commercials.
It’s difficult to watch these videos and not sense that their popularity has something to do with a persistent, if unconscious, desire to see black people perform. Even before the genuinely heroic Ramsey came along, some viewers had expressed concern that the laughter directed at people like Sweet Brown plays into the most basic stereotyping of blacks as simple-minded ramblers living in the “ghetto,” socially out of step with the rest of educated America. Black or white, seeing Clark and Dodson merely as funny instances of random poor people talking nonsense is disrespectful at best. And shushing away the question of race seems like wishful thinking.
Ramsey is particularly striking in this regard, since, for a moment at least, he put the issue of race front and center himself. Describing the rescue of Amanda Berry and her fellow captives, he says, “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!”
The candid statement seems to catch the reporter off guard; he ends the interview shortly afterward. And it’s notable that among the many memorable things Ramsey said on camera, this one has gotten less meme-attention than most. Those who are simply having fun with the footage of Ramsey might pause for a second to actually listen to the man. He clearly knows a thing or two about the way racism prevents us from seeing each other as people.
Now that you know this is a thing, please stop sharing these memes. Poor Black people speaking candidly about various serious incidents isn’t a hilarious joke.
Thank you so much for posting this.
The red flags of quackery, from http://sci-ence.org/
[NOAH News] It has been announced that Naomichi Marufuji will miss the next scheduled shows on April 16th and 17th. It seems NOAH is holding off on making an announcement to if he will miss the rest of the GLOBAL TAG LEAGUE tour, but his next scheduled “GTL block match” is not until April 20th when him and Sugiura take on Nicholls & Haste.
As I announced in yesterday’s results, Marufuji suffered the injury to his right knee in his scheduled 6 man tag match. The source I spoke to said that he suffered the injury when he was sliding out of the ring.
Marufuji is scheduled to compete in the Ring of Honor wrestling early next month, but as of this time things seem to be optimistic that the injury may not be that severe. I will do my best to keep you all posted when more information is released.
Submit your Sexy Geek Pics here.
She is a babe
Wish I was there
I am OBVIOUSLY at the wrong party.
In September of 1829 slavery was prohibited in Mexico. Because the politically connected Texans were outraged, one month later, the law was changed to allow slavery only in Texas. A few months later in early 1830, Mexico altered its policy under a new government that was less interested in catering to Texas. Mexico passed a law that prohibited further American settlement, and banned importation of additional slaves into Texas. The Mexican abolition movement, following the pattern seen around the world, had apparently pressured for more restrictions. This was a strict proviso, but for the Texans it was survivable, as they already had thousands of slaves within Mexico. The law must have created difficulties for the Texans and been a great source of irritation to them as they worked to develop their slave labour based agricultural economy. There were other grievances by this time, such as the amount of taxes the Texans were required to pay, but none struck home so much as the “bread and butter” issue of slavery. Without it, the Texans could not make a profit and ultimately would be out of business.
As the American population of Texas grew increasingly disgruntled with the various restrictions imposed by Mexico, an independence movement developed led by Stephen Austin. He presented a petition for independence to the Mexican government in 1833, and was then arrested and jailed until 1835. In 1835, there were about 20,000 Texans and 4000 slaves in Texas. In December of 1835 the newly crowned dictator General Antonio Santa Anna amended the slavery laws to ban slavery in Texas.
The settlers and their newly freed leader Austin quickly announced that they would secede from Mexico. To the great dismay of the Texans, however, in December of 1835 President Santa Ana extended the slavery ban to Texas to appease Mexican abolitionists. The Texans immediately rebelled and declared that they were seceded from Mexico, and declared the Republic of Texas. One of their first actions was to ban free blacks from the Republic. Not content with the possibility of withdrawing from Texas, the Texans enlisted the help of citizens of the United States in order to preserve slavery and the huge tracts of cotton growing land. This resulted in the famous siege and battle at the Alamo, a Catholic mission taken over by the Texans.
Remembering The Alamo was just as much about slavery as it was about Texas freedom from the slave abolishing country of Mexico (via thehuskybro)
Just when I think nobody reads any of my posts, somebody will go digging through the crates and find something and prove me wrong.
Thanks for that and pass it on!
Remember: the “liberal” city I live in was NAMED after this dude.
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