On the Internet nothing seems to go better together than a charismatic, black neighbor and a meme. The most recent black neighbor to fall victim to this trend is Charles Ramsey.
Ramsey made the news when he helped rescue three missing women in Cleveland, but when his newscast interview went viral, he turned into an Internet celebrity.
Ramsey was eating his McDonald’s when he saw Amanda Berry, a woman who was presumed dead, yelling and trying to get out of the house she was in. Ramsey kicked down the locked door, called the police and helped save three women who had disappeared years ago.
The three women were held captive against their will and were tortured by Ariel Castro, a man who Ramsey had lived next to for a year.
Ramsey’s eccentric personality quickly caught the eye of millions surfing the Web and rightfully so. Ramsey was completely himself in front of the camera and is a funny guy.
Soon Ramsey’s face and quotes were everywhere, but somewhere in the video, as it was being passed along, the real reason why Ramsey was being interviewed in the first place was lost. People seemed to forget why the “pretty little white girl” was running into the black man’s arms. Soon memes and out of context screenshots were turned into Internet jokes. The expected autotuned version of his interview came next, one of the oldest jokes on Youtube.
Once Ramsey’s interview was autotuned and received over 10 million views on YouTube, it all seemed like the same situation Antoine Dodson went through.
Dodson’s rise to Internet fame came from a local news interview where Dodson gave his famous “Hide your kids, hide your wife” quote. But do you remember what he said at the beginning of the interview? When he was recollecting the events that occurred the night before Dodson told the news station that he rushed into his sister’s room after he heard her scream and found a man trying to rape his sister.
Dodson fought the man off and saved his sister from becoming a victim of rape. You would not know that if you only saw the autotuned version of the interview.
It is hard to tell if this trend will ever go away. The hilarious black neighbor has outlived acts like Psy, Tay Zonday and Rebecca Black.
The trend of autotuning these men has not only become obnoxious, but also offensive. It has become a trend that pokes fun at lower class African Americans.
It is easy to laugh at the news interviews that these charismatic men give, but the auto tuned versions are cringe worthy. These are funny men and have personalities that attract laughs, but when is the line crossed from when we are laughing with someone to when we are laughing at someone’s economic class and race?
When we lose focus on why these people are in the news in the first place and we mock them rather than praise them there is a bigger issue present than just these jokes existing.