Carl W. Kenney II is an award winning columnist and novelist. He is committed to engaging readers into a meaningful discussion related to matters that impact faith and society. He grapples with pondering the impact faith has on public space while seeking to understand how public space both hinders and enhances the walk of faith.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Charles Ramsey: America's ghetto hero
That man can’t be a hero.It can’t be true.Look at him.Listen closely.Nope.It can’t be true.
That’s the underlying message that jumps at me when I
begin pondering the aftermath of the discovery of America’s newest hero –
Charles Ramsey.He’s black.He uses colorful language.Some are quick to call Ramsey the epitome of
all things ghetto.
I hate that term.
Maybe it’s because the Nazis’ placed Jews in areas
called ghettos to isolate them from the rest of society.Once World War II progressed, the ghettos
became a transition area before sending the Jews off to be slaughtered.
Ghetto is a place of isolation prepared by those in
power to assure their existence devoid of those unruly misfits. It’s why I hate
it when I hear a person of color glamorize being ghetto. I squirmed when listening to Jaheim sing Still Ghetto. The R&B crooner
stirred the black citizenry to take pride for being relegated to life in the
Ghetto is more than a zip code, it’s a mindset.The truth is ghetto thinking can transcend
ones address.Ghetto is often found in
the suburbs and shows up in places that have me shaking my head and rolling
Ghetto is living entrapped by the mindset of those who
place you in isolation.It’s an
infrastructure and culture, established by white privilege and power, with the
unspoken intent of keeping folks confined.The ghetto is more than language and a combination of rituals that brew
in the forming of a culture.It’s a
freaking waiting station.
Yes, it’s a place created to keep certain people restrained
before they are shipped off to die.It
happens every day.Every day, all 365 of
them, people prepare to leave the ghetto to head to court before being shipped
to those concentration camps.We call
The parallels between the ghettos of Nazi Germany and
those of black and brown communities of today are startling.Each is designed to control those in the
camps.Each is enforced by economic strangleholds
rooted in a racist agenda.
Although both are deliberate, the ghettos of today
appear as the construction of the actions of those living in those
ghettos.In other words, they deserve
what they get.It’s their fault. Those
poor, pathetic heathens need to pull themselves up from their own bootstraps.
That’s what power and privilege thinks.
This is why the rhetoric surrounding the heroism of
Charles Ramsey is so critical in probing and confronting the massive
assumptions related to ghetto culture.
In the mind of those on the other side of the invisible
fence dividing the ghetto, heroes can’t be nurtured over there.It’s counterintuitive to the claims of those
invested in espousing the lore of ghetto culture.
The traffic of dialogue embodies the fortification of
the pigeonholes of black and brown folks.Presentations of ghetto folks singing, dancing, eating fried chicken,
pork chops, ribs and watermelon while smoking weed and waiting for a place to
rob fits authentic ghetto life.
Nope. They’re not heroes.
So, expose the clown for who he really is, because
that fool can’t be a hero. Find the dent in his armor. Follow his black behind
long enough to unearth his ghetto ways.Shake the leaves and wait for a bunch of dead apples to fall off the
Well surprise, surprise, surprise.Your ghetto hero has a criminal record.Yup! He belongs in the ghetto with the rest
of those no count niggras who need to remain over there because they are a
threat to fine outstanding citizens like you and me.
Listen to the guards pulling Ramsey back into his
ghetto space. Ramsey has a criminal record.He has a history of domestic abuse. They have exposed the ghetto hero as
a repeat domestic abuser.He was
arrested again while awaiting sentencing.
He served six months in jail and was placed on five
years of probation. One of the gatekeepers pulled the file from 1997.
Listen to the elitist choir singing – ghetto, thug, no
count, worthless, piece of black trash. You’re no hero.You’re just like the rest of them!
Maybe I’m embellishing a bit much, but, well, are my
comments really that far from the truth?
“When a young, pretty white woman runs into the arms
of a Black man you know something wrong,” Ramsey said in his interview with the
Let me translate for those not familiar with the
ghetto.“You don’t see white girls come
to the hood.When you do, they run from
men who look like me.Something ain’t
right when they hug a black man.That don’t
happen in the ghetto.”
Got it?A black
man from the ghetto can’t be a hero.
There’s one big problem with that assumption.Charles Ramsey kicked the door of the ghetto
down and set three women free.