Op-Ed: Overtones of racism in Ohio kidnapping rescue?

Posted May 8, 2013 by Stephen Morgan
Comments by the police and others give me the impression that the key role of Charles Ramsey in the rescue of the kidnapping victims in Ohio is being played down because of his color.
Ccharles Ramsey
Ccharles Ramsey
no name
According to the Daily Mail, Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at a press conference yesterday that. 'The real hero here is Amanda,' adding 'She came out of that house and that started it all.' According to Global News, the comment was also made by America’s Most Wanted host, John Walsh, in a TV interview, who said that she is “the real hero here.” While there may have been no racist intentions, the statements are being headlined in the media and this is reinforcing the impression that Charles Ramsey played a secondary role in events.
There is absolutely no doubt about the heroism of Amanda and the other girls, but all the original reports of what happened, and how Amanda got out, show that “she came out of that house,” only because Charles Ramsey broke down the door. When he arrived at the scene, Amanda was stuck and could only get a hand out through a gap and was screaming for help from inside. By saying 'She came out of that house and that started it all,' Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba is giving the impression that she got out by herself and Mr Ramsey did very little. The courage of Amanda Berry was tremendous, but it was Mr Ramsey who kicked the door down and rescued her and the others.
Let's not forget that Ramsey was taking an enormous risk. He had no idea that the suspect was not in the house or whether he would be confronted by someone with a gun. Anyone who breaks into a home risks his life. Ramsey had no way to know what would confront him. He said that he thought it was a case of domestic violence, but he still ran the risk of being shot as an intruder.
Moreover, the truth is that Ramsey was in even more danger because he was a black man. An Afro-American would always be considered a more menacing threat than a white man. Yet he didn't hesitate, when many others might have ignored the cries or at best called the police, as others had done, when suspicious events took place around the house, such as a woman crawling naked in the back garden. This could have been a life or death situation inside the house and Charles Ramsey didn't hesitate to risk his own life to help them.
An article by Brett Wilkins in Digital Journal yesterday showed that Ramsey himself recognized the problems blacks face in American society, when he quite innocently said, “ I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. 'Cause either she's homeless, or got problems. That's the only reason why she's running to a black man!"
None of this may have been intentional by the Cleveland Deputy Police Chief or John Walsh, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth and has the effect of diminishing the role of an Afro-American. Ramsey is a hero, just as the women were, but it would have been better to say that all those involved were real heroes, rather than pointing to one person at the expense of another.
As Heather Long says in the Guardian “Charles Ramsey, is rightly ...hailed as a hero. He's the one who noticed Amanda Berry screaming for help and ran over and kicked the door down so she could escape. It's hard not to like Ramsey. He retells the story to the news media with calm and "ya know what I mean?" candor.”