Joe weighs in on MySpace and body fat

Week of July 26, 2006

 Hey Joe: Do you think a sixteen-year-old girl should be allowed to marry that guy from the West Bank who she met on MySpace?

B. Costas, St. Louis

I think that a sixteen-year-old girl can do what she wants, provided that it is legal.

Hey Joe: What is your body fat index?

Howie Mandel, Brentwood, California

I have no idea. But whatever it is, it's incorrect. I refuse to adhere to any medical TV ad that's supposedly a cure for it.

Hey Joe: Why does every network feel the need to add a female sports reporter to every coverage team? I originally thought it was to add diversity, but since they have pretty much fired every black male sports reporter to make room for all the ditzy blond and/or Jewish female reporters they've hired, I would have to say that true diversity has nothing to do with it.

Lesley Mabrey, St. Louis

The "separate but equal" era should shed light on your question. In the first place, it was a lie. No matter what it was intended to mean, whites were not enslaved with blacks. For this reason, the whole concept of it was destroyed. During post-bondage years, the real meaning surfaced with signs bearing the words "Colored/White," which directed both parties to their respective areas when patronizing public accommodations. These signs throughout the South left no doubt as to where their place was. Throughout the North, because of no such signs, blacks had to guess what places would tolerate them. In other words, the signs represented a play on words.

Since you have excluded black males from the jobs and focused upon white females, I have the right answers for you. During the civil rights movement, when demonstrations applied pressure on white establishments to hire blacks where they had never worked before, whites scrutinized black applicants until they found the kind of black that was thought to be acceptable. Because of this, many blacks whose applications more than proved their capabilities retaliated by calling the blacks they employed "tokens." Subsequently, they joked among themselves by saying, "If you're white, you're right; if you're brown, stick around; but if you're black, get back." In reference to the white females, the late, great black comedian Jackie "Moms" Mabley made it more understandable. Standing before the mirror primping one day, she said, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?" The mirror answered by saying, "Snow White, and don't you forget it."

Blacks are yet being played upon by such sayings as "America the melting pot," "multicultural society," "minority," "diverse" and the like.

Prince Joe Henry, one of professional baseball's original "clowns," was an all-star infielder for Negro League baseball teams in Memphis, Indianapolis and Detroit throughout the 1950s. But up until the late 1940s, Prince Joe didn't know anything about the Negro Leagues. His knowledge of organized baseball was limited to the Cardinals and Browns games he attended during his preteen years at Sportsman's Park, accompanied by lifelong buddy Eugene "Gene" Crittendon, who could pass for white.

Perhaps Henry's most vivid memory of those games: Upon entry, white ushers would politely escort the boys to a small section of the left-field stands reserved for "Colored." After climbing past several tiers of bleachers, they'd arrive at their stop, rows and rows behind their white counterparts.

Even at a young age, the boys were conscious of the double standard -- and determined to vent their disdain. The opportunity would arise with the urge to urinate. Rather than head for the latrine, the boys would edge their way to the front of the section and let fly. As the liquid foamed its way down the concrete steps toward the white kids, Henry and his pal would ease back and relax, politely rooting for the visiting team to beat the hell out of the Browns or the Cards.

After all, Henry and Crittendon hailed from Brooklyn, Illinois, a small, predominantly black township just east of the Mississippi River. So hospitable were the residents of Brooklyn that they were known to take in a rank stranger, treat him to breakfast, lunch, supper and a night out on the town -- and afterward, if he messed up, treat him to a good ass-whippin'.

Direct questions on any and all topics to heyjoe@riverfronttimes.com. If we don't like yours, we'll hit Joe with our own.

 
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