Joe gives Obama some advice for '08.

Week of February 8, 2007

Feb 7, 2007 at 4:00 am
Hey Joe: Do you think Barack Obama has a chance, or will people not support him because he's half black?

George Allen, Mount Vernon, Virginia

As for the part of your question regarding Obama's blackness, no matter how hard blacks have tried to forget about it, America will not allow it to happen. This goes for blacks who, if trying to avoid being black, are quickly reminded of it not only by more affluent whites, but also by those on welfare. Ask O.J. Simpson. Rush Limbaugh recently began spreading poison by alerting his audience that Obama's middle name is Hussein.

The political hype was on. Television stations began playing up Hillary Clinton as a white woman and Barack Obama as a black man vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. What hasn't been said is that Sojourner Truth, a black female abolitionist and feminist who escaped enforced slavery, fought for women's rights after blacks were released. At the time of this occurrence, the Democratic party was referred to as the "party of the solid South." Since then the black man and white woman have been the most scrutinized individuals in the land, and both have been hurt severely.

Now, since all the control and myths have been destroyed, two people with political savvy have the potential to face each other in a Democratic primary showdown. But wait — politics is a vicious game. Hillary is being blamed for voting to give Bush the power of going to war or not. So what?! It was left up to his discretion. She can't be blamed for that. The intelligence report he received was secondhand. He should have read every single word of it before making a decision, and if there was anything he disliked, it should have been trashed. Otherwise, he took somebody else's word. Each time I write an article and something is wrong on my part, it is my fault and nobody else can be blamed.

Hillary is a magnificent woman. In my book, her greatest triumph was when she refused to allow anyone to persuade her to destroy her husband during his lowest ebb.

Obama has proven to be everything that wasn't supposed to be afforded a black man. All of a sudden it is said that he is inexperienced. Look back over the American presidents and find how many of those were inexperienced about the condition of blacks. Every time I see Obama, a child of black and white parents, I think about what some of these hypocritical country people say: "I don't mind a black man and white woman being together, but what about the children?"

Obama is in a unique position to step back and let Hillary run. He could very well say, "I believe I will gain a bit more experience to make the way clear for her." He doesn't have to be president to exercise his moral values. He has already placed his hand on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, which has destroyed (and continues to destroy) his people. As a senator he can fight for the abolishment of unjust laws. If he should lose his seat in trying to succeed, then he'll know how the voters in Illinois and the country feel toward him. Though if not successful, he would have accomplished so much in such little time. The Clintons are deserving of this not because of what President Clinton did for blacks, but for the compassion the family gave to the world.

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'.

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