How did Michael Jackson go from being a proud black man to, well, becoming a “white lady”? Whether it’s you or your kids who are wondering, the Anti-Racist Parent blog has a piece called “Explaining Michael Jackson.”
In “Michael Jackson was a genius and his genius was black”, Nesha Z. Haniff compares how Michael was portrayed in the media to how Brittany Spears and Madonna were treated. “Yes race is central to this, in the way the white media show their racism for making excuses for white celebrities and criminalize Black celebrities.”
Both pieces are as incredibly thoughtful as they are thought-provoking. Was Michael a victim of his childhood, of his fame and fortune, of the vicious media, of a society where even the most famous (black) entertainer in the world couldn’t feel comfortable in his own skin?
2 thoughts on “Michael Jackson, The Victim”
Oh, I don't even know where to begin on this issue. I was born in the midst of Michael Jackson's Thriller hey day and enjoyed his music from a very young age as my older sister was born in the early 70s and transferred that love of his music onto me.
In reading these articles you have linked to and many others over the past couple of days, I'm still uncertain whether racism is solely to blame. While it is doubtful that anyone will ever have the full story on Michael Jackson's life, looking at the Jacksons movie that came out in the early
90s (which still makes appearances on VH1) and that Martin Basheer(sp?) interview that came out in the early 2000's it is probably safe to say that he lived his life a tortured soul. Today I found the lyrics to a song he performed called 'Childhood' (http://www.lyrics007.com/Michael%20Jackson%20Lyrics/Childhood%20Lyrics.html) and it is quite to how he may have felt throughout his life. It is not secret that Joe Jackson raised his children with a heavy hand and wanted them to be famous, noticing their talent early on. I am no psychologist, but it is apparent that to a great extent, MJ's upbringing had a great impact on how he lived his life in later years. Perhaps his family life and upbringing created this self-hatred and weakness that was only magnified through the inevitable racism and public scrutiny he would face in his life.
Racism does not cause a person to go and deform themselves. The media and society's constant focus on “white is right” and beautiful does not necessarily cause a person to hate who they are, especially if you have an innate self-love nurtured by family or other environmental/social forces. There was something truly unfortunate about his life, and the more I read, the more saddened I become at this person who was probably really not as bad as the media previously made him out to be. But there is no question that MJ was clearly confused about who is was…and I'm uncertain if that was totally his fault.
Not to play Devils Advocate but are we certain Debbie Rowe is a halachic Jew? We shouldnt conclude one is a Jew just because they say they are, even if we want them to be. Like Austin powers said, “And I want a golden toilet but its just not in the bag baby”
I would need to see a golden toilet before I believed someone who said they had one. Likewise unfortunately we live in a society where peoples Jewish status isnt a forgone conclusion. Peoples definitions of who is a Jew are too vast. And as an orthodox Jew I just cant accept anything less then what the Torah says. Why do I have reason for suspicion? Well I am glad you asked! Aliza, where your article finished the Jerusalem compost continued. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1245924953365&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
'Iris Finsilver, Rowe's attorney, who previously confirmed that her client was Jewish, told The Associated Press she was certain Rowe would seek custody of the two children.
At the time that Rowe's Jewishness was first made public, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, at that time a close friend of Jackson, expressed his astonishment.
“It seems incredible to me that Michael Jackson would not have told me that Prince and Paris are Jewish, unless he did not know,” Boteach said. “It's possible that Michael never knew that Debbie Rowe is Jewish. I don't know that she is a committed Jew, that would have evidenced itself in any particular way. But since the children are Jewish, they should be raised Jewish.” '
So in conclusion I think the jury is still out on her Halachic Jewishness.
DJC Da Jewish Critic