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June 30th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Michael Jackson on race – his race

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson/art.michael.jackson.gi.jpg]

Carmen Van Kerckhove | BIO
Race and Diversity Consultant
President, New Demographic

I got a call yesterday morning from a radio show producer asking if I thought it hypocritical for African-Americans to celebrate Michael Jackson as a black man, since it seems to many people that he spent most of his life turning himself white.

She stopped short of calling Jackson a race traitor, but the implication was clear. And it did get me thinking about the strange role that race played - and didn't play - in Jackson’s life and career.

Race is never simple, especially when it comes to a complex artist like Michael Jackson.

Jackson often expressed in his music a hopefulness - “It don’t matter if you’re black or white” - about race relations that many found naïve. And yet had no qualms about using anti-Semitic lyrics in his song “They Don’t Care About Us” - "Jew me/Sue me/Everybody do me/Kick me/Kike me."

We will never know what drove Jackson to alter his appearance so drastically during his adult life. Jackson said that he suffered from vitiligo, a condition that eliminates pigment from skin leaving white blotches. His dermatologist and others close to Jackson, including Deepak Chopra, have also said he had vitiligo, even though many people have expressed doubt about it, fueling debate over whether Jackson was "trying to be white."

But what about the plastic surgery, the nose, the hair, and other obviously altered aspects of his appearance? On our blog Racialicious, Readers have been speculating about whether he was driven by internalized racism or something else: an extreme form of artistic expression, an obsessive desire to fix one's appearance called "body dysmorphic disorder," or a desire to erase any resemblance to Joe Jackson, his abusive father.

One of the best insights we have into Jackson’s emotional life is a television interview he did with Oprah Winfrey in 1993. He admitted then to being a perfectionist and added, “I'm never pleased with myself. No, I try not to look in the mirror.”

Whatever drove this apparent self-loathing, I don’t believe we can separate race from the equation. Race cannot be separated with precision from body dysmorphic disorder, hatred of his tyrannical father, or any potentially relevant theory being discussed right now.

Why?

Because if he hated his body, he was hating a black man’s body. If he hated his father, he was hating a black man. Race ran through it all; we cannot and should not dismiss its effect.

Does that mean we should take the alterations he made to his appearance as evidence that he hated being black?

Not necessarily.

Apart from the changes to his physical appearance, there is little compelling evidence that Michael Jackson tried to distance himself from the African-American community.

From Wesley Snipes in “Bad” to Eddie Murphy and Iman in “Remember the Time,” Jackson consistently featured black actors and models in his music videos. He also collaborated frequently with black producers such as Quincy Jones, Teddy Riley, and Rodney Jerkins, as well as with black recording artists such as Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, and R. Kelly.

And unlike some other celebrities who express unease with racial or ethnic labels, there was never a parcel of equivocation when he talked about his racial identity.

In fact, during the same interview with Oprah, Jackson stated emphatically: “I'm a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”

So was Michael Jackson a unique contradiction in terms? Is it possible to be filled with racial pride and self-loathing at the same time?

Of course it is. Race is a complicated thing.

My mother, for instance, is a fiercely nationalistic Chinese woman, to the point of near-bigotry. She rarely misses an opportunity to throw a spotlight on the supposed superiority of Chinese culture and often claims that the Chinese people were inventing gunpowder, paper money, and printing presses at a time when Europeans were still living in caves.

Yet as a teenager, this same woman collected photos of Caucasian babies and longed to have white children. She eventually married a European man and went on to have three biracial daughters - including me.

Like Jackson, my mother suffered verbal and physical abuse from her father - a compulsive gambler who once pawned the wedding ring he gave his own wife to pay off his debts.

Of course, not all racial self-hatred can be traced back to an abusive childhood. Each of our individual histories and the histories of our ancestors act in concert to shape who we become and what we value. And when personal histories are complex (as most are), they often result in a racial identity that is equally complex and sometimes even contradictory.

A rush to judgment accusing Michael Jackson of being a race traitor is unfair to the complexity of his life. Unless we take sufficient time to develop an understanding and empathy for his story, it’s easy to make simplistic claims or assumptions about why he wanted to change his appearance.

From what I have been able to discover, Michael was not trying to erase his race; he was trying to get comfortable with his face. He wanted, as we all do, to love the man in the mirror. Why he never did, we’ll never know.

Millions of people around the world loved the man who wore that face, no matter how many times it changed over the years. Had he known that, perhaps he would have left well enough alone.

soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. Karina H.

    Hello Anderson,
    Thank you for great reporting and continuos coverage on MJ.

    Just a few thoughts that keep coming to my mind about the greatest entertainer of all times. I can't get over the saddenes, not only of Michael's premature passing, but the pain he went through living.
    Despite the fact, that so many of us loved him, he wasn't happy:(
    How sad and paradoxic is that, being admired and loved by millions, he actually couldn't love himself? It seems that the childhood abuse combined with his extraordinary sensitivity (granted only to those most creative and genius) left him scarred and tormented for life.
    He desperately seeked approval of his parents (read: father), those who are suppose to love unconditionally, but to na avail.
    Millions of supporters and fans couldn't measure with the most important figure he tried to please.

    On that note: Joe Jackson is absolutely disgraceful. In first interview after Michael's passing, he speaks of Michael as a international superstar, not his son, child that he grieves. I didn't sense a note of saddeness in his tone. No wonder Michael died of broken heart:(

    I pray that Michael's beautiful soul finally finds peace and happiness in the better place!

    Michael, you are loved, admired and terribly missed! FOREVER!
    You will forever live in our hearts!

    June 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  2. Laurie

    Joe Jackson displayed greed, ignorance, lack of respect for his own son, and self promotion on the red carpet...all the same reasons Michael distanced himself from his father. There is no way in hell that Michael Jackson would want his children to be associated, especially raised, by his father. I would not even allow my dogs to be anywhere within a 5 mile radius of that abusive man. Michael's kids are far more intelligent and educated than Joe Jackson. Let us pray that they are not permanently placed in the care of Katherine Jackson who obviously cannot stand up to that greedy self serving man she unfortunately chose to marry.

    My main prayer now is that Michael knew Jesus and knew that Jesus loved him for just being Michael. Jesus does not care about money, looks, talent, or public opinion! I expect to see Michael in heaven where he should be...public opinion, world posessions do not matter in the end..only accepting Jesus as your savior.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  3. chris

    ok.. he had talent but enough is enough. I really think that we are spending too much time on him. We need to get back to the real news..

    June 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  4. Teresa, OH

    I dont think there was anything anti black about Michael changing his appearance. I think he simply did not relate to being a black Michael, much the same way that some people dont relate to not being a brunette and they dye their hair blond.... not being able to relate to going bald and they get new hair.... fake boobs, fake implants for muscles, chins, fake nails, the list goes on and on. Michael couldnt see himself as a black man and living a black mans life.

    I am a little perplexed at him wearing lipstick and I have wondered if while at home he put on the full armor of the white Michael... hair, eyebrows, face makeup and lipstick. I wonder if he ever permitted himself to simply be Michael?

    Double edged sword: such talent- such torment.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  5. Leila Teverbaugh

    I am concerned about the things that was said about Micheal and his trials. I saw sum photos of Micheal and Quincy Jones on the news, why is a teenager sitting on a grown mans lap. There were know concerns about this partic ular photo at the time. Have anybody ever thought that Micheal Jackson was a victim of abuse when he was growning up. People should be more concern about his children than what others did to his character.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  6. Pudding

    Why is it that people comes up with a bunch of bull when someone dies? I feel that some are missing the BIG PICTURE. When we bleed, the color is red. Where ever we spend eternity, it won't be separated for black, white, or any other color or race. Micheal has done so much in his time here that were good. He have changed so much for our music industry. Can we at least be happy about that? I doubt it, but, we actually have people that love this man dearly. Not worrying about his apperance because that was short-term looks, nor his race, but looking at his heart. You have people all over this world celebrating his life. So, it must mean that they didn't care if he felt he was black or white; they loved him for who he was. Just because we are born black or white or whatever, doesn't mean one thing. You have black people that don't like blacks, and the same goes with every other race that is known to man. Point blank, we are all just apart of the human race. Hopefully we realize it before we are gone. And why when Micheal said his Dad beat him with a belt or a switch, he didn't get arrested for child abuse?

    June 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Ben

    It is sad to me the attention that the news is given to this, why do people care so much when there is so much pain in the world – poverty,crime, war, abuse. I think the people who feel that this is what the news should reflect need to wake up and look around at what else is going on in the world, this is ridiculous.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Rebekah

    He didn't hate his race. If you watched any of his interviews you would have known that. He refered himself as a black man. If you really care as to what he thought . You probably should have asked when he was alive. Let him rest for God's Sake!

    June 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  9. Tisha

    Michael was diagnosed with Vitiligo in 1993. It is an auto-immune disorder in which the pigment of the skin is left with blotchy white patches. It is very traumatizing. I know, I was diagnosed when I was I was 5 years old. Michael dealt with this pain by bleaching the rest of his skin so that he was all one color. That is an option that dermatologist give you. Vitiligo is more noticible on an African-American. It upsets me so much listening to everyone condemning this wonderful human being who is no longer with us anymore. It does not matter what he looked like. He transended race and borders. Everyone loved this gentle kind soul. I wish everyone would stop being so shallow and leave him to peace for once. I love you Michael! RIP.........

    June 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Bill-li-0

    When a person is born, he will have to go through the path of getting old (Aging), have some illness, and definitely faces death.
    When that person died, people used to use, "Sudden and Unexpected Death." Actually, since everybody is expected to die this should not be "Unexpected."
    Cause of death, mostly have to be natural, suicides, accidents or homicide. Over dosage of any medication–is not natural but the other three. People are all concentrating on drugs.
    At this time, Dr. Gardner was explaining on CNN about Tylenol being major cause of liver damage (acts cellular level). So any other medication added may potentiate the effect of Tylenol–taking without knowing is accidental; taking them purposely by self is suicide; giving them knowing the consequences will be "homicidal".
    Okay what happens if toxicology report of MJ came without any overdose.
    Can MJ die of naturally? According to the "Hulk", he met MJ a month ago and was very fit. MJ can die of Exhaustion–leaving postmortem nothing much to report. If MJ had aches & pain a few days ago, he may have viral infection–may die of Viral Myocarditis.
    Can the cause of death be "Unascertainable?" There could be a spasm of the coronary arteries (supplying the heart muscle), not enough to produce any damage to be seen in postmortem.
    So let's just wait and see and pray. MAY MJ REST IN PEACE.
    Correct me if I am wrong and excuse me if you don't like tnis comments.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    I'm not black or white, & I feel like Michael belong to everyone, & no matter how much he change, I saw it as a unique, unmatched, & if that's what he wanted then cool. The sad part is that it didn't seem to make him happy. Michael is beautiful period.
    Anderson, good one on checking Rev. Sharpton, on what Joe said.
    Everyone knows that Joe Jackson, is the one Off The Wall!

    June 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  12. CYNTHIA, N.C.

    I believe that God put Michael here to show us all about who we are. I do not believe that even he knew who he wanted to look like. He was a gift to this world just for a little while to get a point across and that is that we all are one people no matter what color, race, or creed. He was every man and we need to learn from what he was trying to bestow upon this earth. He was so magical and knew how to bring people together threw the gift that he was born with. He transformed before our eyes, and I have always thought that we were to learn from what was right in from of us through him. People are quick to judge what they do not understand, because they do not know how to comprehend what is being said, done or even explain as to why something is happening. That's just a part of being human, none of us are perfect!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  13. JC- Los Angeles

    In today's superficial world, it's troubling to hear people assert that race is simply the color of ones skin rather than the core of their being.

    Michael was African American yet transcended race, music, entertainment, celebrity, philanthropy and compassion.

    While Michael's impact on people of various races may differ from person to person, his raising of $300 million for African American charities surely shows he never forgot where he came from.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  14. naudean (toronto)

    virginia i agree
    let the man be . he was a genius, a magician . His legacy remains .
    Let him be.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  15. naudean (toronto)

    brenda (nc)
    i agree.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  16. naudean (toronto)

    I have been listening to all of u and most of u make no sense at all.
    Debbie knows nothing about those kids the kids donnot know her.
    You tell me what kind of relationship will they have with debbie.
    You people need to see the bigger picture .THe kids welbeing is the important factor here.
    Katherine is and has always been a major part of those kids life .Then there is the nanny they donnot need unfamiliar people around them at all . considering how close they were to their father , Katherine is the right person for them to be with .
    I pray there is a will ..and that it give gaurdianship of the children to grandma Katherine.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  17. Maria C. Sanchez

    Dear Anderson,

    I just want you to know that is really pleasant to hear the news through you. I admire you and congratulate you for your neat work and the way you do it ! Thank you for that, you do make a difference !! 🙂

    Maria C.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  18. Mollie

    I agree with a couple of the above comments... I think Michael wanted to chage his whole appearance because of they awful things his father would say to him. I think and have always thought Michael was beautiful inside and out. God bless him and may he rest in peace.

    Btw, Joe Jackson is a plain out monster.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Dwayne

    Reportedly, Michael Jackson had a pulse but not breathing when his Doctor found him in bed. If this is the case why would he do chest compressions on someone with a pulse? Seemly all that was needed was to open his airway and give ventilations. It's the basic ABCs of CPR. In addition, there are medicines that can speed the heart rate up if need be. This is part of (ACLS) Advance Cardiac Life Support that all Cardiac dotors should know.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  20. meenas17

    Michael Jackson did not believe in himself. He must have felt insecure ,in spite of his riches. He must have experienced a complexity in spite of his popularity. His life illustrates a sense of guilt, a rash temper, and a hideous crime.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  21. Beth

    Anderson, I hope you continue to press on with the important questions. You are an excellent journalist, never failing to get the answers to the questions we all want to hear. And when the people try to skate around the question, you gracefully put them back on track. Good for you. That's why I watch.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  22. Tammy, Houma, LA

    No one can know a person's soul. I find all the second guessing and commentary on MIchael Jackson's life just cruel. The public scrutiny that followed him while alive sadly is still following him in his death. Can we please just give the man the peace and dignity he deserves? Whatever sadness and joy he had on earth surely has now been replaced by perfect acceptance and love in a way we can't yet fathom. Isn't that enough?

    June 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  23. sherry,costa meza,CA

    It is sad to hear that Michael was abused by his father. I too, along with my sisters growing up was also abused by my alcoholic father. My mother could never keep a secret, and would tell my dad when he got home from work. My dad could not wait to take the belt to us. In my opinion though, is that when you get older, you try hard to find forgiveness in your heart. I personally have never been more closer to my father throughout the years, than when I was growing up. I learned to forgive. The more the media talks about Joe jackson's abuse with Michael, the more concern I have for his well being as an individual. It is unfortunate that this personal information had to be mad public. No matter what anyone says or thinks, Joe was his father, and I am sure still and always will love Michael. We certainly do not want Joe to consider taking his own life because of imbarrassment and humiliation. Lets put Michaels family into our thoughts and prayers as well. Leave this family alone. They have been through enough losing their beloved son.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  24. Matilda

    I have followed Michael Jackson's career since we were both children (I am 4 years younger than him) and it broke my heart to see the troubled grown man that talented child became.

    As a Black woman, I have struggled over the years to reconcile that talent with the obvious untreated mental problems he projected each time he stepped into the public eye.

    I do believe that Michael was uncomfortable in the Black skin that he was born with - whether it was due to hate for his father or how society has viewed the African American throughout history in general. And I also believe he spent years and money bleaching his skin and changing his features to erase any traces of his African American heritage. From most accounts, he even purchased someone else's DNA to make sure that none of his genetics were passed down in his own children.

    I don't think his distate with being Black and his need to change himself into something altogether different can be excused just because found collaborating musically with other African Americans acceptable. I found those interactions to be more about the potential financial benefits, not because he truly felt he was part of the African American community. Justin Timberlake collaborates musically with Black people all the time. Does it mean that Justin thinks he's Black? I don't think so.

    The bottomline is that when I remember Michael, I remember a once mega-talented man full of promise who, in the end, became an extremely sad example of what can happen when poor racial image, low self-esteem, and untreated mental health issues can fester into when friends, family, and society chooses to turn a blind in the name of talent and money.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  25. Dawn

    Excellent article. Well thought out and insighful

    June 30, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  26. Barbara

    Michael transcended race.
    Who did he see in the mirror a tortured soul, never good enough. Anderson Cooper one of the best no nonsense journalist we have.

    Coudos to you Anderson and keep them honest.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  27. jakeria A

    i think that doc had something to do with that i sure do and the grandama should keep those children

    June 30, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  28. soeresh Gobardhan

    .I think that people al over the world need to understand and know what is wrong in the mind sets of such successful individuals like MJ, Elvis Presley, governor Sanford who rise to great heights….who then come to actions that ends their life, wreck businesses, their careers, their families, affecting lives of others and we usually comment with: how could this happen!
    And all of this will not stop. There are more celebrities and high level individuals coming to the forefront with these kind of actions they are not yet aware of.
    Something is wrong in their mindset and that is that their mindset had been infused with toxic energy and that controls the individual in his thinking, decision making and action process. A toxic mindset will generate only toxic thoughts and decision making.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  29. Susan

    No one can get in the mind of another and truly know what he is thinking. We can only speculate and give our thoughts. My thoughts are he tried to resemble the immortal Disny character Peter Pan with the little pixie nose, high raised eybrows and impish grin and the light complexion. Internally, Michael Jackson may have tried to have that childhood that eluded him with a mental connection. The only way he can truly believe and live it, is to outwardly look like him. His Neverland Ranch was not the only symbol of the Peter Pan dream, but continued into his little boy mind. The little children he had visit were the "Lost Boys" and I believe he was trying to make their lives what his was not. Happy. Simply Happy. May your sould find it's way.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  30. Virginia

    Michael did not hate his race. It is ridiculous for anyone to think that. I honestly, did not have much respect for the man until recently when I started digging into some background research about his life. I learned that there are many things that people do not understand about him, but if you take an hour out of your day, as i did, instead of jumping to conclusions American's could perhaps be a bit more understanding?

    Michael seemed to have had a disease, Vitiligo, in which he as basically allergic to the sun which caused the de-pigmentation of his skin. Yes, he later underwent surgery, but can you blame him? He was/is an ICON! With his picture being taken probably sometimes thousands of times a day, he did not want to appear on the front of magazines and on billboards with splotches all over his body. He wanted to be able to experience day light... Seriously, who care's if he underwent a pigmentation change? It was what made him happy! Don't we do what makes us happy each and every day?

    American's are being hypocritical, jumping at any reason to insult someone. Aren't [most] American's a little quick to jump into plastic surgery (or appearance altering surgery ) when ever they find they would like to change something about themselves???

    I recommend that everyone stop looking too far into this man's life and respect the privacy of him and his family. If you aren't going to do any research before your assumptions, at least drop by youtube.com and view 'Michael Jackson- Private home video part 1-3' it's a series, each a few minutes long, but before making any assumptions, understanding the entirety of the situation is of the utmost importance.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  31. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    "Apart from the changes to his physical appearance, there is little compelling evidence that Michael Jackson tried to distance himself from the African-American community."

    Boy do I disagree with that!

    MIchael Jackson may not have been a race traitor, but he did everything he could to divorce himself from his black heritage. He married two white women and his children look white to me, I often wondered why he didn't adopt needy African children.

    I think the worst part was that Michael seemed to dislike being black so much that he attempted to physically remove every trace of his black heritage from his appearance.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  32. Susan

    What is wrong with you people? He’s gone, but so are our sons, daughters and loved ones who have been fighting for freedom. Where is there 24/7 memorial.. You news people should be ashamed of yourselves for shoving Jackson down our throats over and over again. Is there a race going on between news stations to see who can show his face the most in one week? It’s disgusting.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  33. Chris

    Oh and I have also lost what little respect I had left for Al Sharpton who clearly was busted in a lie AGAIN trying to protect Joe J.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  34. Chris

    As a white person watching the BET awards for the first time (as many millions of other white people did) I hoped for a respectable over the top tribute and instead was left feeling bitter about comments from Joe on the red carpet about a new record company and from Jamie Foxx's comment about, "The media is out there watching us, let's play it up big" and "MJ belonged to the black community, but we decided to share him with the world". I think if MJ had heard that, he would have been PISSED! MJ didn't "BELONG" to any one nor any race and wanted, strived and begged the world to accept him as a citizen of the world and the world did exactly that, except fo the small few that refuse to LET GO of the whole "us and them" crap.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  35. Elliot

    Too bad this article wasn't really about what MJ thought about himaself. But what someone else thought MJ thought of himself. I am sure somewhere out there, there are interviews of MJ himself talking about himself.
    The recluse that he was may shelter the secrets of a man perhaps made ugly by the society that sustained his ethereal status. maybe, just maybe it had nothing to do with his father. But about a world constantly invading his personal space, where just he may just want to be someone else. Because being himself was becoming unbearable.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  36. Pat

    It is horrifying to think that the same man who abused Michael may raise Michael's kids. That is AWFUL! I hope the nanny gets the kids, as Michael probably wanted. Not to mention, he raised his kids "white," and now they may be raised "black?"
    This whole thing is so awful. The kids are already screwed up (Michael as a "father"), how much worse can it get?

    June 30, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  37. DawnMD

    Michael had Lupus and exhibited the symptoms: Sensitivity to light, hair loss, weight loss and blotchy skin.

    That is why he always had to have an umbrella in sunlight and wore a wig and so much makeup.

    I believe this, along with plastic surgery and drug use contributed to his death.

    He was not expected to live much longer, according to reports.

    That is the reason for calling his tour "This is It. The Final Tour"

    He asked his Doctor to spend the night because he did not feel well.

    I don't care what those around him said of his last moments; they are trying to protect his & their image.

    I hope he now has the peace he longed for most of his life.
    I also hope he has that Neverland in Heaven.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  38. felicia

    Micheal didn't hate his race he might never thought he was good enough and never had the right people tell him that he was beautiful. Regardless of his facial features he is and will always be the best noone can ever compare.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  39. teresa glauser

    my question is Why hasnt debbie rowe made any comment on her children life. l really would like to know who"s blanket mother why doesn"t anyone know this information yet.. lm thinking maybe it"s the nanny baby could that be a fact . thanks teresa from canada great job done on your show anderson

    June 30, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  40. Denny

    Please, please, please can we get back to the real news? Enough Michael Jackson!!!! I must have been raising kids in the 80s-90s or something. This story is way over the top and I find myself watching less TV, which is a good thing. I always thought I could always get some good TV on CNN but I'm not sure any more.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  41. Kacy

    Keshawn

    Good comment-so true.
    Let's let him rest in peace.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  42. Judy Azevedo

    Maybe his childhood was so bad and you have the money to change your looks why not maybe he saw his father face in the mirror and did not want to look like him. He wanted to have his own look. I see nothing wrong with that.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  43. LA

    Michael Jackson was the sexiest man to ever walk this earth no matter how many times he altered his rough draft. He wasn't trying to not be black or whatever it is society is trying to imply. That's an ignorant statement because since the beginning of time blacks have been known to have a span of shades far more complicated than the rainbow. We come in all shapes, sizes, shades and Michael could never alter himself to where he didn't identify with his race. It's time to stop judging him and let him rest in peace.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  44. Donna

    I have been watching along with so many others the story of Michael Jackson and have been amazed at so many different things going on with his death, life, parents, etc. I would never want to be a movie star or in the limelight where everyone tries to tell the world all about who you are and why you do the things you do.
    Now in my 50's, I realize how cruel and unfair we can be as human beings when we just don't "think" about what we are saying or doing to others. I watched Jamie Fox, whom I have always enjoyed watching in the movies or on Oprah etc.say at the BET Awards, He (Michael Jackson) was ours, one of us. I don't feel that was true. Michael Jackson belonged to the world, all of us, black or white. In my mind he made it clear we should ALL be brothers and sisters.
    Where did the mindset come from to look at a person and decide because they were a different color or nationality to be so hateful and hurtful to one another. I wish we could all just get past all of this small mindedness and see each other as we are, a child of God, He is the one in control. And now Michael is singing and dancing for God and his Kingdom.
    I wish all of his family only the very best, especially Michael's children.
    Thank you.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  45. Jen

    Michael Jackson's lyrics were not anti-semitic. One of his major spiritual advisors was a Rabbi. He was speaking AGAINST antisemitism in that song, and that should be obvious to anybody not trying to be willfully controversial.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  46. Keshawn

    The sad thing about this whole saga is that the media is concentrating on things that no longer matter. Ive seen Liza Minelli during an interview and she has had so much work done she looks like the Joker in Batman. No one says anyhting about that. Why are you still discussing his trial? He was tried and he was found innocent. Let it go! Regardless of what he did or why he did it, that was his business not ours. The point is this man has died. Let him rest in peace. His family will deal with whatever issues he had. That's what family is for. Celebrate his MUSCIAL LEGACY. Ket this family mourn. Let his kids have some peace. You tortured him while he was living at leat have some compassion now and let his family have some peace!

    June 30, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  47. Brenda, NC

    This body that we live in is only a shell that holds our true self. To say that Michael jackson was trying to be something that he was not is a statement that can be made about a lot of people.you have people that tan year round, are they not satisfied with their complexion, are they trying to be black. You have people who constantly have plastic surgery, whether it be facial changes, breast implants, lipo, whatever the case maybe, are they trying to be something their not. We as a society need to stop judging each other so much, and embrace each other with open mindness ,and understanding.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  48. Cindy

    I don't think that Michael hated his race I think he just hated himself and his features. His dad constantly belittled him about his big nose and his bad skin when he was a teen. The whole family did. I think that always stuck with him and he tried to change himself so he wouldn't look the way he did when he was young and got teased and degraded.

    He did the plastic surgery to do away with the big nose but in his eyes he still saw the big nose therefore he kept doing surgeries on it even though he didn't need it anymore.

    On the skin..who knows if he really had vitiligo or not. If not possibly he lightened it to do away with how he was degraded also about his skin tone and bad acne while growing up.

    I don't think he hated his race at all or wanted to be white. He just hated himself.

    Cindy..Ga.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  49. kent

    anderson,
    good for you for not letting al sharpton get away with the lie that joe jackson was asked about his new record co.when he was clearly asked how's the family doing.you called him on it and he started back peddling.that is why i like watching you on 360,the facts,just the facts,no lies or spin!

    June 30, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  50. Debra S

    If Michael was abused as a child, why, then is everyone so happy that the same parents will now raise his children?

    June 30, 2009 at 10:10 am |
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