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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. Cynthia Koen

    @ Larry
    How many are there? "award shows" "just" for "Black people"? then ask yourself how many "award shows for "everybody" appropriately award "African Americans" or "Black People" ...get back to us with answer.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  2. Joy

    First of all, Michael would not have a problem with his identity if his father Joe Jackson had not ridiculed him as a child about his looks. Especially his nose. That man got away with verbal and physical abuse of his children. Why can't he be prosecuted now the same way sex offenders are prosecuted years after the criminal act. If he was'nt abused by his father he would still be alive today .Michaels' mind would be different therefore he most likely would not have depended on drugs etc
    His physician left his practice to care for Michael. Why did'nt he accompany Michael to the hospital since he was his personal physician. Why was Michael still on the bed if he had administered CPRMy theory is that he gave Michael too much Demerol which lead to respiratory depression, which lead to a heart attack. Why was he performing CPR on the bed. I think he panicked and took too long to get someone to call the EMS . That 's why Michael is no longer with us. he should be charged with criminal negligence or manslaughter and have his license revoked. His dad charged with accessory to murder as well as child abuse.
    I have never met Michael but I have always wanted to be his friend. Especially when he was being falsely accused of child molestation. Michael was only trying to capture a childhood he never had by being a kid and playing with kids the way he would have if he was allowed. That parent was only trying to get rich quick with not even a care if a sweet gentle soul's character and reputation was ruined. Believe me I am the first one who would want to castrate a child molester. But that was NOT Michael Jackson.
    You just don't know how much this hurts. Now I will never get the chance to even write him. i wish i had been more aggressive in finding out how to reach him the way other people seem to have done in the past. I'm sorry I was'nt able to reach out to you and give you the love you so deserved........... RIP Michael they can't hurt you now.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  3. Cynthia Koen

    @ Dan ...in the meantime, read your local news paper and/or local community news channel for the information you seek. I hope this helps you.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  4. Cynthia Koen

    @ govtakeover....go to the federal government website for details of the energy bill. I hope this helps!

    June 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  5. Michelle

    I agree this greatly concerns me that since Michael was abused and beaten by his father why then does Katherine get custody of the kids? I'm sure he was close with his mother but I wouldn't want those three children in any close proximatey to Joe Jackson which could be detrimential to their health and well-being... Look what happened to poor Michael because of his father?

    Its clear from Joe Jackson's latest interview last night advertising his new record label so closely after his son's tragic passing .. this just doesn't scream grieving father.. but money grubbing voltures... No wonder why Michael was so protective of his kids... All these so called friends, confidantes.. coming out of the woodwork.. claiming this and that about him... etc.. All the money grubbing people.. its rather disgusting and I feel very badly for him and now for his three children.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  6. Priscilla O'Hara

    Even though he sang "It don't matter if your black or white" he preferred looking at himself – "The Man in the Mirror" – as a white person. He said he was diganosed with Vitiligo – a relatively common chronic disorder that causes depigmentation in patches of skin. And, as patches, they could have been covered with makeup to match his natural skin tone. Based on his choice of skin tone he obviously preferred "A Whiter shade of Pale".
    Thoughout the latter part of Michael's life there was one consistant personality trait that you coould depend on – just how adapt he was at making it up and then believing it. Al Shapton – speaking for the family – has said that "If we can look past the shortcomings of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, then we can put into proper perspective any shortcomings Michael may have had." The short comings of Frank and Elvis have been put on display and I don't recall anyone looking past them – nor should they. We are all responsible for what we say and do, inlcuding Michael.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  7. fego019

    hatin his father has nothin to do wit his father bein black cuz he was hatin him as father not as black man

    June 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  8. Cynthia Koen

    @ susan
    purchase "Thriller"and get back to us. This is a ratings show meaning that if there was no interest there would only be minimal coverage.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  9. Alice NYC

    I think Michael did have a problem with his looks, but I dont think he hated his race. I do beleive that he wanted features that made him more white, perhaps because he seemed to have a greater affinity towards friendship with white entertainers. I think that he just was never given a chance to grow up and learn about himself and develop as we all do. I do not beleive that those children are his biologically. Although it does not matter, except that he tried to pass them off as his own. Mixed couples make beautiful children, they pick up the best traits of each parent or group in my opinion. Those children have no direct lineage to an African American. No offense intended. Example of a black white couple. Barack Obama, Halle Berry, and her baby. Venessa Williams, Tiger Woods, Alicia Keys. Mariah Carey.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  10. Kwame

    i agree with you Patriot

    June 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Kay

    No it's not hypocritical for African-Americans to celebrate Michael Jackson as a black man. That's who he was regardless of the way he looked.

    Michael could have spent most of his life turning purple; he is still a black man. Born black and died black regardless of the color of his skin, at the time of his death.

    I always wonder why someone would make them self’s look like that. He told Oprah he didn't look in the mirror; I think that is obvious here. We will never know why he had all of those unnecessary plastic surgeries. I think his father was jealous of him and continued to put him down instead of embracing him, telling him how proud he was of him and just uplifting him more.

    These child stars need mentors and someone who really cares about them . Who are not concern with the money these kids can make.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  12. Karen

    Lets get back to the real news...MJ was an entertainer and a very mixed up person. He should not recieve all of this coverage.

    Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  13. Nick

    Michael Jackson was the type of guy that wanted to give the world his all and from what Ive seen in the Guinness book of records, hes helped MANY MANY charities along the way and holds the record for doing such. The world was fine with him giving them money and helping them, but when it came for him to actually give his love that he had for kids and show how much he admired them, now all of a sudden people think hes an evil man that does wrong things to kids. Michael just wanted to live his childhood through the kids he played with, do you honestly think that someone is going to spend millions of dollars to turn there home into a amusement park just to do wrong things to a kid or two?? come on! that's just stupid. Michael was a loving guy and he definitely will be missed by me.

    Nick (Canada)

    June 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  14. Monique Jones

    How can the Jackson family bring their son's body back to Neverland. Didn't Michael say that after the police raided his home that he would never set foot at the Neverland Ranch?

    June 30, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  15. CJarratt

    On your blog you as the question would it be hypocritical for African Americans to celebrate Micheal as a black man ,how could you post a question like that on your blog. Micheal Jackson had explain in several interviews regarding his condition, instead of being understanding and sympathetic people would rather think the worst about him. He along with others in hollywood received nose jobs, face lifts and so on but at no time do you state that white actors that get injection in their lips to make them plump or getting sun tans are trying to be black, So let me tell you this as an african american (black) american or whatever flavor you are calling us today you will not divide the black community regarding Micheal he has never denied being a black man and we are proud to call him one of us.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  16. Laura

    when a white person braids their hair does that mean they want to be black? when a black person relaxes theor hair straight does that mean they want to be white? when a white person goes tanning does this mean they want to be black? when a black person listens to classical music and attains a higher education and/or surrounds themselves in an environment full of white people ("white America") does this mean they want to be white? If a white person uses slang, listens to rap and/ or dates the opposite race does this mean they want to be black? What's the determining factor of white culture and black culture? ...There's only a difference of skin color...we all bleed red. At the end of the day MJ is still dead. These speculations dont mean anything. All he wanted (as he said himself time and time again) was for EVERYONE to get along, for there to be peace, for hatred and racism to cease, and for love to abide. MJ was ridiculed...emotionally tortured....lied on...poked and prodded most of his life. It's a sad thing to admit. In my opinion he could have been a better man had he gotten the proper mental treatment and been surround, not by enablers, but by people who TRUELY had his best interest at heart...and advised him of it. But like I said...he's dead so shoulda, coulda, woulda, doesn't even matter any more. To those who loved MJ...honor him by eluding this in your every day lives. Those who didnt love MJ...even you should still elude this in your everyday lives...not just because MJ said it....but b/c its the right thing to do. ~Laura from Ohio

    June 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  17. foster

    everyone needs to stop and get off joe jacksons back. Michael did not want his kids with any of the surrogate mothers he chose. Debbie Rowe needs a DNA test. She may be the birth mother but may not be the bio;ogical mother. she may be the surrogate of an egg and sperm placed inside her. The children belong with his parents and family. By the way that last child name is not BLanket

    June 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Chris

    Mr. Cooper, I hope this comment gets to your attention and that you subsequently relay the message on the air. As Michael said in one of his many interviews, those who really want to know the 'real Michael Jackson" should listen to the lyrics of his song that talks about his childhood. Additionally, many people do not know that Micahel is an author. One of the books he wrote in the 1990's is titled "Dancing the Dream". PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if you want to truly honor this man, ask people to check out and read this INCREDIBLE insightful book. Then the world will come to know that we've really lost one of the wisest and most gifted Being from Planet Earth. Please publize the book. Thanks.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  19. Larry

    Once again CNN is able to hide anything to do with what Obama is up to by burying under a glut of stories about MJ.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  20. Safiya Khoja

    My dears Brother Mick Jackson You Story and my Story is same ever since I found I am crying and mentally disturb how you been treat it by father and this selfish world brother I delegate this for you.
    Hear is

    God Looked around His Garden
    And found an empty space;
    He then looked down upon this earth
    And saw your tired face.
    He put his arms around you
    And lifted you to rest;
    God’s garden must be beautiful,
    He only takes the best.
    He knew that you were suffering,
    He knew your were in pain
    He knew that you might never
    Get well upon this earth again.
    He saw the road was getting rough
    And the hills were hard to climb,
    So he closed your weary eyelids
    And whispered, “Peace be thine”.
    It broke our hearts to lose you,
    But you never went alone,
    For part of us went with you
    The day God called you home.

    Safiya Khoja (Canada)

    June 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  21. Adam

    Wow. The king of pop is dead. The Elvis of our generation is gone. It's sad really, mainly the way I portrayed Michael Jackson. I was never really a fan but I knew his music and bits and pieces of his life but sadly what I’ll remember him most by is the last 10-15 years of the crazy stories, pictures, weird actions and just the circus of events. Watching the news and reading/researching online about his life and the interviews I saw a different man then what I had seen the media portray him as. I saw a lonely, shy, emotional child just trying to grow up. I don't know if he molested any children or not but to him it was ok to hang out with children and have sleep over’s because he himself was still a child in his mind and was doing nothing wrong. He never had a chance to be a child with all the music and fame, he just never found a way to properly grow up or deal with his issues on the inside. Not to mention the mental/physical abuse that his father put him through. He was a genius when he was on stage performing/signing/dancing/songwriting, it's where he was meant to be where god wanted him to be. I owe it to Michael Jackson to remember him as the king of pop, the amazing singer/songwriter/performer/entertainer that broke barriers and united billions of people around the world. I'm also going to buy some albums so I can enjoy the fruits of his labor and pay tribute to this unique man. You will be missed Michael and I'm sorry that I felt the way I did about you just over what the media said about you. I hope your resting peacefully my friend, and I hope your finally happy with who you are. God bless you Michael Jackson 1958-2009. Sincerely, Adam

    June 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  22. Larry

    Elvis, too, had enablers who would not stop him from taking any drugs that he was intent on taking. Even the so-called 'memphis-mafia' as they are referred to, would ensure he had all the drugs he wanted. Now, who were Michael's enablers?

    June 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  23. Larry

    Any news on when there will be a corononer's inquiry?

    June 30, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  24. Patriot

    So the 'King of Pop' is dead, yes it is sad, but it'd be nice if the world was a little more interested in actual national and global news, not entertainment news. I've heard more about MJ dead and how 'great' of a man he was in the last 72 hours than anything about Iran, Darfur, or the DRC, not to mention hardly anything about the fiery debates in the halls of the senate and congress. It's high time Americans started caring about the world around them more than the celebrities that entertain them.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  25. gary hunter

    michael jackson- they say the doctor said he had a slight pulse. the doctor did CPR, on the bed, you do not do CPR to a person with a pulse. you do rescue breathing. no breathing but a pulse requires =rescue breathing

    no breathing – no pluse = CPR

    When the doctor found MJ, it has been reported he had a slight pulse, and the doctor administered CPR ?

    MJ- had a slight pulse?

    June 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  26. jackie

    Many celebrities and non celebrities died in drug addiction and I am wondering why people put the all the blame to the users and not questioning the drugstores and physicians who's dispensing and prescribing the medicines who knows better and more knowledgeable and more in normal state of mind than the USER... I think they can refuse to dispense if they are suspect to drug abuse or give an excuse that we are out of stack just to somehow help this people... If a department store can refuse to sell to a customer because maybe they have bad habit of always returning goods after they buy why they can't refuse to dispense to a suspect drug abuser, in that case they will not ask prescrition because they know they pharmacy will not dispense medicine for them anymore or must have a limit on a medicine in a month that a patient can only have... Why not create a law or a system to control dispensing and for the doctor also have a limitation for them to prescribe.... Many died in this case and I never heard anyone talking how to avoid and give an idea on how to prevent this to happened again.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  27. Govtakeover

    Please stop showing Jackson coverage around the clock. The energy bill that has passed with the house( & is on the way to the senate floor) needs to be Number 1. The American people need the facts please start blasting the pros and cons of this cap & trade system more then you are. Please do us this service. People need to get more involved its getting out of control.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  28. Lampe

    I am an AA women, who is sick and tired of these remarks about Michael belonging to the Black Community. these are the same kind of remarks made about Obama. Neither of these men, stood just for one race. If white people had not fallen in Love with The Jackson Five, do you really believe they would be as big as they are? And the same goes for Obama, if white people had not fallen in Love with, or believed in him, do you really think he would be POTUS? Because to be truthful there are not enough blacks to vote Obama in by themselves. It's time to STOP all of this he belonged to this group, or this race. And, as far as Sharpton and Jackson go, they both only stick their wide noses into things when it benefits them. When White Stars die, you don't hear them saying " He or she was white they belonged to us." there really is no need. What would have been alot better for BET to have done is honor him as a Gifted Astist, who just happened to be born Black, but got way past that.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  29. Connie

    Only a person who has Vitiligo can really, truly understand the emotional, physical, and psychological effects of it. Imagine having your skin turn lighter and lighter and you can’t help it. I don’t think he bleached his skin, I think his vitiligo must have been so severe, that he had to go through complete depigmentation of the skin. So little is known about this skin disorder, but perhaps in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, more can be learned about it.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  30. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    I think it goes a bit deeper...your face is your identity and if it changes, could you identify that person?

    I think of Charlie, from Charlie's Angels...you never saw his face so you really couldn't identify HIM.

    I agree on the idea that deep inside he didn't want to look like his abusive father so he took steps to change those features.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  31. T. DeSantis

    Joe Jackson just disgusts me...I am pleased to hear that so far he has been cut from Michael's 2002 will...in the midst of the world morning his death...he is speaking of his new record label. You can clearly see that his greed, need for control and abuse drove his son to his death...I hope he never sees a dime! RIP Michael...

    June 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  32. Zenawit Birhanu

    He saw his father in the mirror and was always haunted by it. This led him to take drastic measures in plastic surgery, which is the only thing I'm critical of Mike though I understand why he did it. As for the whiteness of his skin I definitely believe he had vitiligo, something he couldn't control thus it gave tabloid media the means to slander his name. At first people misunderstood the fact that Michael loathed his father not the entire race. Although, black people might have been mad at Mike in the past, one thing that needs to be understood about black people is that we may fight or disagree but in the end we stick together as family. Hence no matter what Michael will go down in our history as a black hero (note not just as an African-American)!

    Michael Jackson introduced and made our culture acceptable in the mainstream society. Through his music Michael united people of all races and ethnicities. Michael became an inspiration to all who would dare to dream big and were willing to work hard for it that they too could one day make it against all odds.

    Michael sent out message of peace, love and hope in the end that is much stronger than bigtroy, envy and hate. Hence his legacy will live on forever in our minds and our hearts. All he ever wanted was to be accepted and loved while he had that from the public, friends and his family... I don't think he ever got it from his father (where he needed it the most). I hope that haunts Joe Jackson to his grave!

    June 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  33. Dan

    My wife and I are getting pretty tired of all your focus on Michael Jacson at the expense of coverage of real news. We'll start watching the program again when you get back to those issues that really matter.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  34. Rheta Schoeneman

    Great job interviewing the father> He was so self centered. He was more interested in being the big man. Father of the world's pop star. He didn't even look sorry his son died. I think he now has power over his son's affairs and so he likes it bette that wayl

    I would never let those littel kids be raised by someone who is a known child beater, someone Michael said he feared til it ruined his life. Why would he want his kids raised by his father.

    I think the father is showing his greed and interest in making future money on this tragedy. The grandmother is OK but is also too old to be a real care giver to active children who are in a new generation. This is a real mess. Thank you for digging for the truth.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  35. Annie Kate

    I hope that Michael's father continues to live separately from Michael's mother Katherine. Michael's children do not need to endure the same sort of upbringing that Joe used on Michael. Hopefully, Katherine will make sure that Joe has limited access not only to the children but to Michael's estate as well (if there is anything left after the creditors get what they are owed). His children need to continue to have a loving relationship with the guardian like they had with Michael. Its hard enough to lose a parent; it doesn't need to be made even harder by having someone who may mistreat them in their lives.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  36. Kaye Kirkpatrick

    You people just don't have a clue. It is impossible for someone to self hate and be so successful all at the same time. What about all the Caucasians who sun bathe with HARMFUL sun rays and spray paint with carcinogenic chemicals? What's up with that? Not to mention all the rhinoplastys and plastic butts, etc. I wouldn't necessarily state that they were trying to be African, like me. I would just simply state that they admired people of color and want to be stylish and sophicated too. It's all good and not a reason to hate and say horrible things about people who want to enhance or experience or change a feature for the sake of style. More whites are into the Hip Hop culture and style, but I would not necessarily say that they want to denounce their culture and become African. All ye of small brains...open your minds and set yourself free.

    Shalom

    June 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  37. Rheta Schoeneman

    Regarding the thirty minute delay to call 911. I wonder if the MD present was even currently trained in CPR. If you are not practicing in a hospital, ie if you are in solo practice with no credentials related to a hospital providing critical care area, one does not need semi annual retraining in the rigorous adult and child CPR training all nurses, MDs, and paramedics take.

    When I heard the 911 call I thought the dude on the phone was following a script and when he found an MD present he backed out. The patient need paramedics with advanced life support asap. Not someone to claim they were a cardiologist attempting to do chest compressions on a soft bed>???? And what about breathing for the patient. Did he have a bag? Did he do mouth to mouth...I think this whole thing stinks like someone trying to avoid a lawsuit.

    The first thing you do when someone needs resusitation is call 911 immediately and summon advanced life support..The patient is unresponsive and not breathing and they wait even longer till the ambulance arrives....99% of patients who go longer than five minutes without being intubated, defibrillated, or resustitated with Narcan, other live saving drugs die. Most patients brought to ERs in Code Arrest do not make it. There is something wrong with the news if this has not been mentioned.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  38. Maggi

    I don't understand one thing that i have never seen Michael Jackson passing judjements or bad comments about anyone, even though his one bad word could destroy anyones life as he had that much impact. But people keep on saying bad things about him. Who are we to judge whether he was rite or wrong. Nobody understood that what all he needed was real love. If he said that he had vitiligo than why don't anybody believed him. People have said & done many wrong things to him but now i pray to GOD whereever he is, he's getting what all he wanted.
    I really respect him a lot as an artist, singer, dancer, perfomer & above all as a humanbeing.
    WE LOVE YOU "MICHAEL JACKSON" a true star.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  39. Abel Tsegga

    The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

    $30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
    $550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

    June 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  40. Davida in KSA

    I've written to you on many occasions complaining that the International version of your show (or at least the Middle East) only gets one hour.... It's bad when Beat 360 or the Shot isn't in the first hour but THIS MORNING!!!!! Travesty. You enticed and tempted me with the Filipino prison and then what did you do? Let it spill over into the 2nd hour... of course, I got IReport or something else that I had so little interest in that I switched to Sky News (desperate measures an' all that....), PLEASE rectify this.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  41. Angela

    Dear Anderson,

    Yes, race is a complicated and personal issue. We do not choose race and some of us struggle more than others with the problematic of race as it relates to the essence of who we are. Michael clearly loved being black–he drew inspiration from his past, for example by depicting ancient Egypt in "Remember the Time." He was always connected to African Americans and we to him! He never abandoned the race, but struggled to find his place and an identity within it.

    I was born just three months before Michael and grew up loving his image. I accepted him then, and later as his looks changed. His pigment change has been explained, so I accept his medical explanation about loss of pigment.

    Now I want to honor his ARTISTIC contributions. Discussing all this is like asking why Ray Charles was blind. Let's look at the art, and listen to the words, whcich in many cases, hold clues to an inrtrospective and caring man.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  42. Larry

    Why are there so many award shows just for black people; who also compete in award shows for people of any color?
    .

    June 30, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  43. Tracie

    This was a well written article with thoughtful insight. As a matter of fact it's the best I have read thus far. As for all the comments, none of you can speak for Michael Jackson. How dare you speculate on his life. The only thing you know for sure is how he touched the world through his gift of music. In the words of Maya Angelou: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  44. Rich

    I first want to i have to be real careful what i say about ( IT ) ...aka JOE however it's a travesty and such a shame that Micheal had to die the way he did , i bet he was filled with such angst and pain i can only hope he DID NOT suffer one minute at least pyschically, he went through enough as an adult ,not the least of which as a little boy at the hands of a pitiful existence of a human being society calls a father.

    I watched the interveiw about when Micheal spoke at length about the abuse at the hands of "JOE" and it pained me i could see how torn he was like that little boy in his eyes even as an adult to the man in him knowing he had to speak up and stand up to what is right, yet knowing it;s ok to face your truth .... i know that truth i went through as a kid ...the beatings the fear , unpredictable behavior....Micheal was a special young man and so caught up in all the spotlight and celebrity that "JOE" was jealous and used Micheal as an example afterall how can you blame Micheal for defying "JOE" can you blame him.....such horror ...im surprised Micheal didn't off himself having been subjected to such trauma for so long.

    My final thoughts are about his CHILDREN and his MOM CATHERINE ONLY who i hope will be able to live out the rest of their lives in peace and quiet without the damn media hounding them like wild animals with all kinds of foolish questions.

    I wish the 4 of them well.

    THe rest of the family you know what..? they could have given a S#$% about Micheal when Micheal spoke out about that "JOE" guy abusing him especially that snort janet and latoya, why then should they care now..

    June 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  45. Shannon

    I think that Michael Jackson was a very misunderstood man. I think that he changed the color of his skin not because he disliked being black, however to show people that no matter what color you are, you are the same inside. As far as the plastic surgery to his face, I think he just went to far. I think some doctor refused to tell him "no". It seemed that he was surrounded by people that all has their hands in his pockets. A couple years ago, I bought his release of his top videos released in 2003. I have always loved his music!!!!! I beleive that him being accused of child molestation and having to sit through court and being falsely accussed. I speak from my own education with a master's in psychology, that he was really a good man. I think he believed he has been given "this gift" and made all of this money that he could relive his childhood. I think he was an adult on stage where he grew up and a child when he stepped off stage. In the recent years, people have made a joke out of him. A JOKE.
    I wander where his family or friends were in the past years when he really needed them. I would have wished that his father would have said that " I will miss my son" instead of " we will miss this superstar". I wish one of the brothers or sisters would step in and get custody of his children. I think Michael would hate to know that his father was in part a guardian to his children. I think or would hope that Janet could step in, could hire thier nanny and take care of them. Just by Joe Jackson's comments it seems he is more concerned with the amount of money he is going to make off Michael...... It makes no sense.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  46. Terry

    Anderson, the question of Michael Jackson's racial identity has been asked and answered by Michael Jackson so the mystery is solved. Instead of writing about "Michael Jackson on race" why don't you examine yourself? Why do you refuse to believe him when he says he has Vitiligo? Most importantly, is this what is important to your viewers? The answer is no and while I have responded to this blog I am very disappointed at the waste of time. People are dying. Children are starving. Why don't you try doing a story that is going to make a change in someone's life. Why not write about Michael's humanitarian efforts? Where is the blog about that? Is that not juicy enough? You are CNN! Do not become just another tabloid.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  47. paris

    Anderson,
    PLEASE, enough about Mchael Jackson. Please give us some important news other than celebrity gossip. Is it all about the ratings?

    June 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  48. Chris

    No one's concerned about Kathryn raising the children because the real "threat" as you say is, let's not forget, an 80 year old man. (and Janet would kick his butt if he tried) LOL

    June 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  49. Tim Gibson

    I still hang with the Neverland Peter Pan image. All things that Michael Jackson may or may not have been, his selection of song was a reflection of his life as is with artist I believe.

    Alleged abuse by parents, a sign of the times for the era Michael Jackson as well as myself grew up in. Corp punishment was the norm, perhaps not done in the streets as in Iran, but done all the same. As do many of us have issues with our parents from childhood at one level or another, we move beyond or should move beyond it as we become adults.

    As well, the circus of his death is outrageous. I cannot wrap myself around what is going to be a very public display when it should by all accounts be a private family matter and not a tool to further profit from a talented, however unique, individual. Not unlike a circus sideshow in which an "infant" was displayed inside a glass jar, we now have the man in the mirror.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  50. dorothy zastre

    I am not an american. I live in the greatest country on earth, Canada. But cant we put this Michael Jackson thing in perspective. How many American boys are dying overseas who havent reached their 30th birthday let alone their 40th, or even 50th. Why dont Americans have tributes to all of the boys who died fighting somebody elses war, some of them not yet reaching the age of 21?
    He lived 50 years, most of it with wealth and luxury. I cannot believe the American way of thinking.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
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