Black or White

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The ongoing struggle to fight the skin color prejudice in the contemporary American society is portrayed in Michael Jackson’s song “Black or White.” Whereas the racism is defined as a superior behavior against other race-thus making it inferior, the singer refers to this term as “See, it’s not about races, just places, faces, where your blood comes from is where your space is.” Michael Jackson, one of the most influential artists in the music industry, calls for equality in how people view and behave towards each other. The question, which this master thesis investigates, does it matter if you’re black or white, is clearly answered by the singer: “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.” Jackson was trying to influence his society to act in a similar way and he calls for them to live their lives by Dr. Luther’s dream “….judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” However, almost thirty years later, it still seemed only as a dream because he sang: “I’m tired of this Devil”, where the bad is being represented by the prejudice. At the same time, he clearly states: “I’m not gonna spend my life being a color” – this is where he makes his conclusion. This can imply that even though he doesn’t discriminate and would like to see color prejudice gone, he is still being discriminated against. While being the most prominent artist in the music industry, he still calls himself “a color” and he rebuts against it and wants to be seen for the person he is and not the pigmentation of his skin. It is widely known that Michael Jackson had many facial plastic surgeries and it is controversial whether or not he altered his skin color by chemical peels or was it the disease called vitiligio that changed his face color to white. Therefore, it can be speculated that he modified skin to appear white, which ultimately is his vision. It can be further questioned – since Michael Jackon can’t win his struggle for racial equality, did he give up and go white – just to end his inner battle? Will all his suffering come to closure since now he looks white? Is this the true answer? It may be deemed as so since the skin color is the guide of one’s position in the society where being white claims supremacy-control and power. It should be noted that Michael Jackson is one of the greatest musicians of all times, having sold over 750 million records worldwide. He has accomplished so much in his life, yet still feels inferior and calls for racial equality in the world.

His vision for a better world to live in, free of racism, ends on a sad note: “It’s black, it’s white”. To summarize, through decades, the blacks have fought to be equal, as the American nation shall guarantee those rights, yet, the society is still divided into the superior, the whites, and inferior- the blacks (and other people of color). Blacks have always been portrayed as the dirty, the poor, the lesser-of-a human type whereas the whites are seen as the dominant, the good type. Again, Jackson does not agree with this stereotype in saying: “I ain’t second to none.” Moreover, he claims that he will no longer be scared and mentions historical symbol of a KKK group: “I ain’t scared of your brother, I ain’t scared of no sheets.” With his passing in 2009, many of his inner struggles come to the end, but will the next generation start working on being color-free as the king of pop envisioned?

America has always struggled with racial issues, especially those of black and white. Some them included racial segregation, education, workforce, banking and even seating on the bus. Black people continuously tried to “break thru” into community, but were always pushed aside as dirty, poor and unwelcome.

We, in modern times, see the United States of America as a country that treats everyone equal. Americans should all be all equal, no matter what race, color, religion or any other characteristics they have. After...
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