Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

Michael Jackson

with 5 comments

Michael Jackson has been rumored to purposely change race from black to white by excessively bleaching his skin. However, in reality, he suffered from a disease called vitiligo, which causes de-pigmintation of skin. The disorder begins when blotching of the skin becomes evident. In the case of Michael Jackson, he used excessive makeup to hide this. This is why it seemed like he drastically changed from being black to white immediately, rather than gradually.
Michael Jackson still considered himself black, even after he was physically white in 1993. “I’m a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity.”
Personally, I noticed that Michael Jackson achieved a greater white fanbase after this drastic change. However, he still retained his previous black fanbase. In effect, he was able to unite black and white people through his transformation and his powerful lyrics. Especially when we observe his song, “Black or White.”


Written by sgaviria

October 18, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I am pretty sure that this post will receive a variety of responses. I would just like to comment that not all black people considered his skin “problem” to be something that was beyond his control. I personally thought that he wanted to alter his appearance BUT this did not change the way I viewed him or his talent. I still felt he was a black man, no matter what he did to his skin and I love his music.

    Antoinette Lester

    October 19, 2009 at 11:26 pm

  2. Does this disease affect the hair too?


    October 21, 2009 at 5:38 pm

  3. I had a Spanish teacher who had vitiligo. There are two routes you can go when you have the disease. You can live with the pigmentation blotches and cover what you can with make up or can be treated so that all the pigment is removed and you essentially cover up the blots by making the rest of the body the color of the blotches. This could explain what people called “bleaching” in Micheal Jackson’s case. My Spanish teacher decided that she would just cover up the spots with makeup, rather than change the color of her entire appearance. She may have faced some of the same criticisms that Micheal Jackson faced.


    October 23, 2009 at 6:40 am

  4. I’m glad you posted this issue. When I was younger I was also confused about how a black man could change his race, but i soon found out it was due to a disease. I have sympathy for michael because of all the rumors and gossip spread about him. Its already hard to combat rumors as a super star, but then when people question your race when the fact is, its due to a disease, it takes a real toll.


    October 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    • Thanks. Yeah, I was confused too when I was younger. Most of my friends told me that when they were younger and listening to Michael Jackson post-transformation, they assumed he was white and knew nothing of his transformation until later. He suffered a lot thoughout his life, and was criticized even long after the effects of the disease were notable. And no, Raquel, I don’t think the disease affects the hair, just the skin. Maybe he straightened his hair because it would look odd to have an afro and be white-skinned?


      October 24, 2009 at 11:00 pm

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