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Race in America: It’s Not Just Black or White

This summer I joined the world in celebrating Michael Jackson’s memory by cuing up the iPod and listening to some of his songs. Despite his weirdness, Jackson was always the consummate performer—his dance moves and songs still dazzle. But when I heard the song “Black or White” and reflected on the song’s lyrics—“It don’t matter if you’re black or white”—I was caught by the rather narrowness of its vision. The phrase sounds PC, like a phrase we should... Read More

The Way Mulattas Make Me Feel: Michael Jackson’s Domination of the Feminized Other

Michael Jackson is standing on a darkened street corner. Out of the mist appears a caramel-complexioned woman with long brown hair and a short black skirt, who struts across the concrete in high heels. Instead of stopping to give the King of Pop the attention he deserves, the woman passes him by with a sideways glance. A gruff voice off-camera chuckles at the diss. MJ turns and delivers a bad-ass, ear-splitting, “Hey!” Everything stops; the woman looks afraid. So begins... Read More