What does Black or White mean?

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Michael Jackson: Black or White Meaning

Song Released: 1991

Covered By: Glee Cast

Black or White Lyrics

I Took My Baby
On A Saturday Bang
Boy Is That Girl With You
Yes We're One And The Same

Now I Believe In Miracles
And A Miracle
Has Happened Tonight

But, If
You're Thinkin'
About My Baby
It Don't Matter If You're
Black Or...


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    Sep 15th, 2009 9:07pm report

    Michael Jackson was an American entertainer that was widely beloved and, one of the most influential artists of all time. Through his career he had "sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." (MichaelJackson.com) On June 25, 2009 Michael Jackson, known as the "King of Pop", passed away. (mtv.com) His death is still a controversy but, it is known that drugs were involved.

    In 1991, described by Jackson's record company as "a rock 'n' roll dance song about racial harmony", Black Or White was one of the biggest radio hits of the 1990s. (news.bbc.co.uk) The song includes instruments such as a guitar, possibly electric and bass, drums and even a keyboard. A listener is focused more on the vocals of the song, even though the instrumentals and the words seem to be at the same volume. The tempo of the song is fast, I do believe, to catch the listener's attention.

    As one listens to this song, they will realize that Jackson was expecting his audience to be both white or of color ethnicities. The common problem between many ethnicities is racism. These lyrics describe his opinion on racism and how they have affected him and the world around him. The first lyrics that caught my attention were "They printed my message, In the Saturday Sun, I had to tell them, I ain't second to none." Here he states that he is not no one, that he is a person, with equalities. Next, Jackson wrote " I told about Equality , An It's True, Either You're Wrong or you're right ." In these few lines Jackson is trying to say that everyone has their own opinion on what equality is. If someone has a different opinion on equality, each person is right. Later in the song, Jackson states "I am tired of this devil, I am tired of this stuff, I am tired of this business, So when the going gets rough, I ain't scared of your brother, I ain't Scared of No sheets, I ain't scare of nobody, Girl when the goin' gets mean." Jackson is stating that he is tired of the racism, which is described as a Devil . Also, he states that he is not scared of anyone when things get bad and will not let the racism, that another person has for a different ethnicity, affect him.

    In the song Black Or White, Jackson incorporates a rap. Within this rap he mentions how gangs, clubs and nations are protected for their beliefs even though it's "causing grief in human relations." Racism is a war of races, land or "turf" as Jackson describes it and he would "rather hear both sides" of people's opinions. Michael describes that racism in about "places, faces, where your blood comes from and where your space is". He also states that he's "not going to spend my life being a color." Jackson does not want the label of a different race, he wants people to see him for his artistic abilities. His features changed, and the color of his skin lightened significantly over the last two decades of his life. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson stated, "I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin. It's something I cannot help. When people make up stories that I don't like who I am, it hurts me." (cnn.com) Many people question if he had this skin disorder, or if Jackson used a process of chemical peels to change the pigment of his skin.
    One of the last few verses of Jackson's song Black or White, he stated "I said if you're thinking of being my brother, it don't matter if you're back or white." Jackson was a very open minded person and was willing to accept many people. One's race didn’t matter to this man. Through his song Michael Jackson opened up gates from many people to realize that no matter what one's skin to tone is. Everyone one was equal, but if one was racist it was okay because that was their choice as a human being. Even though he has passed away, Jackson's music has been some of the most successful and known work produced by an artist. Some of his words were for entertainment but others were to get a point or belief across to his fans.

    Grace Dossert


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    Jan 19th, 2009 1:20pm report

    Black And White is a song about racism and that it doesn't matter where you're from or what colour you are, because we are all people! It is such a great positive boppy song!


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    Jun 29th, 2009 6:49am report

    This song is simple, MJ is saying basically that he doesnt care what color your skin is, and that love, and friendship know no skin color. Micheal Jackson was a very talented man, and we've lost something we will never get back, pop is truly dead...


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    Jul 10th, 7:29am report

    I think this song is about the world and in his song he's trying to tell us about the difference between nations.He's not trying to say about his skin color and this is the greatest song in the world.


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    May 1st, 5:39pm report

    You are wrong. It is not his oppinion on racism and is everybodys RITE to know the truth. What he realy suffered and what black and white realy symbolises.


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    Sep 29th, 2015 9:54am report

    The song is basically against making people carbon copy of themselves, it challenges the stereotypical white culture and its perception of people and relationships back in the day, it acknowledges and empathizes the differences … yes we are different but instead of being afraid of our differences we should celebrate them …


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    Feb 4th, 2015 2:56pm report

    The songs preaches that racism should not be tollerated but it is from Michael Jackson's unique point of you. Unique because his skin disease forced him - a black skinned man- to turn into a depigmented black man but white audience accused him of trying to become white when he tried to even out the patchy skin with creams because of the vitiligo. He thus experienced a sort of reverse discrimination for "becoming white" but Jackson did not let this nor the disease hold him back. Instead he was to use his transformed skin color as theatrical part of his persona and play with the notion of transformation artistically in his films. In the music video Black or White you see him transcend from a Black Panther to a light skinned man only to eventually sing "it don't matter if you're black or white". He is saying this for the races in the world but he is also speaking on a personal level in that his transformation should not matter, he is still himself- an artist. In the video we then see one thing transforming into another. This reiterates the aspect of himself going through transformation (he starts out dancing in Africa and eventually goes across the world dancing with all races and colors). Both this song and the video displays his reoccurring motif of transformation that take place in his short films and in his music.


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    Nov 26th, 2014 11:53pm report

    Obviously it's about racial discrimination, hence "black or white." But Jackson is trying to discourage this, saying it doesn't matter what race/skin color or ethnic background you come from. WORLD PEACE FELLOW HIPPIES!


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    Dec 18th, 2013 12:12pm report

    I don't think this song is about race at all. I'm of the opinion that it is entirely about good versus evil.


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    Dec 18th, 2012 12:31am report

    Can someone help me interpret these lyrics:

    I Took My Baby
    On A Saturday Bang
    Boy Is That Girl With You
    Yes We're One And The Same

    Now I Believe In Miracles
    And A Miracle
    Has Happened Tonight

    In the first set of verses, I think MJ was referring to himself and someone of another race being seen together by a racist, and was questined by that racist of why they were together, and MJ's answer was "yes were one and the same", meaning, yes we can be together, were one and the same.

    In the second set of verses I'm not too sure of. MJ says "Now I believe in miracles and a miracle has happened tonight". What does he mean by that? Is he saying that his skin being white was a miracle?


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    Nov 20th, 2012 11:43pm report

    This song is basically saying not to discriminate people based on color. Which is going back to what Martin Luther King Jr. protested against: racism. Michael always accepted everyone no matter the color of their skin. And he always tried to show everyone in the world that just because someone's skin color is different, not to single them out. Michael was discriminated for making this song by his own race: whites. Because for some reason everyone thought that he bleached his skin which is true to a certain extent. And because he apparently bleached all his skin, and everyone says he's supposed to black. Well that may be true but as he said there's nothing he can do about it, it happened and he didn't want to have vitiligo so present he decided to bleach the rest to balance it out. What's wrong with that? Anyway, white people discriminated him for making that song. Because he was black and "Bleached" his skin. There are always going to be some people no matter what is said they're gonna ignore that and just pretend they didn't hear a thing. And Michael didn't care what people thought he spoke his mind to try and end racism. But there's always gonna be racism.


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    Jun 1st, 2012 6:22pm report

    Ok, so it is bothering me too much that some people here are posting non-sense. You clearly do not get the song or maybe do not know how to express your understanding of it.

    This is the gist of it: He is saying that people are more than a color, so stop discriminating and making assumptions about who others are based on the color of their skin. It also talks about discrimination of religion and sexual orientation, and the message is to come together, it doesnt matter what religion, sexual orientation, or color(race or ethnicity) you identify with. We are all humans, we are equal!

    Pay special attention to the following part...
    The part where he sings: "and I told about equality, its true, you're either wrong or you're right" means that everyone should be treated as equals, that is the only thing that is right. If you do not think this, then you are wrong, because you would be encouraging discrimination, by saying that some or any group of people should not be treated as equals.

    He also sings, "It starts with you" meaning that you dont have to wait until the world magically changes, it starts with you, in your life and with the choices you make daily...choices of how to treat others, how to view others that are different from yourself.

    The interpretation from Sept 19th 2009 21:07 should be taken off or corrected please. It is misleading and incorrect.


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    Mar 29th, 2012 3:07am report

    Black and White is about racism. Michael sings that he doesn’t care if people are being racist. He tells that no matter how we look we are all humans. He also says that he is tired of racism but it doesn’t scare him at all. Michael’s message is that everybody is equal and no one is less or more than anyone. He spread his message willing that everyone will follow him.


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    May 15th, 2011 5:46pm report

    We are all equal no matter what color we are black or white


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    Feb 19th, 2011 2:45am report

    This song is about breaking racial barriers. He is saying that we are all brothers


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    Jan 23rd, 2010 1:21am report

    Fantastic song. Michael Jackson was a genius. Black or White speaks out against racism. About how he's not gonna be a color, he's gonna be a person. And that no matter how it appears to be, everyone is "one and the same."


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    Dec 17th, 2009 12:40pm report

    This song is a great song to listen to, and I love the video as well. I especially like the "Panther Dance", where Michael morphs from a black panther, dances for a little bit, and then shows why aggressiveness is part of the masculine design when he expresses his anger at all the racism in the world by breaking the windshield and windows of the car. I don't think the Panther Dance is controversial; I believe it's very inspirational and creative. He was so sexy dancing like that, and he will always be a great treasure in our hearts, minds and memories.


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    Jul 8th, 2009 7:11am report

    I don't believe he is talking about himself specifically or else he would sing" it doesn't matter if I am white or black" but he does not!", he sings"It does not matter if you are black or white" including the world.


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