But really, just because Michael Jackson said that when he was alive doesn’t mean we have to believe him right? The New York Times reports today:
Jamie Foxx, the host of the Black Entertainment Television music awards, was unequivocal on Sunday night. â€œWe want to celebrate this black man,â€ Mr. Foxx said of Michael Jackson. â€œHe belongs to us and we shared him with everybody else.â€
Mr. Jackson was to music what Michael Jordan was to sports and Barack Obama to politics â€” a towering figure with crossover appeal, even if in life some of Mr. Jacksonâ€™s black fans wondered if he was as proud of his race as his race was of him. But since his death on Thursday, many African-Americans have embraced Mr. Jackson without ambivalence. In scores of interviews across the country over the weekend, few expressed the kind of resentment some once had for his strangeness, his changing appearance, his distance from the cherubic Michael of the Jackson 5.
I can understand the sentiment behind this – Michael Jackson was the first big black icon. So naturally African Americans feel a sense of ownership. But there is a danger here isn’t there? If every black person represents or belongs to the community then you end up defending the bad (OJ, Mike Tyson) along with trying to claim the good (MJ).
This happens a lot in the UK too. For the longest time, in the national newspapers, if one Muslim or black person did something bad then it was seen as representative of the entire ‘community’. Taking that cue from the papers – the same people end up trying to police everyone and condemning anyone from their community who steps out of line as bad.
I think it’s time to kill this attitude. Even the words ‘community’ or ‘communities’ should be banned. Who says white people belong ‘to communities’? And yet you see journalists now refer to minorities as belonging to ‘communities’ instead of one community. That’s not really an improvement is it. They should use ‘families’ or refer to them as individuals.
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Filed in: British Identity,Race politics,United States