Dancing with Michael Jackson by Toni Bowers Baltimore and its discontents

MUST READ – Dancing with Michael Jackson by Toni Bowers
Baltimore and its discontents- –

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An amazing review/article has just been written by LA Review of Books – Bower’s look at the current racial inequities being highlighted in America’s legal system and how it relates to the way Michael Jackson was treated.  It is very much worth a read and SHARE —  the more the world is awakened to the injustices meted out on Michael Jackson the more they might realize why it happened and what was the reasonings behind it.

Excerpt –

“I asked a 20-something friend what he thought of Michael Jackson’s music: do kids still dance to it? My friend’s response was instructive. “Great music,” he said, “but when someone got up to what he did with little children, he’s better forgotten.” I was stunned. Is it possible? After one of the most expensive and intensive trials in American history resulted in “not guilty” on all counts, after repeated demonstrations that Michael Jackson engaged in no wrongdoing but was targeted by extortionists, and in the face of the now huge amount of consistent testimony to the honorable, damaged human being Jackson actually was, can it be that the media bottom-feeders who saw his lynching as a profit opportunity continue, to this day, to define Jackson and limit the power of his work? Apparently so. The slow-motion crucifixion of Jackson’s reputation that took place more than a decade ago still goes on.  .  .  .

The same nation of viewers who were willing to sit by and let the nightmare engulf Jackson now watches even more harrowing experiences overtake dozens of others. Some observers are using the irresponsibly selective footage from Baltimore that the national media have presented as fodder for reinforcing their prejudices. (Who would guess, watching TV, that destruction has been less common than orderly demonstrations and gestures of solidarity?) Jackson’s experiences and those of the many, many people of color who have recently run afoul of the police and died for it are not the same. But they are, in certain ways, related. They are disgraceful in similar ways, and for similar reasons. They expose similar pathologies that are eating away at us, and make us see more than we want to see about ourselves.

Here is one thing that Michael Jackson’s experience makes clear: the acts of injustice that we are witnessing now are founded on, in a way authorized by, an appalling, long-standing fact of life in the US: that when it comes to respect, civil rights, and justice, it does matter if you’re black or white. Jackson was the most visible American of color in recent years who found that he had only to be accused to be treated savagely. But the discovery was by no means unique to him. (What was unique was how directly responsible the media were for what Jackson suffered; few actual criminals have to endure the ignominy he did in front of a global audience.) In Jackson’s case as in every one of the sickening cases we have heard about in the past couple of years, an American of color was denied one of the most precious rights all Americans supposedly enjoy: the presumption of innocence. Each of the cases is different, but in that important way, each is alike, too.”

READ and SHARE Full article here  – “Dancing with Michael Jackson by Toni Bowers: Balitmore and it’s discontents

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4 Responses to Dancing with Michael Jackson by Toni Bowers Baltimore and its discontents

  1. Gloria says:

    The paragraph beginning…I asked a 20 something friend…(and what he said.) This ignorance and misinformed ideas about Michael Jackson expressed by many leaves me feeling upset, sad and feeling helpless to do anything about the media that brought about this injustice.

    Like

  2. Keely Meagan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I’m so excited to see more conversation in the mainstream press about the political context of the attacks against Jackson and how that relates to Baltimore and beyond. These were a couple of the key points I saw in the article:

    “In Jackson’s case as in every one of the sickening cases we have heard about in the past couple of years, an American of color was denied one of the most precious rights all Americans supposedly enjoy: the presumption of innocence. Each of the cases is different, but in that important way, each is alike, too.”

    “To say so is not the same as saying that Michael Jackson was not remarkably vulnerable to abuse or that he didn’t make serious errors. He was, he did. Sentimental, reticent, and overly accommodating as victims of childhood abuse so often are, isolated, fragile, narcissistic, strange, and filthy rich, terrified of confrontation, spottily educated while burdened with genius, and used to his family making a meal of him, Jackson was, as Steven Spielberg famously put it, “like a fawn in a burning forest.” But none of that is the same as being a criminal, any more than running down a street or not allowing an unwarranted search of one’s home or cutting school is a reason to be shot. No wonder Jackson was overwhelmed. No wonder Americans are demonstrating in the streets. Who could do otherwise?”

    “Privileged white Americans need to learn to recognize their tendency to individualize oppression.”

    “To dance with Michael Jackson, to take his outstretched hand, is about more than honoring a difficult, extraordinary life and immense gifts — though it is high time we did that without grudging, judging, or telling lies. It is something we must do for ourselves and for each other — not in an attempt to keep ourselves safe from the present pain and danger, but to move farther into the most perplexing aspects of our own lives, and confront them with joy. IT IS A WAY OF CHOOSING THE KIND OF FUTURE WE WANT, AND THE KIND OF PEOPLE WE WANT TO BE.” (Emphasis mine),

    “Got the message? Good. Let’s dance.”

    Given D.B. Anderson’s prior article (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-messenger-king-20141209-story.html) in the Baltimore Sun and now this, and Anderson’s experience of journalists giving him lots of positive feedback about him saying Jackson was attacked for his politics, perhaps we really have an opportunity right now to clear Jackson’s name AND deepen our understanding of how to heal the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We feel the opposite – This article left us feeling encouraged and positive because the academic world is doing much to bring out the truth of how Michael Jackson was mistreated not only by the media but by our legal system – While there are still a few people who have swallowed the baseless accusations against him as fact even though he proved his innocence through a court proceeding, they do not bother us much. We see a daily increase in his truth being spread about …. and the multitudes of honors, statues, art exhibits, children emulating his style, dance and other tributes to the man are extremely encouraging as well. Did you know that his music was played for Pope Francis at a Celebration of Family? – played for Dalai Llama and Desmond Tutu-?- his artwork displayed in Children’s Hosptail of Los Angeles ? Bristish Embassy exhibiting part of his costumes etc..?… There are many positive activities going on worldwide that pay much respect to Michael Jackson .. This is what we must focus on ..not the few who haven’t tried to find the truth and rely only on tabloid fabrications. Keep the Faith .. .. much love and light …

    Liked by 1 person

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