How is Michael Jackson's song "Black or White" related to Sociology?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If there is an overriding theme to Jackson's song, it would be the call to find a realm that transcends "the color line," to quote DuBois.  In its promotion of racial harmony, the song speaks to a sociological condition whereby individuals feel defined by the color of their skin or their particular ethnicity.  This is brought out at several points in the song.  One particular point is the conclusion of the rap segment that closes with, " I don't want to spend the rest of my life being a color."  Jackson, himself, dancing with people of different ethnicities in the video for the song and concluding it dancing at the top of the Statue of Liberty all seem to bring to light how social orders and individuals within them possess the capacity to transcend racial divisions.  The sociological constructs of race and ethnicity that have become stratified enough to create divisions are called into question.  In its place, a more "globalized" vision of the world is offered by the video's ending of people of distinct ethnic backgrounds are being morphed into one another.  Jackson's sociological statement of a globalized world where commonalities are more important than differences could be seen as ahead of its time.

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