Why we should be concerned about the attacks on Michael Jackson’s children

The children of Michael Jackson have come a long way from the little people hidden to the world behind colorful masks following  his death in 2009. Oldest Prince Michael was recently named a special correspondent with Entertainment Tonight and has booked a guest role in the final season of 90210.  Sister Paris also plans to get into acting and has done interviews with Ellen and Oprah (where she elaborates on her father’s intentions regarding the masks). The youngest, Prince Michael II, affectionately known as “Blanket,” is still quite young and stays out of the media spotlight.

Inevitably, anytime the children receive media attention, questions are often raised about the paternity of Paris and Prince, as they are fair skinned with fairly straight textured hair. Insinuations often center around the following:

  • “they are too light skinned to be mixed”
  • “bi-racial people look like Barack Obama or Halle Berry”
  • “Michael Jackson once had strongly afro-centric features, it is impossible for his children not to have received any ‘black features’ at all”
  • “all the other kids of the Jackson brothers are mixed and they look mixed, Prince and Paris should too”
  • “Paris can’t be black because she has blue eyes”gty_paris_jackson_jp_111212_wblog
  • “Michael hated being black and bleached his skin therefore he obviously wanted white children”

This level of ignorance is astounding. I am quite curious as to how the biracial offspring of slaves were able to “pass” if they weren’t fair skinned enough to appear white.  Additionally, biracial children don’t always look like Barack or Halle, sometimes they look like Rashida Jones or Tom Sizemore.


Anyhow, while I am sure these suggestions are quite hurtful to Michael Jackson’s children, luckily they are extremely wealthy and have the means to get past this through therapy, a coordinated media campaign when they are older, etc. I’d like to focus on the women in our community who may have or one day have biracial children.

Given the nature of genetics, it is very possible that one of us could have a child who looks like Paris or Prince and to some people, appears white. Actress Victoria Rowell has discussed what it’s been like to be mistaken for her child’s nanny.  There are even worse things that could happen – like being accused of kidnapping when with your child or the usage of donor eggs being suggested. Not to mention the insults that might one day hurled at our children themselves – suggesting that they HAD to have been adopted, no way they could have a black mother and look so “white.” Additionally, the opposite could happen, where children with a non-black partner look “totally black” resulting in their paternity being questioned.

Much of our society continues to have a myopic, ignorant view of what bi- or multi-racial people “should” look like. While the target currently happens to be the wealthy children of an eccentric father, we could all one day find ourselves with children in the same boat. Attacks on the ethnicity of Paris and Prince based on their appearance are shameful. For those in our community with interracial children, how do you navigate questions about paternity/maternity centered around your child’s appearance?

NOTE: This is NOT a post about the life of Michael Jackson, his plastic surgery, etc. This is about the ethnic/racial identity (and therefore paternity/maternity) of children being questioned based on their phenotypes and appearance. Discussions about Michael Jackson’s life, trials, etc should be taken to other avenues, there are plenty of them on the interwebs.

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