Paris Jackson Discusses Her Identity as a Black Woman

Paris Jackson Discusses Her Identity as a Black Woman


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In a candid interview, Paris Jackson, the daughter of the late Michael Jackson, openly discussed her racial identity as a black woman. Despite her father’s iconic status in the music industry and his worldwide fame, Paris has been carving out her own path, one that includes embracing her racial background. Her self-identification as biracial and specifically as black, despite her appearance as a white woman, has been a point of contention for many.

Understanding Paris Jackson’s Identity Journey

During the interview, Paris shared her personal experiences and how she views herself racially. Given her mixed heritage, she acknowledged that some people might question her decision to identify as black. As many are aware, her father, Michael Jackson, was of African-American descent, despite appearing white in the later years of his career. In a 1990s interview with Oprah, he explained that his change in skin color was due to a condition called vitiligo, which caused his skin to lighten.

Paris spoke about her upbringing and how her father had always encouraged her and her siblings to embrace their heritage. She addressed the numerous rumors suggesting that Michael Jackson might not be her biological father. None of these rumors have been substantiated, but neither have they been definitively disproven. Paris asserted that her father consistently reminded her and her brother of their African-American roots.

“He would look me in the eyes, point his finger at me, and say, ‘You’re black. Be proud of your roots,’” she recalled. “I’d think, ‘He’s my dad, why would he lie to me?’ So I believed what he told me. To my knowledge, he’s never lied to me.”

The Internet’s Reaction

Paris Jackson’s interview sparked a range of reactions on the internet. Some praised her for acknowledging and embracing her black identity. They argued that if Michael Jackson is her biological father, she is technically biracial despite her white appearance. Many also shared stories about friends or family members who were born to mixed-race couples and appeared white, with no visible signs of darker skin or hair.

However, others expressed skepticism and questioned her authenticity, largely because of her white appearance and lighter skin tone. This response ignited a broader conversation about the challenges faced by white-presenting biracial individuals compared to those who more visibly identify as black.

“Paris Jackson is not black, just like Logic and Halsey are not black, whether or not that man who was full black was her biological dad or just her dad dad,” tweeted user @Janetscoop.

Media personality Wendy Williams also weighed in on the discussion. She pointed out that while a white-passing individual may have a black parent, they won’t necessarily face the same struggles as someone with a darker skin tone. She emphasized the importance of visual perception over ethnic background.

“I get that she considers herself black and everything, but I’m just talking about the visual because you know… black is not what you call yourself, it’s what the cops see you when they got steel to your neck on the turnpike. It’s what they see. But that’s cute and good for her,” she said.

The Complexities Faced by White-Presenting Biracial Individuals


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White-presenting biracial individuals, such as Paris Jackson, often encounter unique challenges when it comes to their racial identity. While many biracial people struggle with their identity and feeling like they “fit in” with one group or another, they don’t always face the same level of systemic oppression and danger as those who are more visibly black or fully black.

The issue of colorism and racial passing is multifaceted. In society, white-presenting individuals often benefit from certain privileges and advantages because they can more easily navigate predominantly white spaces. However, they may also feel disconnected or struggle to fully embrace their black identity.

It’s crucial to recognize and respect that each person’s experience is unique, acknowledging the intersectionality of race with other aspects of an individual’s identity, such as gender, class, and culture. That said, it’s important for white-passing biracial individuals to understand and acknowledge that they will never experience systemic racism in the same way that people of color do.

White People and White-Presenting People Need to Educate Themselves

Paris Jackson’s honest interview shed light on the complexities of racial identity and how personal experiences shape one’s self-perception. Her journey serves as a reminder that identity is multifaceted, influenced by both ancestral heritage and personal experiences.

However, it also highlighted the lack of understanding that white-skinned individuals have regarding the actual hardships faced by people of color every day. If you have white skin, regardless of your heritage, you won’t have the same lived experiences as people of color. You won’t face racism, both overt and subtle. You won’t have the same inherent fear of the police or feel pressured to dress in a specific way to avoid appearing “threatening” to those around you. While white-presenting biracial individuals are entitled to acknowledge their roots and ethnicities, it’s important for them to also recognize the privilege they hold over people of color. This recognition can pave the way for systemic change and a better future.

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