71 The Michael Jackson Pill: Equality, Race, and Culture
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71 The Michael Jackson Pill: Equality, Race, and Culture JEROME McCRISTAL CULP, JR. The Chronicle of the Michael Jackson Pill I was leaving Langdell Hall, after having feasted too fervently at my fifteenth law school reunion, when I noticed what looked like a very ancient document pushed down in the trash can. The ancient scroll seemed out of place so carelessly thrown away outside the world's largest law school library. I picked it up and was surprised to discover that there, very near Derrick Bell's former office, I had found another of the scrolls that Professor Bell's friend Geneva had revealed to him before she joined the celestial curia . What was this wondrous document doing in Langdell Hall? Maybe it was some further message from Geneva Crenshaw that had been dropped there for me to discover. I rushed to find Professor Bell to tell him of my good luck. As I approached the office that had once belonged to Professor Bell, I noticed a group of six black men standing together in the hallway. Much to my surprise and delight, I recognized among them the five faculty members at Harvard Law School who are both black and male. The sixth man was not Professor Bell, nor did I know him from Harvard, but he looked familiar and unmistakably professorial. Seeing this group gathered there confirmed the only possible interpretation of my discovery-I had been given the opportunity to share it with those at Harvard who would most appreciate its significance and, perhaps, explain it to me. "Hey guys! What are you doing here?" I asked, chuckling secretly to myself about my discovery. However-as I was about to say some new version of "Guess what I fo'und?"I noticed that they all held scrolls that looked markedly like mine. Without an additional word we all opened our scrolls to find identical statements: Dr. Michael Jackson, a doctor educated at Motown University'and now a professor of medical appearance at Hollywood University, has invented a pill that if taken by black people will remove all vestiges of being black. Black features will disappear from black people who take the pill, and they will be given a random selection of names that white people in America have, Black speech patterns and ways of organizing expression will go away, To every outside appearance , all black people who take the pill will become white, The legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has passed Massachusetts General 92 MrcH. L REV, 2613 (1994), Originally published in the Michigan Law Review. Reprinted by permission, Copyrighted Material The Michael Jackson Pill 439 Law 1619.28, requiring all black residents of the state to take the Michael Jackson Pill. Black residents who do not take the pill are subject to fines of up to $ 2,000. Sonny Flynn, speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly, said, "This bill will for all time remove the vestiges of slavery that have plagued this great commonwealth." The NAACP objects to the application of this statute to black residents of Massachusetts and asks the five black Harvard faculty members and Professor Derrick Bell to write a brief and argue the case. Representative King, one of three African Americans in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, has pointed out that evidence suggests that white people who take the pill will become black. He argues that black is beautiful and that we ought to make all white people take the pill. Marjorie Jones, a white professor of political economy at the Kennedy School, has noted that it is cheaper to have black people take the pill and that the problems with race are basically confined to the unfortunate segment that is black. "We, the white citizens of Massachusetts, are willing to welcome black people to that great white melting pot," she adds. We were all instantly removed to a conference room nearby, with Derrick Bell at one end of the table and at the other an empty chair. Several of the faculty began to talk simultaneously when a deep but very feminine voice, belonging unmistakably to Geneva Crenshaw, interrupted Geneva Crenshaw: Excuse me-Excuse me. I see that you are all here. I have called all of you here today to discuss whether black people should take this pill. Can we be saved by a pill that transforms all black people into white people? Derrick has been making trouble by questioning whether some of you even want to be white, but Dr. Jackson...