Black or White features a young kid (Macaulay Culkin) playing loud music in his bedroom at night, and is yelled at by his enraged father (George Wendt), who demands he stops playing the music and go to bed. Culkin decides to forego his father's request to go to sleep by setting up large speaker cabinets behind his father's reclining chair, donning leather gloves and sunglasses, and playing an extremely loud power chord on an electric guitar. The sound then shatters the house's windows and sends his father (seated in his chair) halfway around the world, where the actual song begins. Culkin's mother declares that his father will be "very upset" upon his return. Wendt winds up in Africa, and Jackson begins to sing "Black or White", surrounded by various different cultures scene-by-scene.
Midway through the video, Jackson walks through visual collages of fire, referring to KKK torch ceremonies before a mock rap scene shared with Culkin and other children. Towards the end, different people singing the song as they morph into one another including a young Tyra Banks and actress Cree Summer. another (shown as "talking heads"). This technique, previously executed without digital assistance in the Godley & Creme's video for "Cry".
The last four minutes features Jackson walking out of the studio as a black panther and then morphs into himself. Then he walks outside to perform some of his most physically complicated dance techniques,. This part contained sexually suggestive scenes when Jackson starts to grab his crotch, and then zips his pants up. In the original version, Jackson is seen smashing windows, destroying a car and causing an inn (called the "Royal Arms") to explode. Jackson later apologized saying that the violent and suggestive behaviour was an interpretation of the animal instinct of a black panther, and MTV and other music video networks removed the last four minutes from subsequent broadcasts. To make the vandalism more palatable to viewers, racist graffiti was digitally added to the windows that Jackson smashes (reading "KKK Rules", "Nigger Go Home", "Hitler Lives" and "No More Wetbacks").