The new duet between country singer Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J, "Accidental Racist," has been in the spotlight recently due to it's (almost satirically absurd) racial controversy. Although Paisley's intention of taking on self proclaimed "progressive" ideas was not designed to offensive, the message didn't come across quite so clearly. The song was meant to be an exploration of race, with Brad Paisley and LL Cool J offering different perspectives.
The hybrid country-pop song begins by Paisley trying to explain his affinity for Confederate flag apparel to a black man. He claims he's "no racist," and wants to leave America's history in the past. The country singer goes on to say that he is "caught between southern pride and southern blame." All of this is states in a casual conversation with a black man, and comes across highly insensitive. A conservative, southern, white male randomly striking up a conversation with a black man and defending his Confederate pride is extremely inappropriate.
The most absurd part of the song begins with LL Cool J's first verse:
"Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good."
These blatant stereotypes of Paisley's idea of a typical black man are unbelievably racist. Paisley claims his lyrics were written with intentions of rejecting racism, yet by enforcing these racial stereotypes he is doing exactly the opposite.
But wait for it - the chorus gets even more politically incorrect:
"I'm just a white man
(If you don't judge my do-rag)
Comin' to you from the southland
(I won't judge your red flag)
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be..."
If you couldn't already guess from Paisley's absurd "standards" of a typical black or white man, let it be know that LL Cool J sings the lyrics in the parenthesis. It's shocking how in this day in age a song was allowed to be produced as offensively racist as Paisley's "Accidental Racist."
"I'm sure there are people who would criticize it for its naiveté," Paisley said. "But honestly I prefer to be naive if it means hopeful. The most naive of us might actually achieve something because they're too naive to know that that's not possible." No, Mr. Paisley, you don't occasionally come across as an "accidental racist," you are just plain racist.
I guess the rest of us will have to accept Paisley's "naive" perspective on racism for now, as we search for a more politically correct song that might actually have some intelligent ideas about race in America.