Brad Paisley, LL Cool J — Country Song ‘Accidental Racist’ Misses Its Mark
Country star Brad Paisley and LL Cool J probably had the best of intentions when going in to record “Accidental Racist,” their ode to modern-day racism struggles in the South.
Unfortunately, the tune misses its mark.
The song tells the story about two men whose appearances throw one another off. First there’s the man in Starbucks wearing a red shirt with the Confederate flag. Paisley sings:
I’m just a white man, coming to you from the South land,
Trying to understand what it’s like not to be
I’m proud of where I’m from, but not everything we’ve done
and it ain’t like you and me can rewrite history
Our generation didn’t start this nation
we’re still picking up the pieces, walking on eggshells fighting over yesterday
caught between Southern pride and Southern blame
Later, LL Cool J makes his case. He rhymes:
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
You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would
Now my chains are gold but I’m still misunderstood
I wasn’t there when Sherman’s March turned the south into firewood
I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could
Feel like a new fangled Django, dodgin’ invisible white hoods
So when I see that white cowboy hat, I’m thinkin’ it’s not all good
I guess we’re both guilty of judgin’ the cover not the book
I’d love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air
But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn’t here
The real problem is in the song’s outro, where LL makes some incredible statements.
“If you don’t judge my gold chains…. I’ll forget the iron chains… The past is the past, you feel me… Let bygones be bygones… RIP Robert E. Lee but I’ve gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me.”
We get the intended message — don’t blame one person for the sins of another — but we’d like to think the relationship between blacks and whites in America can be boiled down to a bit more than just letting bygones be bygones. Not everything is that simple.
Watch Brad Paisley “Accidental Racist” Feat. LL Cool J Video