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New song undermines quality, reinforces racial stereotypes

May 2, 2013

By Gabriel Hart

The song “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J has caused a lot of controversy.

The country hip-hop mix begins with a verse from country singer Brad Paisley explaining to a black Starbucks worker why he wears the confederate flag. He indicates that his shirt which bears the confederate flag is nothing more than him being a fan of Skynard, an old southern rock band. He doesn’t understand why anyone would be offended by his shirt.
Paisley seems to forget the confederate flag narrates a time when slavery was accepted.

“I’m just a white man coming from the southland, trying to understand what it’s like to be proud of where I come from but not proud of everything we’ve done… and it ain’t like you and me can re-write history.”

He is in fact correct we cannot re-write history. However, we can educate ourselves Mr. Paisley and put an end to things that so blatantly offend each other.

LL Cool J comes in and makes things much more confusing.
“Dear Mr. White man, I wish you understood what life is really like when you’re living in the hood…” Stop right there, is LL Cool J meant to be representing the black man? Meaning every black man? Because every black man doesn’t live in the hood.

He goes on to say “Just because my pants are sagging doesn’t mean I’m up to no good you should try to get to know me… my chains are gold but I’m still misunderstood.” Oh there’s more, “If you don’t judge my du rag, I won’t judge your red flag.”

If he didn’t just single handedly undermine every black man in America deceased and alive then I don’t know what you call it. From MLK to Malcolm X, to Barack Obama, every black man doesn’t wear saggy pants, gold chains, and a du rag.

My point is that this song feeds into stereotypes. Is LL cool J speaking of how the white man judges only the black man who grew up in the hood? Because that’s all his raps indicate. Or is he speaking for every black man, because if he is he did a terrible job, and if he isn’t, he should’ve clarified that from the very beginning.

This song rambles about du rags and confederate flags but offers no solution. And the whole song LL is saying “Dear Mr. White Man,” when Paisley never once refers to LL as Dear Mr. Black Man. All Paisley does in this song is make excuses, while LL Cool J is saying “I’ll forget about the iron chains.” Mere stupidity, no black man or woman will ever forget about the iron chains but they can forgive -- however, this song does nothing to help that process.
If this song was never made the world would be missing nothing. It is a pointless song that misrepresents both races.

Finally the title of the song is the straw that broke the camel’s back, giving the song no chance before anyone even listens to it. “Accidental Racist” Let’s analyze this. The definition of a racist is someone who holds prejudice against another person based on their skin color and/or race, how can one do this accidentally? It can’t be done accidentally because it takes an effort to be a racist.

In addition, the suffix added to the end of the word “ist” shows a form of expertise. For example, someone who rides bicycles often is a Cycl‘ist’.
A rac‘ist’ is someone who has experience and firm beliefs in why they do it… it cannot be accidental.

Whatever it is that Brad Paisley and LL Cool J were trying to accomplish with this song, they failed. This song lacks value, facts, and knowledge. Perhaps the two of them should spend more time in the library and on Google next time.