‘Accidental Racist’ song by Brad Paisley stirs controversy
(Fox News) — ‘Accidental Racist,’ the newest song from Brad Paisley, is stirring controversy.
The song titled ‘Accidental Racist’ and features Paisley and LL Cool J hit the web on Monday and was greeted by a barrage of backlash.
The song opens with the county coroner walking into a Starbucks donning a confederate flag t-shirt, hoping others understand that he only did it because he’s “a Skynyrd fan.”
“I’m proud of where I’ve come from, but not everything we’ve done. It ain’t like you and me can re-write history,” Paisley sings. “Our generation didn’t start this nation, and we’re still picking up the pieces, walking on eggshells, fighting over yesterday. Caught between southern pride and southern blame… Cause I’m a white man, living in the South land.”
Rapper LL Cool J then chimes in, which comes across as something of a public apology or conversation on racism within America.
“Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood what the world is really like when you’re living in the hood. Just because my pants are sagging doesn’t mean I’m up to no good. You should try to get to know me; I really wish you would… If you don’t judge my do-rag, I won’t judge your red flag.”
Other lyrics include Paisley’s singing “I try to put myself in your shoes and that’s a good place to begin,” while the rapper adds lines like “Now my chains are gold but I’m still misunderstood,” “I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could,” and “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.”
And though the song has gotten plenty of attention, Paisley insists it’s about more than that.
“I think that [the song] comes from an honest place in both cases, and that’s why it’s on there and why I’m so proud of it. This isn’t a stunt. This isn’t something that I just came up with just to be sort of shocking or anything like that. I knew it would be, but I’m sort of doing it in spite of that, really,” the prominent country music artist told Enterainment Weekly. “I’m with my audience 100 percent in the Southern pride thing, in the same way that a Yankees fan is very proud of where he’s from — that’s LL. We’ve got pictures of him in a New York Yankees cap doing his vocal, which is so appropriate. But, you know, it’s such a complicated issue — I’m reading up on it now, [since] I felt I needed to be well-armed for any discussion – and here he is in a Yankees cap, and you think to yourself, ‘Well here is the antithesis of what was the problem.’ It’s not.”
Paisley went on to say that “New York City was all for slavery.”
“They actually voted 60 percent against — or maybe 70 against — Abraham Lincoln because they didn’t like the idea of slavery going away because there goes cotton, and there goes the tobacco trade, you know what I mean? It’s very hypocritical to feel like it’s just the South’s fault,” he continued.
Yet the song’s attempt to address racism isn’t sitting well with many music pros.
“A lot of the knee-jerk offense at this track is just because they acknowledge some rather uncomfortable realities, but it doesn’t feel ill-intended,” music composer and founder of Beta Fish Music, Jed Smith told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “It feels like so many other songs that deal with complex issues with simple, literal, guileless language: cheesy. There is no art to the songwriting, no metaphor, no depth, and so it comes across as a superficial assessment of certain aspects of race relations, with an ostensibly positive message about moving on together that just isn’t very cleverly presented.”
Read more: Fox News
To the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main, I hope you understand When I put on that t-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is I’m a Skynyrd fan The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south And I just walked him right in the room Just a proud rebel son with an ‘ol can of worms Lookin’ like I got a lot to learn but from my point of view
I’m just a white man comin’ to you from the southland Tryin’ 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 re-write history Our generation didn’t start this nation We’re still pickin’ up the pieces, walkin’ on eggshells, fightin’ over yesterday And caught between southern pride and southern blame
They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears We’re still siftin’ through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years I try to put myself in your shoes and that’s a good place to begin But it ain’t like I can walk a mile in someone else’s skin
‘Cause I’m a white man livin’ in the southland Just like you I’m more than what you see I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history Our generation didn’t start this nation And we’re still paying for the mistakes That a bunch of folks made long before we came And caught between southern pride and southern blame
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
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 I’m proud of where I’m from (If you don’t judge my gold chains) But not everything we’ve done (I’ll forget the iron chains) It ain’t like you and me can re-write history (Can’t re-write history baby)
Oh, Dixieland (The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin’) I hope you understand what this is all about (Quite frankly I’m a black Yankee but I’ve been thinkin’ about this lately) I’m a son of the new south (The past is the past, you feel me) And I just want to make things right (Let bygones be bygones) Where all that’s left is southern pride (RIP Robert E. Lee but I’ve gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean) It’s real, it’s real It’s truth