Accidental Racist: An Incidental Controversy

LL-Cool-J-Brad-Paisley-Accidental-Racist-MP3-Listen

If you have been on the Internet this week, you most certainly have heard the controversy surrounding Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s new track, “Accidental Racist” (featured on Brad’s new album “Wheelhouse”). “Accidental Racist” portrays a white male (Brad) and a black male (LL Cool J) speaking to one another from the heart, explaining what it is like to be of a particular race and asking the other to understand the stereotypes and misconceptions that go hand-in-hand with people of all races.

A portion of the “Accidental Lyrics” are as follows:

Paisley:

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.

Cool J:

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.

What is your take on “Accidental Racist”? Do you think this song successfully addresses the longstanding issue of racism in our country, or do you think the lyrics add more fuel to the proverbial fire? Tell us your position on this highly controversial song!

 

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