“I try to put myself in your shoes and that’s a good place to begin,” Paisley sings, “but it ain’t like I can walk a mile in someone else’s skin/Because I’m a white man livin’ in the southland/Just like you I’m more than what it seems/I’m proud of where I’m from/But not everything we’ve done/It ain’t like you and me can rewrite history/Our generation didn’t start this nation/We’re still paying for mistakes that a bunch of folks made long before we came.”
Country singer Brad Paisley recently teamed up with rapper LL Cool J to produce “Accidental Racist” a laughable song that is supposed to spark a conversation about race relations in this country, but what it really does is show just how uneducated we are when it comes to the history of race relations in America.
Paisley talks about “Southern Pride” throughout this song and how he should not be judged by the Confederate Flag he wears with pride on his clothes or displays on his truck. His and anyone else willingness to display the Confederate Flag in pride is shameful. What is there to be proud about in that flag? That flag is the flag of traitors, of oppression, and for decades a symbol of terror for African Americans. The Confederate Flag belongs in a museum not on any article of clothing, cars, or flown over any state houses.
“Paisley wants to know how he can express his Southern Pride. Here are some ways. He could hold a huge party on Martin Luther King’s birthday, to celebrate a Southerner’s contribution to the world of democracy. He could rock a T-shirt emblazoned with Faulkner’s Light In August, and celebrate the South’s immense contribution to American literature. He could preach about the contributions of unknown Southern soldiers like Andrew Jackson Smith. He could tell the world about the original Cassius Clay. He could insist that Tennessee raise a statue to Ida B. Wells. Every one of these people are Southerners. And every one of them contributed to this great country. But to do that Paisley would have to be more interested in a challenging conversation and less interested in a comforting lecture (Ta-Nehisi Coates).”
The most shameful portion of the song is when LL Cool J appears on the track and continues his dissent into irrelevance. He kicks off his portion of the song “Dear, Mr. White Man, I wish you understood what the world was really like living in the hood.” Later in the song he raps, “I guess we’re both guilty of judging 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.”
Later he and Paisley enter a call and response portion of the song where LL Cool J raps in part: “If you don’t judge my ‘do rag, I won’t judge your red flag. … If you don’t judge my gold chains, I’ll forget the iron chains … Can’t rewrite history, baby … let bygones be bygones … Rest in peace, Robert E. Lee, I got to thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me … .”
The most egregious line in the song is when LL says “If you don’t judge my gold chains, I’ll forget the iron chains”. First, Materialism is one of the driving factors behind the wealth/income gap in the African American community, so for LL to rap about gold chains (insert Trinidad James Joke here) show his ignorance on issues of relevance in the African American community. Secondly, he says he would “forget the iron chains”. When a people forget/disregard their very own history is when they decline. Slavery is a part of African American and American history and should NEVER be forgotten, as a matter of fact, if Paisley and LL would have taken a course in African American History and Reconstruction maybe they would have not made such a horrible, laughable, uneducated song.