The musical merging of Brad Paisley and LL Cool J is strange enough as a concept. Sadly, it also results in a horrific song. The title, Accidental Racist, is bad enough, demonstrating a blatant race to innocence and ignorance of privilege. The lyrics are even worse. Paisley defends wearing the Confederate battle flag as a simple expression of “southern pride” while implying that the way people may look down on Southern whites is somehow comparable to centuries of institutionalized racism.
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
Paisley doubles down by name-checking Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band whose Sweet Home Alabama famously celebrates George Wallace.
We’ve noted Paisley’s behavior previously, notably his overt homophobia. More surprising is hip hop star LL Cool J joining in the song. He engages in some tragic overidentification with the oppressor, rapping
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.
So trendy street bling somehow neutralizes militant defense of human slavery and a long history of racist laws that were designed to define “whiteness” and oppress black folk? That’s a seriously offensive and dangerous message. Even in the controversy, however, both artists continue to defend the song, with Paisley stating, “I wouldn’t change a thing.” I’m sure you wouldn’t, Brad. I’m sure “some of your best friends are black, or gay.” Wow, his obliviousness to his own unearned power and privilege make me rather ill. While, I don’t expect any better from Paisley, I am rather disappointed in L L Cool J–who is not so cool!
Dishonorable mention this week goes to Rep. Paul Broun (R – GA). The arch-conservative, who is running to replace retiring bigot Saxby Chambliss in the Senate next year, was responding to a proposal (currently shelved, by the way) to include gender reassignment surgery in Medicare and Medicaid coverage. The ever-delightful Broun commented:
I don’t want to pay for a sex change operation. I’m not interested. I like being a boy.
Apparently he also likes being a bigot and an idiot. Don’t want a sex change, Rep. Broun? DON’T HAVE ONE! But don’t use your power to prevent others from receiving reasonable medical care.