Bigot of the Week Award: April 12, Brad Paisley and LL Cool J

12 Apr
Bigots of the Week

Bigots of the Week

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.

11 Responses to “Bigot of the Week Award: April 12, Brad Paisley and LL Cool J”

  1. lunagrown April 12, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    After his failed tryst with Tom Cruise, Paisley’s record sales plummeted forcing him out of the cookie cutter recordings of country-pop tunes and back into the reality of dive bars. This sudden change in living conditions forced his body to overproduce testosterone certainly creating poor judgement calls and the need for accessorizing with jewelry and scarves associated with neanderthal society. Thus further inhibiting the creative, yet masculine side of himself, to develop to fruition. What a shame

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 12, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      What an absolutely lovely comment, which allowed me to laugh at the joke that is Paisley.

  2. Will S. April 15, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    You are so right about this one. “Accidental,” my ass. I read the lyrics to that song (couldn’t listen to the music), and all I could think was “Wow. Could you be any more stereotypical?” Ugh… I hate that. Good choice for Bigot of the Week

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 15, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Thanks for chiming in here, Will. Yes, I though this was particularly sad. Paisley comes off as a stereotypical racist and I just can’t eve fathom why L L Cool J comes to his defense. Neither of them are bright men, but both have done a great deal of damage regarding understanding racism in 21st Century United States.

  3. inkpaperpen April 15, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    I somewhat agree, but isn’t talking about it a step towards ending it? They didn’t go about it gracefully, but at least they’re trying, right?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 15, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      I so wish I could agree with you, Tracy. Sadly, they are not trying to end racism, they are making excuses for it. Paisley has absolutely no understanding of his own unearned power and privilege as a white heterosexual male and is abusing his power to allow people to behave in very hurtful racist and homophobic ways. I do love your optimism though, and I’m guessing you will use your voice to help people unpack what racism and homophobia are and work towards ending how we marginalize people.

      • inkpaperpen April 15, 2013 at 7:26 am #

        We shouldn’t try to end racism based on stereotypes, I know. But until we do find a way to end it, I guess this seems like better than nothing. But I will use my voice in that way.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 15, 2013 at 7:34 am #

        Both Paisley and L L Cool J are clearly focused on making money–I don’t believe for a minute that Paisley has any intent on ending racism or homophobia. An effective way of ending racism is for the dominant discourse (the people in power–white wealthy heterosexual men) to look at how we created this power structure through a series of laws over the past almost 300 years that intentionally oppress people of color and the poor. Sadly, lawmakers are continuing this trend today.

  4. Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 12, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    Thanks for reblogging this, Nancy.


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