GUESS WHAT EVERYONE!? This is such great news! Brad Paisley and LL Cool J have ended racism!!! No seriously, for reals, guys. IT’S OVER! Racism is like sooooo 2012 now.
…AND THEY DID IT WITH A SONG!!! Hugs all around, people! No, I mean it – get over here, black guy! I’M HUGGING YOU SO SUPER HARD!
I know, right! [goosebumps]
YEP, C-YA RACISM! And don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
Only if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. could be alive to see this now. His dream would fina…
…um sorry, hold on.
Ok, full disclosure: I just now heard the song, and I seem to have made a little mistake. What I meant to say is that Brad Paisley and LL Cool J ended MUSIC, not racism. No, racism is actually thriving and healthy. So yes, if you’re keeping score at home:
Take a listen for yourself (my regards):
Yeah, sorry about that. I really thought racism was pretty much over when I found out Brad Paisley had a duet with LL Cool J called “Accidental Racist.” I mean, what could go wrong with a song title like that? Answer:
nothing everything. Seriously??? It’s almost as catchy as that popular 9/11 song “Accidental Plane Crash Into Buildings” or that old favorite about the Holocaust “Accidental Let’s Get Rid of the Jews.”
Because we all know “accidents happen,” right?
Now, I’m sure the song is paved with good intentions, but you know what else is paved with good intentions? THE ROAD TO HELL. And honestly I feel like I’m traveling there when I hear the lyrics.
“Accidental Racist” was supposed to be a tune “bout a good ol’ country boy hangin’ with his BFF” – oh sorry, his BLACK BFF – sippin’ dranks at Starbucks, laughing, crying, and you know…enjoying some light conversation about slavery.
It was supposed to be a chance for black people and white people to come together and “get over” the past. You know, because you should “get over” slavery and racism in the same way you get over a cold or your favorite team losing the Superbowl.
It was supposed to be a way for both races to understand where each other was coming from. I imagine Paisley and LL thought it would go down like this:
LL would be like: “hey white person, yeah I feel ya on wearing that
Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt Confederate flag, but don’t judge me when I want to sag my pants a little or wear a 5 lb. gold chain around my neck that says ‘Str8 Pimpin’ because it’s just an expression of me not being a slave.”
And then his BFF Paisley would be all like: “Ahhhh shucks Mr. Cool J, I ain’t judging nobody. I love the blacks. I’ve seen all of Tyler Perry’s movies too. HI-LARIOUS! Nope, I’m just a strummin’ my GUI-TAR and ending racism FOREVER so long as you people just forget it happened. LOVE NCIS: Los Angeles, by the way.”
And then everyone listening would go “Ahhhhhhhh” and buy Paisley’s new album.
That’s how it was supposed to work.
It was supposed to unite Country and Hip-Hop music fans.
And it did…in pure hatred for this song.
And here’s why:
First of all, I’m pretty sure being a racist is intentional, and not an accident, right?
That’s a tough one since there are different types and degrees of racism: 10 to be exact. Let’s look at each of them in their order of severity.
1. Natural Racism
Worst offenders: Ants, and pretty much all animals.
It’s nature. It just happens.
2. Naive Racism
Worst offenders: Children under age 8
The only people that can get away with this kind of racism and not be horribly beaten are young children and maybe people with Tourettes. They have no idea what they’re saying. If you have kids, you’d be lying if an embarrassing situation like one of these hasn’t happened to you:
A 5-year old kid is in an elevator with his parents, and another family walks in. He asked his mom and dad why those people are “so dirty.” They are black.
A 4-year old girl asks mommy why her friend Katie always “squints.” Katie is Korean.
Parents, you know it’s happened to you at least once, and yes it’s awful when it does. Like all you can do is kind of awkwardly laugh because it somehow totally gets thrown back on you like “yeah, I guess my kids have never seen black people or Asians before.”
3. Honest Racism
Worst offenders: Americans, mostly.
This happens all the time with tourists, since it’s quite possible that someone could unintentionally do or say something racist when visiting a foreign country. For instance, let’s say “Gus Ferguson from Dayton, Ohio” visits India, where various animals (i.e. cows) are considered sacred because their gods are in the personification of that animal.
Is this going to stop “Gus” from asking for a nice, juicy steak during his visit to Mumbai? No. Dude just wanted a steak. But yes, while this might not be technically “racist,” it’s definitely culturally insensitive even though it was probably an honest mistake. Seriously though Gus, you should read “India for Dummies” before your trip, or something.
4. Sports Racism
Worst offenders: Teams with
Indian Native American mascots
Sorry Native Americans, but you totally get the shaft when it comes to racism in sports. You see, sometime in the early 1900s it became really trendy to name your team or school mascot after a race of people, and Native Americans must have done something REALLY COOL around that time or people just really liked feathers, I guess. Seriously, there’s like a million different species of animals to choose from for your mascot, but what do I know.
What’s surprising about this type of racism is how accepted it’s become in society. It’s like the Native American tribes are just supposed to be fine with it because “WE’RE HONORING THEIR BRAVERY!” or whatever. I imagine most tribes are about as “fine with it” as that time the early settlers took their land and murdered them.
But hey, “GO REDSKINS!”
Seriously, can you imagine in 2013 if New Mexico started an NFL team and named them the “Brownskins” because of the large Hispanic population in that area? People would RIOT!
Oh, and pipe down Cleveland Browns. Not the same thing.
5. Advertising Racism
Worst offenders: Take your pick
Advertisers are smart and understand human reaction. That’s why this is one of the worst kinds of racism because they make YOU feel racist even if you’re not. They mess with your mind.
Let me give you an example. Take a look at these Disney Princess Dipping Sticks:
This is probably your thought process:
Step 1: Everything’s Fine
“Ahhhhh, those are so cute! My girls would love those!”
Step 2: Realization and Outrage
“Wow, really!? Sure, let’s make the black princess be the watermelon flavor. Way to reinforce negative cultural stereotypes, Disney!”
Step 3: Understanding
“Oh, well…it’s got to be an honest mistake. I mean, it’s Disney – they would never do that, and there are a lot of princesses and each one does need a dipping flavor. It’s just a coincidence.”
Step 4: Guilt
“This is candy…for children…and I had to turn it into something bad. I’m a horrible person, aren’t I?”
Step 5: Paranoia
“I can’t believe I thought that. I’m like, the worst racist on earth. But seriously, why couldn’t they make the black princess be the vanilla flavor instead of the watermelon? Oh, there I go again! Would that mean that the black princess secretly wants to be white??? Oh, I’m the worst!”
Step 6: Overcompensation
You take your entire family to Disneyland out of guilt for thinking they were racist.
Well played Disney Princess Dipping Sticks. Well played.
Oh, and it doesn’t end there. Quaker, WALMART and K-mart are no strangers to racist advertising:
Really K-mart? KKK is like one of the most infamous acronyms ever. [sigh]
Make no mistake – Advertisers are the sneakiest racists ever.
7. Self Racism
Worst offenders: Comedians
Telling jokes or using stereotypes about your own race is generally accepted, but only if it’s funny. If it’s not funny then it’s considered racist and you’re considered to be a huge jerk. That’s why comedians are usually the only people who can get away with it.
White comedians seem to have the biggest disadvantage with this form of racism, since they are really only “allowed” to tell jokes about white people. No seriously, show me a white comedian who’s up on stage telling a bunch of jokes about black people or Hispanics. You can’t…because they’d already be dead. It’s kind of the price white people have to pay for being such massive, racist d-bags when America was first settled, through the Civil War, into the Civil Rights movement, and on and on. As a result, black comedians naturally have the most leeway when telling racist jokes. Like really, they have no limits. [see Chappelle, Dave]
Does being a comedian make racism ok? Of course not, but man it’s usually pretty funny.
8. Cultural Racism
Worst offenders: Old People
Many old people love to speak their mind in public and are consequently HUGE racists. It’s like they reached a certain age and just decided one day to take their social filter into the woods and shoot it in the head. Almost all of us have a relative who falls into this category. However, there’s a part of us that sympathizes with or even excuses their behavior because of either how they were raised or the things they’ve experienced.
For example, how many times have you had to hear your racist grandpa go on and on about “those Japs” while he reads the morning paper? Probably hundreds, but you shrug it off since you know it’s just because he’s still totally pissed about Pearl Harbor. Which is surprising, because you’d think if he’s reading a newspaper in 2013 he’d be way more upset about gay marriage than World War II.
Yes, we know grandpa, what will “those queers” want next?
9. Ignorant Racism
Worst offenders: Rednecks
Often the offspring of Cultural Racists, Ignorant Racists are just plain racist and don’t really give a crap who knows it. This is probably who “Accidental Racist” was written for, but they probably won’t listen to the song because of “that black rapper fella” who sings on it, except they’ll say that in a different way.
Ignorant Racists LOVE the Confederate flag and will make every excuse to show it off (more on that later). The one redeeming thing about Ignorant Racists is that they’re all talk. They’ll never actually do anything violent against someone…unless you touch their cowboy hat or their truck. OH, THEN IT’S ON, PAHT-NA!
10. Violent Racism
Worst offenders: These are your KKK, your Hitlers, and your terrorists. Oh, and soccer mobs. Basically the scum of the earth.
These teams had to pose for this photo…
…because soccer fans do things like this at the matches:
[double face palm]
So back to the original question:
Can racism ever be an accident? The answer is “yes” but only if you’re an animal, a 5-year old child, or some idiot from Ohio on vacation in a foreign land. Everything else is NOT an accident, especially choosing to wear a shirt with the Confederate flag on it.
Which leads me to my next point:
Let’s please stop defending the Confederate Flag, like immediately. Please…just stop.
These are the first four lines of “Accidental Racist”:
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
First of all, I’m sure nothing says “good ‘ol Southern boy” like some redneck sipping a Hazelnut Frappuccino at Starbucks.
Secondly, there are TONS of other ways to say you love Lynyrd Skynyrd other than wearing a Confederate flag t-shirt. You could:
1. Wear a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt: the easiest solution.
2. Wear a Jeff Foxworthy t-shirt: close enough.
3. Grow a mullet: trust me.
4. Lose at least 2 teeth: the permanent ones.
5. Make moonshine: or whiskey, your call.
Now, for those not familiar with Lynyrd Skynyrd, they are best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. You’ve probably heard “Freebird” a few times, or at least the first couple minutes since it’s like an hour long. Anyway, they are also known for proudly flying a gigantic Confederate flag in the background of their concerts.
OH, AND THE ‘NECKS JUST EAT THAT UP!
So according to Brad Paisley, this whole scene at Starbucks is just a big misunderstanding. When he wears his Confederate flag t-shirt, it’s not because he hates black people and wishes they were slaves — it’s because he’s letting folks know that SYNYRD IS THE BEST ROCK BAND OF ALL TIME! WHOOOOOO-WEEE!
This isn’t a U.S. History class so I won’t bore you with a lesson, but here are the two basic arguments for/against the Confederate flag:
1. Rednecks: “It’s a symbol of unity, heritage and standing up for state’s rights. It’s about Southern Pride and honoring our rich and cultured past.”
2. Non-‘Necks: “It’s a symbol for slavery and racism. BOOM, we’re out.”
The most important thing to remember is that the Confederate flag is A SYMBOL. Some argue that it represents something positive, like “Southern Pride” or whatever, but it also represents something very, very, very, very, very negative, like slavery. And because it has any association with something that horrible, you shouldn’t wear it, fly it, paint it on the side of your car, put it on the side of a coffee mug, none of it, period. Plus, what exactly are you proud of Southerners – that your ancestors were slave owners?
Why is this so hard to understand? And guess what, ‘necks…EVEN LYNYRD SKYNYRD KNOWS IT! Here’s a quote from a Fall 2012 interview they did with CNN after they decided to stop flying the flag at their concerts:
“It became such an issue about race and stuff where we just had it in the beginning because we were Southern, and that was our image back in the’70s and late ’60s … but I think through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads and people kind of kidnapped the Dixie or Rebel flag from the Southern and the heritage of the soldiers. We didn’t want that to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things.”
Of course, the band backpedaled less than 3 weeks later after a huge backlash from their fans. “We’ll still fly the flag because YEAAAAAH, SOUTHERN HERITAGE!” or whatever lame excuse they made up. Gotta pay the bills, right Skynyrd? Right.
What if a rock band decided to fly this flag at their concerts?
Answer: That rock band would die, like immediately.
But, seriously how is the Nazi flag any different from the Confederate flag? Are they not both symbols – at least in some part – for racism, slavery and/or violence against another group of people?
Yep. And that’s why you can’t defend them.
So, Mr. Brad Paisley from West Virginia, there’s really no misunderstanding here.
Wait, Brad Paisley is from West Virginia? They weren’t even part of the South!
Ok, I guess now I’m going to have to give some history lessons after all.
I highlighted the important parts from Wikipedia:
West Virginia became a state when it broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state.
HAHAHAHAHA so not only is Paisley kind of racist, he’s also a poser! West Virginia wanted NO PART of the South and their crazy slavery party! Nice try, bro.
Besides, if he’s from West Virginia he has plenty of other things to worry about:
Oh, and he’s lucky MTV cancelled Buckwild or I could write a few more paragraphs here.
Dear LL Cool J, what are you thinking?
First of all, here are 5 things LL Cool J should ALWAYS be doing regardless of where he is:
1. Wearing Kangol hats, thick gold chains, and 5-finger rings.
This is standard issue LL gear and should never be ignored.
I prefer the full body Adidas track suits since I’m a dude, but I know the ladies love their LL to be…
2. Going Shirtless
“Jinglin’ Baby, Uh go ‘head baby.” Hey, I feel ya ladies. I admit, it is the body of Greek God.
3. Constantly licking his lips.
Minimum 15 times a minute. Keep those things moist, LL.
4. Always Pissed off.
Like “Momma Said Knock You Out” level pissed. ALL THE TIME! Look at him just spitting out hatred here. So beautiful.
5. Hanging out with panthers.
Forget those girls – A PANTHER, people! This photo represents the Golden Age of LL Cool J. Just imagine what that panther would have done to Brad Paisley if he even thought about wearing a Confederate flag t-shirt.
And I guess that’s my point. What happened to you, LL Cool J? Starring on NCIS: Los Angeles and hosting the Grammy Awards is cool and all, but you can’t bring a panther and that huge cell phone to those places! And now you’re singing on a country song?! And the Confederate flag is “A-OK” with you??? You’re not keeping it real anymore. It feels like…it feels like, oh man I hate to say it but I think…LL COOL J GOT ICED!
Huh, wha? What does “Getting Iced” mean?
Once upon a time in the 1980s-90s there lived two of the most hardcore rappers you’ve ever seen: Ice T and Ice Cube.
Ice T joined the Crips in high school, was the first rapper to have an Explicit Content sticker on his album, and even wrote a song called “Cop Killer”. In other words, Ice T was a BAAAAAD brutha. Don’t believe me? Check out a portion of the back and front of his 2nd album, Power:
He’s packing an uzi in broad daylight, and his friend has a shotgun! Yeah, Ice T was not to be messed with. He was even in some pretty dope movies…movies that rappers should be in: Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, New Jack City, Ricochet and Trespass, to name a few.
Then something happened to Ice T. He started doing voices for kiddie cartoons in the mid-90s, and by 2000 he was on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And what does Ice T do now? Oh, he stars with his wife, Coco in some stupid E! Network reality show “Ice Loves Coco” and does really boring stuff like this:
So basically Ice T went from bangin’ with Crips and rapping about killing cops to picking out cutlery and dishes for his new condo. 1980s Ice T would never do this. EVER.
Ice Cube basically helped invent Gangsta Rap as part of the mega-group N.W.A.
You didn’t mess with ANY of these guys, by the way. Then he got mad at their manager and went off on a solo career – WHERE HE GOT MEANER!
Look at those album covers. People died on those things!
You know where else people died? In Ice Cube’s 1992 film debut, Boyz in the Hood, where he played Doughboy, a pretty hardcore gangsta from Compton who did stuff like this in public:
HAHAHAHAHA look at Cuba Gooding, Jr. on the far left. This isn’t Snow Dogs, Cuba! You better run cuz things are about to GET REAL!
Ice Cube turned down the role opposite Janet Jackson in 1993’s Poetic Justice – a love story – because OF COURSE HE DID!!!! 1990s Ice Cube DON’T PLAY THAT MESS! 1990s Ice Cube is too busy twistin’ caps to think about love!
He did some other films (3 Kings, Higher Learning, Barbershop and all the Friday movies) and some writing and directing too. He was actually representing pretty well, but all it takes is one small slip up to flush all that down the drain. Ice Cube had two:
So Ice Cube went from inventing Gangsta Rap and killing Uncle Sam on his album cover to driving a couple of bratty kids around the country in a minivan. I wonder how many times those kids would ask “Are we there yet?” if 1990s Ice Cube was driving?
Yep, that’s what I thought.
My point is that at one time Ice T, Ice Cube and LL Cool J all had tremendous, untouchable street cred, and now it’s been reduced to something that all of them would have called “selling out” back in the day.
Here are the first few lines of LL’s rap from “Accidental Racist”:
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
But he doesn’t live in the hood! None of them do. LL Cool J hasn’t been “hood” since like 1982. Do you think any of these guys could walk the slums of Brooklyn or the hoods in Compton today? HAHAHAHAHA! oh man, belly ache laughing right now. One of two things would happen: 1) they would get shot and mugged, or 2) they would get asked for their autograph, and then shot and mugged.
Do I still like each of them, and am I proud of their success? Absolutely, yes. Totally jealous. I couldn’t be happier that Ice T is no longer a Crip, that Ice Cube doesn’t feel the need to shoot everyone he sees, or that LL Cool J has better friends now than a full grown panther. My issue is that each of them presented an image that either wasn’t real, or was only something they pretended to believe in to make money.
If you want to talk about street cred in a song – a COUNTRY song, nonetheless – then you better walk the walk too.
LL Cool J, that panther is so disappointed in you right now.
So to recap, what you’re saying is that Brad Paisley really can’t speak about what the South thinks because he’s a poser from West Virginia, and LL Cool J can’t really speak about what the Hood thinks because he’s a Hollywood sellout and don’t miss the next episode of NCIS: Los Angeles Tuesdays 10/9 Central on CBS?
It actually 9/8 Central, but other than that, yes.
Just try and imagine how awful some of the first-draft lyrics for “Accidental Racist” must have been.
I would give anything to see the crumbled balls of paper lining the trash can during Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s recording session. I can’t imagine it going any better than this:
Seriously, can’t you picture the two of them sitting at a table trying to write the lyrics. It probably went something like this:
Paisley: “Hey, LL…man, I’m having the hardest time. What rhymes with burning cross?“
LL Cool J: “hmmm, let’s see: yearning loss, churning moss, learning boss…yeah, that’s tough one. Why do you need to use ‘burning cross’ anyway?”
Paisley: “Oh nothing really. In the song I was just talking about how if y’all didn’t judge us for burning crosses that we wouldn’t look down on you for wearing all them diamonds on yer teeth.”
LL Cool J: “Oh yeah, I feel ya! Then I can come back at you and be like ‘AT LEAST I HAVE TEETH, WEST VIRGINIA!’ or something.”
Paisley: “Hey that’s kind of stereotyping. I’d like to avoid that.”
The worst part about imagining how awful the “Accidental Racist” lyrics could have been is realizing how awful the lyrics actually are.
If anything “Accidental Racist” teaches us nothing about equality.
Paisley: I’m just a white man
LL Cool J: (If you don’t judge my do-rag)
P: Comin’ to you from the southland
LL: (I won’t judge your red flag)
P: I’m proud of where I’m from
LL: (If you don’t judge my gold chains)
P: But not everything we’ve done
LL: (I’ll forget the iron chains)
The other day my 5-year old daughter wanted to trade me a Barbie doll, a broken crayon and a hair clip for my iPhone. After a good laugh, I used it as an opportunity to teach her about fair trades. You see, when you trade something with someone else – whether it’s for money or another item – the two parties involved must agree that the exchange has equal value. When it comes to comparing blame or judgment between two people, the concept of a fair trade – AKA the “an eye for an eye” theory – still applies.
Someone obviously forgot to explain this concept to LL Cool J.
We’ve already talked about the message and symbolism of wearing or displaying the Confederate flag, but what are do-rags? Wikipedia says this:
From the 1930s to the 1960s, do-rags were used by African American men to hold chemically processed hair-dos in place while they slept. Originally they were made from pieces of handkerchief, bandannas, or women’s stockings; now many are made from polyester. Do-rags resurged as a fashion trend among urban youth in the 1970s and 2000s, first among African Americans, who used them to maintain their new hair styles.
So let me get this straight: LL Cool J – representing all black people – is perfectly willing to overlook the whole Confederate flag/racism/slavery thing as long as Brad Paisley – representing the entire Southern white population – doesn’t get after them about their new hairstyle or fashion trend????!!!!!
Seriously, that’s like a guy telling his wife “Hey, I won’t say anything about your weekly pedicures as long as you don’t judge me for my adultery and excessive gambling debts. You cool with that?”
LL Cool J, you are the WORST negotiator EVER.
And, if they want to compare racism to fashion trends, those can be racist too.
If rapper Redman wears a do-rag it’s pretty much awesome, especially if you saw his appearance on MTV Cribs. When white dudes wear do-rags they better have just gone through chemotherapy.
If some country singer is rockin’ a Confederate flag shirt then ABSOLUTELY NO ONE is surprised. If a black guy holds up a Confederate flag, it better be on fire.
Mr. T can hang gold chains around his neck until he glows like a Christmas tree. White guys can barely pull it off when they win a gold medal at the Olympics.
I won’t even show you a photo of a black person in iron chains because it’s too horrible to even think about. The only white dude I can think of that wore iron chains was 1980s WWF wrestler, Hercules, who was ironically sold as a “slave” by Bobby “the Brain” Heenan to the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase in one of their story lines. And yes, WWF “went there.”
In conclusion, thank you Internet.
Leave it up to some of the folks on Twitter to make sense of the misguided message of this horrible song:
If you won’t judge me for my gold chains, then follow me on Twitter @dirtyofthesouth