A History Lesson for LL Cool J & Brad Paisley’s Tragic “Accidental Racist” Song
With their new little ditty, “Accidental Racist,” rap legend LL Cool J and country singer Brad Paisley have teamed up to make history.
They’ll undoubtedly go down as one of the most hated duets ever, but have also managed to forge a relevant dialogue on race relations in the United States.
Brad opens the song by explaining that when he puts on a t-shirt carrying the rebel flag, he’s just a good ol’ boy that happens to be a fan of southern hard rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“I’m just a white man comin’ to you from the South land / Tryin’ to understand what it’s like not to be,” Brad croons. “I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done and it ain’t like you and me can rewrite history / Our generation didn’t start this nation / we’re still pickin’ up the pieces, walkin’ on eggshells, fightin’ over yesterday.”
LL chimes in rapping “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.”
It gets worse as LL yells through the chorus… “If you don’t judge my durag, I won’t judge your red flag / If you don’t judge gold chains, I’ll forget the iron chains.“
He also sends a shout out to confederate general Robert E. Lee, as well as Abraham Lincoln for “freeing him.”
After the initial shock came laughter from reading the hilarious reactions by people on Twitter. I then forced myself to walk away from my laptop and gave it some thought.
I reflected on several past debates I’ve had with White friends about this very topic, not the horrible song, but the popular confederate flag/symbol itself.
A remnant of The Second Confederate Navy Jack and The Second Confederate Navy Ensign, both of which were only used between 1863 and 1865, the design still became a symbol of “southern pride.”
It is associated with the south fighting to keep its way of life, which is not limited to but includes the practice of slavery.
However, the rebel flag gained a whole new legacy with the Klu Klux Klan, a White terrorist group created by confederate veterans after the Civil War which peaked at 6 million strong in the 1920s.
While their numbers have fallen to roughly 8,000, over the past 150 years, the Klan has committed thousands of murders, many unsolved, including cases that are still under investigation 40 years later.
The group would also adopt the swastika, originally a peaceful symbol which originated with and continues to be used in Indian religions, but is most commonly known as a sign of hatred thanks to Germany’s Nazi regime.
Both symbols are still used by the klan and other White supremacist groups.
So contrary to Mr. Paisley’s lyrics, the worst of the rebel flag’s history did not happen and end 150 years ago, it merely started there.
But thanks to the ridiculous song, we can begin to squash inaccuracies about slavery being “like… 500 years ago” and the Jim Crow era being “like… 200 years ago.”
Then we can also accept that the KKK’s continued use of the confederate flag will never be overlooked just so we can “get along” and “move on.”
Move on to where exactly…?
As for “Accidental Racist,” following intense backlash on Monday, you’ll notice it is being pulled from multiple Youtube accounts by Sony Music Entertainment (SME).
Though rumored to be appearing on the rapper’s forthcoming album, Authentic, it is not listed on the most recent tracklist.