OPINION: “Accidental Racist” not racist at all

Graham Manuel

Recently, Brad Paisley released a new song called “Accidental Racist” featuring LL Cool J. Not too long after that, people started slamming the song and calling it racist. When the song is searched on YouTube, the majority of the search results are reactions and comments about the song. Many news articles were published and most contained a YouTube link to the song but when the link was clicked on, it showed that the video had been taken down.

I can understand that people could think the song is racist based on the title but it isn’t  at least I don’t believe it is. The song is about getting over racism and not judging people based on what they look like. Some of the lines could have been changed up so that it didn’t appear offensive because there are some lines that are extremely controversial and probably shouldn’t have been included in the song. One of those lines is LL Cool J’s line where he says, “If you don’t judge my do-rag, I won’t judge your red flag.” I feel like that line was meant to send the message that the red flag doesn’t represent what it used to but many people are taking it as a comparison to something they wear and something that represents slavery and death. Based on the open lines, I also feel like the message is that the red flag is just something people wear now. That is why the do-rag is compared to the red flag; the song is talking about the flag on a shirt and not an actual flag being flown.

One of the lines in the chorus is, “I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done.” Paisley is saying that he is proud of where he was born and grew up but not proud with the history that took place there. He enjoys being from the south but not the fact that slavery took place there. The chorus goes on to say, “And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history. Our generation didn’t start this nation. We’re still picking  up the pieces, walkin’ on eggshells, fightin’ over yesterday.” These lines are saying that we are not the ones that started or even took part in slavery and we cannot go back in time and stop it. We are fighting over something we had nothing to do with. We are not getting along with each other because of what our ancestors took part in.

LL Cool J comes in with the lines “Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood, what the world is really like when you’re livin’ in the hood.” I feel like he is saying that you don’t know who I am or where I come from so you shouldn’t judge me. This is my culture but it doesn’t mean that I am a bad person. That is when he comes in with the line “You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would,” which means exactly what it says. After a few more lines, LL Cool J says, “I guess we’re both guilty of judgin’ 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.” I feel like he is saying that we shouldn’t judge someone based on how they look or their culture but who they really are. We need to spend time with people and get to know who they are. The last line also shows that the red flag still represents the past and all the evil that came with it and that is something that needs to change in order to get to know each other for who we really are.

This song wasn’t meant to be raciest but people took it the wrong way. It was a song created to get people talking about a sensitive issue that has been affecting our country for years. It doesn’t just cover racism though. It also addresses an issue that many if not all of us have been told multiple times, and that is judging people based on how they look and not who they are. Even the old line don’t judge a book by its cover was thrown in. People need to look at the lines a little deeper and not judge the entire song based on a couple bad lines but it did get people talking about an issue that has to be addressed.