Accidental Racist

I've brought up "Accidental Racist", the misguided Brad Paisley/LL Cool J collaboration, every chance I get the past couple of days. It's easily the most fascinating thing to come out of pop culture this year. On the one hand, we have two prominent entertains singing a discussion about race relations, which is pretty important. On the other hand, the words they choose to articulate these thoughts just unintentionally wind up highlighting their own ignorance on the subject.

I wanted to blog about it immediately, but I decide to save my thoughts for a proper article on Care2. So go read "'Accidental Racist' Song Is, Well, Accidentally Racist." Since it's for the masses, it's a little less mean and sarcastic than something you'd read here, but you can throw in your "Dumbass!" after I mention that LL Cool J raps the lines, "If you don't judge my gold chains/I'll forget the iron chains."

The song is filled with "Why the hell did you say that?!" lines like that, and since "Brad Paisley's 'Accidental Racist': LL Cool J's 10 Craziest Lyrics" has already been written, I'd like to offer up a list of the crazy comments I received on my article instead:
  • "GET A LIFE AND QUIT JUDGING THE SONG. ITS A SONG FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE !! EITHER ENJOY IT OR DON'T LISTEN TO IT. I for one think the song is bluesy and is AWESOME!! I really like Brad Pasley. It seems to me that everyone including the writers for care 2 has to put a negative spin on every little thing. EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION. GET OVER IT!!" - Judy [Everyone gets to have an opinion except for me, y'all, and Judy is not about to get over it!] 
  • "Ever since the Oprah Show went away, I have been watching Ellen and loving every minute of it. She is so open, kind and funny, so I was shocked when she had this dude on her show, after he won some dopey award. What was she trying to prove? That she's open to all opinions and ideas??? Because it doesn't work for me, and I'm actually going to write and tell her!" - Linda [She'll love to hear from you, Linda.]
  • "BTW Mr. Matthews your point about iron chains and gold chains may have some merit but you need to expand your thinking. The Do rags and the gold chains came from the gang culture. Gang culture is oppressive to anyone outside the gang." - Michael [Consider my mind expanded.]
  • "Instead of dissecting every word and phrase, don't forget, (things need to rhyme in a song, sometimes) it's just like gifts. It's the thought that counts." - Michelle [Apparently, however, the thoughts on their thoughts don't count. Those aren't gifts at all.]
  • "Leave Brad Paisley alone, please. He is my favorite singer and he should not be punished for a song he wrote." - Laura [He's her favorite singer, guys.]
  • "To understand family experience in the south, where wmen and chi,dren were raped, and killed, all stock stolen and the homes and field burnt to the ground, slabves did not run to the union army, they hid just the everyone else." - Bill [Yeah, why isn't anyone remembering that sometimes the "slabves" fought back against those poor plantation owners?]
  • "The song's not bad. The guy can sing, the music carries well the emotional message. I'm more of a metal fan, but even I can see some musical value to the song." - Genevieve [Ew.]
  • "When will people learn to leave well enough alone.Do we really need to be reminded of the bygone days of injustice ??? I think not." - Kay [Yeah, why are we even still mentioning slavery?]
  • "Just because some one thinks something is raciest in their view means that some who appreciates it for some other reason is a raciest." - Ernie [Can't argue with that because I don't know how.]
  • "Hope you all realize that this song is meant to be a tearjerker and for EVERYONE to realize the history of events still goes on in peoples' minds. IT IS SUCH A BRILLIANT song! Makes me cry every time and I have listened to it over and over again. People who are judging this song as wrong, well, they are wrong, and/or are still racist. BEST SONG WRITTEN EVER! Brad Paisley is one of "thee" best country writers ever!" - Roseann [Not seeing the ignorance is one thing, but thinking this song is the best written ever is downright disconcerting. She has listened to it, right?]
  • "The epitome of racist is millions of black Americans voting for a man simply because he is black and not considering experience, ability or knowledge." - Bruce [Because an article like this was sure to bring the bigots out.]
  • "Racism is a thing of the past." - Bob [Sorry, I take that last comment back. Bruce can't be racist since racism doesn't exist anymore apparently.]
  • "I'm not offended and I'm white." - Marilyn [We've all been waiting for a white person's opinion on this, and now we have it.]
  • "As for him wearing the confederate flag, maybe he likes the pattern of it… This is the most skewed article I've seen on Care2. Could the author kindly contact both gentlemen and get an interview, instead of extrapolating their thoughts. [Later, in a subsequent comment] I have red swastikas in my home and often wonder if a Jewish person were to visit me, what their reaction would be?" - Quanta [Brad's not a racist, he's an art aficionado - one I should interview, no less. While we wait for that, I'm going to scratch my head and ponder how a Jewish person would feel in your house.] 
Look, I'm an academic at heart. I majored in English and Media studies - I like analyzing texts and discussing their cultural impact. Most plebs on the internet don't like that, though, and constantly tell me if I don't like it just not to listen to it. But there is value in discussing these these things and reaching a higher understand.

And that's why, ultimate, I still give some credit to Paisley and Cool J. They're trying to talk it out and raise the collective consciousness. They've got a way to go just as we all have a way to go (and how can you argue that after seeing those comments?) and we're definitely not going to get there if the ignorant people are being complacently ignorant.

No comments: