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Accidental Racist, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 575

Essay

The media is a very powerful tool used by a wide number of people and organizations to reshape the minds of the general public. Musical groups, political figures, actors, comedians and even everyday people utilize outlets like the press, YouTube and other media channels to deliver a message to a large number of people. Recently, musical artists Brad Paisley and LL Cool J attempted to do just that- whether they succeeded or not has turned into a country wide heated debate over racism.

Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist” is a song recently released by the country singer and LL Cool J. Although Paisley claims that he wrote the song in hopes to explain what it is like to be a white man living in the south, the song has stirred up much controversy over whether or not the song itself is racist. In the music video, Paisley is wearing a confederate flag shirt and in one of the lyrics equates his tee-shirt with his love for the band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The song brought up a huge question across the entire nation- a question that was even mocked on the Colbert Report hosted by Stephen Colbert- what exactly is an “accidental racist”? Despite Paisley’s numerous attempts at defending the song, people from the north, south, east and west, blacks, whites, asians and muslims were outraged by the lyrics of this song. If Paisley’s goal was to get media exposure, job completed, but if his goal was to change the majorities view on what it means to where a confederate flag across one’s chest, he failed miserably. “The song has sparked a strong reaction from listeners, many of whom were shocked by the lyrics.” (Boardman, 2013)

When the lyrics of the song are analyzed, Paisley’s situation just seems to get worse.

“I’m just a white man comin’ to you from the south land tryin’ to understand what it’s like not to be. I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done. 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. Caught between southern pride and southern blame.” (Paisley, 2013)

This wouldn’t be so terrible if LL Cool J didn’t come in later in the song with misinformation about how the slaves were freed. Really? LL Cool J didn’t have a huge part in the Brad Paisley song, but the song would have been triumphantly better had it not been for the fact that LL Cool J, a black man, is rapping about being judged for his gold chains and thanks Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves. Clearly they both should have brushed up on their Civil War history before writing this song.

Not only is this song “accidentally” racist, it is factually incorrect which just makes it easier to mock in the media. Although Paisley had good intentions when putting out the track, the reaction from the public was quite the opposite of what he expected. Rather than uniting the north and the south- helping the “white man” become more understood, Paisley and Cool J pretty much just wound up making themselves mockeries for the entire public.

Resources:

Boardman, Madeline. “‘Accidental Racist,’ New Brad Paisley & LL Cool J Song, Will Probably Make You Cringe.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

“‘Accidental Racist’: Read the Lyrics So You Don’t Have to Hear Them.” TheWrap.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

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