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Monday, April 8, 2013

278

Here's Brad Paisley's Horrible New Song "Accidental Racist"

Prepare your jaws, everyone. Brad Paisley released a song called "Accidental Racist" and it's a terrible thing. The song begins with this strange story about wearing a Confederate flag in public:

"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."

But it gets worse. A lot worse. Consider the chorus:

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.

Oh, and then LL Cool J raps!

I'm not certain what Paisley's objective was here. Did the introductory story actually happen and is he trying to apologize? Is he merely trying to diversify his audience? Are he and LL friends who felt like collaborating? Whatever the reason, the song itself is a lyrical disgrace filled with awkward non-apologies and faux-pensiveness over the history of racism in the south. Enjoy!

278 Comments / Post A Comment

Valley Girl

Et tu, LL?

Reginal T. Squirge

I can't listen to his rhyme at work and will have to wait until lunch but... damn... homeboy breaks my heart a little bit more with each passing day.

mayonegg

LL Cool (With 'Accidental Racism') J

Lily Rowan

I'm going to need an Andrew Ti ruling on this.

Count Chocula

@Lily Rowan "Is it really 'accidental' tho?"

stonefruit

@Lily Rowan Yeah, if this isn't racist, it is surely wack.

(It's for sure racist, tho'.)

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@Lily Rowan Ask and ye shall receive! http://yoisthisracist.com/post/47479962514/hemogoblins-and-about-1-1-million-other-people

(spoiler alert: yo, it is certainly racist.)

Lily Rowan

@Super Nintendo Chalmers Finally!

Judith Slutler

Dear Bobby Finger,

will you please make me a .gif of the nopetopus but give it the head of noted historian Eric Foner?

thx in advance,

E.C.

Nicole Cliffe

Eric Foner reference FTW!

Judith Slutler

@Nicole Cliffe Basically everyone just go read "Reconstruction" ok bye

noReally

It is not often that my jaw actually drops. I look forward to someone really knowledgeable and articulate cleaning his clock. (Really, you're just a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan Brad? On MARS?) But not looking forward to all the other shit that's going to fly.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

"If you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains."

IM FUCKING SCREAMING

lermworm

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood OMg this is All Kinds of wrong. How many people did this have to go through to get produced, and they were all like "Oh yeah, great idea"??

PatatasBravas

TELL ME YOU MADE THAT PART UP

Mira

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood oh god please tell me you just made that up.

jackietgregory

Newfangled Django

SarcasticFringehead

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

...

oh. my. god.

PatatasBravas

I had to do the research and the lyrics are posted downthread.

JOSH IS LIKE GERMANY DIDN'T LIE!

SarcasticFringehead

@PatatasBravas I mean, on the one hand, I don't want to judge someone's subjective experience of and reaction to racism, but on the other hand, I feel comfortable saying that that may be the Worst Thing.

Chareth Cutestory

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood At that point, I facepalmed so hard that I may have a concussion.

Jaya

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood At least both Brad and LL Cool J's lyrics are offensive and terrible? Equality?

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Jaya LL's are worse. Mostly because he has to play into TWO stereotypes (or so it appears to me)

Jolly Farton

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood
This comment from The A.V. Club translates it nicely:

"So, in exchange for the kidnapping and forced migration of millions of your ancestors, who were sold as property, compelled to build the wealth of an elite racial caste under threat of corporal punishment, torture, and death, forced into ghettoes, segregated, lynched, and pushed to the margins of society once freed, and still continue to suffer the effects of institutionalized racism and prejudice to this day; we offer you a hat and some jewelry."

"SOLD!"
-LL Cool J

jackietgregory

I like everything except country and rap

Judith Slutler

@jackietgregory ahahahahahahahahaha

themegnapkin

@jackietgregory but do you like country, and do you like rap?

Ham Snadwich

@jackietgregory - Cowboy Troy quietly weeps.

olivia

I don't think I can watch it. I feel too much cringing coming on.

PatatasBravas

@olivia I couldn't watch it, but here are the lyrics if you're interested:

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
Just a proud rebel son with an 'ol can of worms
Lookin' like I got a lot to learn but from my point of view

I'm just a white man comin' to you from the southland
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done
And it ain't like you and me can re-write history
Our generation didn't start this nation
We're still pickin' up the pieces, walkin' on eggshells, fightin' over yesterday
And caught between southern pride and southern blame

They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears
We're still siftin' through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years
I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin
But it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin

'Cause I'm a white man livin' in the southland
Just like you I'm more than what you see
I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done
And it ain't like you and me can re-write history
Our generation didn't start this nation
And we're still paying for the mistakes
That a bunch of folks made long before we came
And caught between southern pride and southern blame

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
I wasn't there when Sherman's March turned the south into firewood
I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could
Feel like a new fangled Django, dodgin' invisible white hoods
So when I see that white cowboy hat, I'm thinkin' it's not all good
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'm just a white man
(If you don't judge my do-rag)
Comin' to you from the southland
(I won't judge your red flag)
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from
(If you don't judge my gold chains)
But not everything we've done
(I'll forget the iron chains)
It ain't like you and me can re-write history
(Can't re-write history baby)

Oh, Dixieland
(The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin')
I hope you understand what this is all about
(Quite frankly I'm a black Yankee but I've been thinkin' about this lately)
I'm a son of the new south
(The past is the past, you feel me)
And I just want to make things right
(Let bygones be bygones)
Where all that's left is southern pride
(RIP Robert E. Lee but I've gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean)
It's real, it's real
It's truth

HeyThatsMyBike

@PatatasBravas LL Cool J is doing a shout-out to Robert E. Lee? whatisthisidon'teven.

Mira

@PatatasBravas

Reginal T. Squirge

Is it weird that the first thing I thought was, "NOPE! FUCK ROBERT E. LEE FOREVER!"

Judith Slutler

@Reginal T. Squirge I was like SHOUTOUT TO TREASON IN DEFENSE OF SLAVERY

backstagebethy

@PatatasBravas My biggest problem with this song is that LL thanks Lincoln for freeing slaves when it was a purely tactical decision and he didn't do it because he thought blacks and whites were equal, AND he didn't have authority to free the slaves in the south because they were part of a different country at that point. Which, I mean, I guess if you're a slave you don't care WHY or how you are freed but Lincoln was basically tyrannical. Cool guy! Shout out!

Maybe it's from growing up in rural Virginia, but I do understand the point and message of this song. I think that southerners need to make concessions to remain sensitive, though. Maybe just wear a Skynrd shirt if you want to let people know you're a fan? But like @KATE@twitter says below, I don't think the message is as bad as, say, the cheesy lyrics.

StandardTuber

@PatatasBravas This is free association, right?
Oh, Dixieland
(The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin')
I hope you understand what this is all about
(Quite frankly I'm a black Yankee but I've been thinkin' about this lately)

Reginal T. Squirge

@backstagebethy

High School Dropout Has Poor Grasp Of Civil War Basics

backstagebethy

@Reginal T. Squirge I would sincerely like to know what I am grasping wrong. Educate me!

Judith Slutler

@backstagebethy Ooh gotta disagree on Lincoln only freeing the slaves as a tactical deal. What's definitely true is that he had racist views and early on, was an advocate of "colonization" i.e. sending free African-Americans to someplace besides the US, such as Liberia. HOWEVER! As a free soiler, he was always opposed to the expansion of slavery and thought it was an immoral institution.

During the war his views "evolved" quite a bit, and by the time he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he had definitely decided it was not just tactically correct but moral to end slavery in Confederate territories by executive order. (He had tried for compensated emancipation schemes in the Northern-held territories where slaves were held, but the owners weren't down with that). The tactical considerations were definitely part of the way Lincoln sold the North on emancipation, but he had history and justice in mind as well.

Also, this meeting between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass happened, and when I first heard about it it basically blew my mind:

"One of the most extraordinary events that happened in that election season was in the third week of August of '64, Lincoln invited--this time invited--Frederick Douglass to come to the White House. They had met the year before in August, in '63, but that was at Douglass's own prodding. In '63 Douglass had gone to the White House to complain about unequal pay and brutal discriminations against black troops in the Union armies, and he got an audience, at least for awhile, with Lincoln--the first time they met, the beginnings of a remarkable relationship. But in '64 Lincoln invites Douglass--and Douglass didn't know what he was going to be asked to do. And they sat down for about forty-five minutes, eye to eye, and Abraham Lincoln asked Frederick Douglass to lead a campaign to funnel as many slaves out of the upper south into some kind of security in the North, before election day in November, because he feared he would not be re-elected and he wanted as many slaves as possible to be secure within Union lines and somehow legally free under the proclamation, before McClellan won the election. Now frankly, Douglass was stunned. Here was Abe Lincoln asking him to be John Brown, sort of. He could hardly believe it, and he left there with a whole new kind of conception of Lincoln, frankly--not entirely new, he was already working on that. But he went back home to Rochester, New York and he organized about fifteen or sixteen agents, by letter and telegram, in late August and the first week of September, all over the North. He didn't have a clue how he was really going to do this, or how much the army was really going to help him, but he started calling all his old friends in the abolition movement, and a lot of the people who'd been recruiting black troops, and said, 'Help me, we're gonna funnel slaves out of the South. I don't know how but help me.'"

see: http://www.core.org.cn/mirrors/Yale/yale/oyc.yale.edu/history/civil-war-and-reconstruction/content/transcripts/transcript-20-wartime-reconstruction-imagining-the.htm

And just in general check out the rest of Blight's lectures. They are free and they are THE COOLEST.

Anyway, obviously the actions of slaves themselves contributed hugely to a situation in which abolition was considered logistically and politically possible as well, but don't sell Lincoln short here.

junkle

@backstagebethy Now do the one about the war wasn't over slavery. Just states' rights. Could have just as easily seceded over speed limits.

backstagebethy

@Emmanuelle Cunt Thanks for responding helpfully and not simply belittling!

Reginal T. Squirge

@backstagebethy

Oh, no, I was referring to LL having a poor grasp, not you!

fondue with cheddar

@backstagebethy It is my understanding that the version of the Civil War that is taught in the South is not quite the same as the version that is taught elsewhere, however I have no concrete proof to back this up.

Judith Slutler

@backstagebethy WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR ALL ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR

I CAN RECOMMEND SEVERAL HUNDRED PAGES FOR YOU TO READ

backstagebethy

@junkle I truly was not trying to imply that the south was in the right, I'm sorry if it came off that way.

Judith Slutler

@backstagebethy I mean, the key here is, he was able to free the slaves in Confederate-held areas *because* he considered it military necessity. And, that wasn't exactly just a figleaf for what he wanted to do anyway - enslaved people were the single largest source of wealth in the slave states besides the land itself, and over half of the work force was enslaved. Taking that away was a way to drain the Confederacy of labor and capital at the same time. And, from the moment the war began, thousands of enslaved people had been running for Union lines. The Union had a major refugee crisis on its hands due to this.

Sure, Lincoln started the war saying he just wanted to keep the Union together and would do that by any means possible. But the dynamics of the war and the actions of black people made emancipation, at some point, the most logical answer. Being able to recruit black troops was obviously a side benefit and a way to really, really freak out Confederates.

You have read the Cornerstone Speech, right? Google it if not.

I mean, I know you weren't probably trying to be a Confederate apologist, but... our culture really, REALLY hasn't come to terms with the CW and the truths about the Confederate side yet. so, it's awfully easy to believe some real nonsense if you're not careful.

backstagebethy

@Emmanuelle Cunt I don't doubt it was for the best in every regard that the slaves were freed. I've just been thinking of it in context of, say, the American Revolution or the Irish War of Independence, or I guess any war for independence--I wonder if the south would have been able to claim moral superiority if they'd won.

Again, I feel I should clarify--I am not trying to justify slavery, racism, etc. I am glad the south didn't win the war, I don't fly a Confederate flag, I just think the gray areas are interesting.

backstagebethy

@fondue with cheddar Truthfully, I don't remember learning about the war in school but I don't think there was any justification of The Cause, as it were.

Judith Slutler

@backstagebethy Based on what I've read (I've... really been getting into this whole sesquicentennial thing) I think they would've ended up as a possibly nastier version of apartheid South Africa, and had very expansionist ambitions in Central and South America. Many Southerners wanted to build an empire based upon slave labor even in antebellum times, and repeatedly tried to annex Cuba and Nicaragua, just for example.

As for moral superiority, they were already claiming that pre-war as well, as pro-slavery ideology grew increasingly extreme and intransigent. Slavery was considered biblically justified, the most harmonious way of organizing labor, an expression of natural order, etc. I have no doubt that an independent CSA would've felt absolutely justified in what it had done. You're also right to compare it to the American Revolution. Definitely take a look at "American Slavery, American Freedom" if you want to explore that theme more.

Mira

@backstagebethy We studied it reasonably thoroughly at my public, nearly all-white middle and high schools in Georgia - I think almost an entire year of eighth-grade history and then again for several months in AP U.S. history. (This was late 90s/early 00s.) It was not presented with any degree of sympathy for the South's arguments, but we did get more nuance about the social history of the white South - and much more fine-grained texts about the poor, rural white southerners who did most of the fighting and dying - than we probably would have in a more northern area. It didn't come at the expense of learning about what a horror the slave economy was, and I think it did help me understand current southern culture better than I would have otherwise. I don't live in the South anymore but I also know that it isn't a monolithic group of crazy racists. So no complaints, really.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Emmanuelle Cunt I haven't had history in a while so could be wrong here, but wasn't it also "allowed" because the Union never recognized the Confederacy as a different country? And, @backstagebethy, as somebody who now lives in the South (but grew up in the North), I could TOTALLY see that detail as something that they would teach a 'lil differently depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon your history class desk is sitting in.

fondue with cheddar

@backstagebethy I don't think it's justification so much as a difference in emphasis on the issues involved. That the North (which is all I can speak of with any authority as that's where I grew up) teaches that the primary issue was slavery, while the South teaches that the primary issue is states' rights. Was that the case for those of you who grew up in the South? I'm curious to know.

Judith Slutler

@HeyThatsMyBike I've honestly never looked into Lincoln's use of his war powers, but he was definitely walking a careful line with calling the war a "civil insurrection" the whole time. If he had recognized the Confederacy that would've possibly given countries like Britain an opening to also recognize (and provide support to) the Confederates. Don't know if Emancipation had anything specific to do with all that.

Mira

@fondue with cheddar Not for me (see my educational background above). We were taught that the causes of the war were slightly more complicated than the North's decision that slavery was wrong alone, which I think is largely the current academic consensus? (I mean here things like the struggle for national political power over the future of new U.S. territories, fear of losing relative economic clout to the industrializing north, etc.) And that this political struggle was framed by the southern political class as a states' rights issue. It was always clear, though, that slavery, and the slave economy, was the underlying problem and the ultimate cause of the war - and that was emphasized right from the beginning, so that the Civil War was seen as the natural result of the country's inability and/or unwillingness to deal with a problem that had begun with the Three-fifths Compromise. I'm not a historian, but that seems generally all right to me. (We also had lots of primary material about the slave trade and what it was like to live in slavery - that wasn't glossed over, just to be clear.)

Where I do think my southern education differed here was that ordinary white southerners - most of whom were much too poor to own slaves - were presented more thoughtfully. Most of my friends who went to high school in the north kind of have this view of the South during that era as having only two classes: rich white slaveowners, and slaves. That isn't accurate, and very many poor white southerners hugely resented the fact that they were expected to go get blown up so a bunch of rich people could keep making money off their slaves. That aspect of the war is important, I think, because it really informs current attitudes. In short: nuance good, revisionism bad, and I didn't encounter the revisionism.

Lisa Frank

@fondue with cheddar Unfortunately even in New York (state, not city) I was taught the Civil War was more about the tension that arose between the South's agrarian-based economy and the North's industrialized economy. I remember we had to make a chart of five reasons for the eruption of the Civil War and the first one was about state's rights and then there were three dealing with foreign policy/ economics (mostly dealing with the price of cotton,) and then finally slavery at #5 as an after-thought. We also learned about the draft riots in NY and the Copperheads (northerners who supported the Confederacy.) The whole point was to make it seem like an economic instead of social issue. As an adult, I've had to unlearn so much of what I was taught in public school.

olivia

@fondue with cheddar I grew up in rural VA as well and I don't recall being taught that the CW was about states rights. But the area I'm from is surrounded by CW battlefields, several CW museums, etc., so I don't think they could get away with that "interpretation" either.

olivia

@PatatasBravas Thank you for those. The lyrics alone made me cringe and blush. YIKES.

backstagebethy

@Mira That's a good point, I tend to think of the war more in terms of the people than of the nation; I wonder if that's a southern perspective.

backstagebethy

@Emmanuelle Cunt re: Confederate justification: I was thinking more along the lines of "Would the world concede the moral superiority of the South if things had gone differently?" I guess in the "might makes right" vein...even if people did eventually take up the call against slavery again, would it have been accepted in the immediate post-war period if the south had won?

Judith Slutler

@backstagebethy Yeah I'm not sure, but I can't see the USA and CSA having an uncontested border. It probably would've turned into an ugly, unceasing border war I think. No idea what world opinion would've been, King Cotton diplomacy was kinda on its way out due to the rise of cotton from India and things, iirc. Who knows?

fondue with cheddar

@everyone Thanks for your perspectives. It's been so long since I learned about the Civil War (25 years?!) that I don't really remember how it was taught. I mean, I know it was more nuanced than "the North fought the South over slavery and the North won, the end" but it's good to know what your take on it was.

Julia duMais

@Lisa Frank See, and what gets me about that is that those things aren't WRONG, exactly -- it's just that it's disingenuous to pretend that there isn't a straight line from them back to slavery. Yes, if you asked the average Confederate soldier why he was fighting, he might not say "slavery", but it's likely that any reason he WOULD give was made possible by slavery. I grew up in northern VA, in commuter suburbs of DC, and that was very much what I learned -- that yeah, states' rights and economics WERE issues, BUT they were issues because of how deeply slavery was embedded in the culture, politics, and economy of the South. Slavery made the South's economy possible, regardless of how many or how few Southerners actually owned slaves, so while saying it was about the economy is, technically, true, it's also a way of dodging the heart of the matter. So while, as @Mira points out, the average person in the Confederate army may not have owned slaves or even supported slavery, he still profited from it, and the system he was fighting to defend was built on it. And I do think that it's useful to look at the individual species of trees (Economic Pine, States' Rights Oak, the Tree of Liberty is probably in there somewhere) in the Slavery Forest, I think they're important as a part of that forest.

fondue with cheddar

@Julia duMais Well said.

Judith Slutler

@Julia duMais Yeah basically! It was a slave society. That's kind of how those work.

As far as states rights, I always think it's interesting to look at how the Fugitive Slave Act federalized the return of escaped slaves to their masters, and voided personal liberty laws that many Northern states had passed to protect escaped slaves. Who's for states rights now, hmmmm?

junkle

@backstagebethy Of course you weren't. But the whole "Everyone talks about what a great guy Lincoln was, but really, Sic semper tyrannis," that is more qualifying of the basic Southern Pride line, which might be a genuine love of history for some, blah blah blah, but has been completely co-opted by racist fucks. It is indefensible, because it is inseparable from slavery.

causedbycomma

@Emmanuelle Cunt Only several hundred? Seriously though I grew up in MD, kind of rural/suburban, and then I read a REAL civil war history book and, well, it was different from what we learned in school. "States' Rights" is basically only about the right to have slaves. The More You Know.

Hot Doom

@backstagebethy & everyone, This is such an interesting thread! It reminded me of the recent discovery that one of my Arkansas ancestors was a slave owner. We had always assumed he hadn't owned slaves(and were feeling a bit self righteous about it) because he left Arkansas to fight on the Union side and then returned to AR after the war. We can't find any documentation about *why* he did that, as much as we would like to believe he had a moral epiphany. It definitely added nuance to what I thought about middle class southerners (or, at least this particular southerner) and I need to do some serious googling/proper research about why he made the decision to switch sides.

Biketastrophy

@fondue with cheddar My wife spent her initial school years in Tallahasee Florida and SPECIFICALLY remembers her textbooks calling it "The War of Northern Aggression" This would be around 1990-92.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Hot Doom Yeah, I love that a really thoughtful thread emerged from a discussion of what is easily one of the stupidest songs of all time.

amitygardens@twitter

@Julia duMais I was raised in NC/GA, and from what I remember, when we learned about the American Industrial Revolution, we were taught that it was one of the inciting factors of the differences between the North/South. It wasn't necessarily that the North was any less racist that the South, but they didn't have a need for slavery. Their economy relied on factories as opposed to slave labor.
Also, they had an influx of immigrants from other countries who were working in those factories. I guess my point is that most people were racist, and it was completely ingrained in the society as a whole, not just the South. They were pretty damn terrible to immigrants as well.

I may be wrong on this (because it was several years ago), and if I am, please correct me.

tiptoemammal

@ backstagebetty @Mira: Native Alabamian here. There's a difference between what's taught (what's officially taught in high schools), and what's learned (the cultural excuses Southerners tend to make for hanging on to cultural artifacts connected to white privilege/slavery/the Civil War/"Lost Cause" style romanticism of the antebellum period). Backstagebetty's original comment shows evidence of the persistence of this belief in the South, that it's somehow still okay to be pro-Confederacy (and fly the rebel flag) because "the Confederacy was pro state's rights, not slavery," and thus it's simply a matter of Southern Pride. (backstagebetty I don't mean to say that you believe this. I suspect that you are repeating information you've heard about the Civil War, and I happen to know that this is misinformation that is still widespread in the South.)
It's just one of the many logical fallacies contained in this song, but it is an honest and accurate representation of widespread rural-Southern views on modern-day race relations.

fondue with cheddar

@Biketastrophy "The War of Northern Aggression", geez.

@HeyThatsMyBike Seriously. 'Pinners can spawn a thoughtful discussion from any topic. I love it here. <3 u pinnies!

annejumps@twitter

@tiptoemammal This is similar to my experience in GA at around the same time.

Julia duMais

@amitygardens@twitter Yeah, I think that came up a bit, too -- we learned a bit about how even before the Industrial Revolution, the Northern economy was such that slavery on the huge scale you got in the South wasn't necessary. Which as I recall occasionally came with undertones of "if they had better soil for large-scale farming they would've been doing it too, what are they getting so high-and-mighty about?"

Mira

@tiptoemammal Yep, you're definitely right about that. Although I grew up in Georgia my family is from New York and we lived in a town that was mostly other northern transplants, so I didn't get so much of the "Southern Pride" stuff, but it is absolutely out there. I agree that the song is an accurate representation of the views of many white Southerners.

atlonglast

@olivia I can't believe that after all this time lurking on the Awl and Hairpin, I've signed up for an account to comment on THIS SONG! I mean, the Tracy Chapman post alone had me in tears with my own recollections of listening to Fast Car with my mother...

I digress. Can someone please explain why this song is so bad? I don't mean artistically. I won't listen to it. But based on the lyrics, it looks like an honest-ish attempt at dialogue. Neither man speaks for me personally but I glean no obvious obtuseness or willful ignorance. Seems earnest and not so apologetic as everyone says. Please explain.

Hot Doom

@HeyThatsMyBike & @fondue with cheddar Seriously! I turned on the tv briefly this morning and the View was on, with them having their 'discussion' about this song. I dealt with about 30 seconds of it before turning it off. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the song, but I love that there is intelligent, critical discussion about it here, with no one being a dick. Preaching to the choir here, but it basically underscores why I come to the Hairpin and bypass most popular media and blogs for any logical, thoughtful discussion.

fondue with cheddar

@Hot Doom I feel like such a dork because nearly every weekday during dinner I start a sentence with, "We were talking on The Hairpin today about..."

HeyThatsMyBike

@fondue with cheddar I know, my boyfriend is so tired of me starting sentences with that. Although I did introduce him to the nope octopus because of this thread last night, and he did enjoy that immensely!

thebestjasmine

@atlonglast Do you genuinely not understand what's wrong with lyrics about being a proud rebel son wearing a Confederate flag shirt, and lyrics about gold chains vs. iron chains?

fondue with cheddar

@HeyThatsMyBike Your boyfriend is a smart man. ALL HAIL THE NOPETUPUS

atlonglast

@thebestjasmine genuinely. I studied all manner of race/identity politics in school(s) and I guess I'm used to an intellectual break-down. Paisley seems to be admitting that the confederate flag is fraught, but he did not wear it for the reasons LL Cool J fears. He's not trying to be intimidating and that's something that I think a lot of (us) black folks want to hear. AND YES, when you get around to it, try to educate yourself on the ways in which you are perpetuating inequality. At the moment though, I want to hear people say to one another: you wear this and I think you're thinking this. and then the other guy will say: actually... no, I was totally thinking something else.

It's a start?

atlonglast

@thebestjasmine genuinely. I studied all manner of race/identity politics in school(s) and I guess I'm used to an intellectual break-down. Paisley seems to be admitting that the confederate flag is fraught, but he did not wear it for the reasons LL Cool J fears. He's not trying to be intimidating and that's something that I think a lot of (us) black folks want to hear. AND YES, when you get around to it, try to educate yourself on the ways in which you are perpetuating inequality. At the moment though, I want to hear people say to one another: you wear this and I think you're thinking this. and then the other guy will say: actually... no, I was totally thinking something else.

It's a start?

thebestjasmine

@atlonglast Good lord no. Claiming that you weren't wearing the Confederate flag for the reasons that someone fears is disingenuous. The only question is: are you wearing the Confederate flag or no? And equating a black person wearing gold chains AND SLAVERY is just what the fuck. I don't care if someone is wearing a Confederate flag to be intimidating, that's not something that I've ever heard any black person want to hear. I don't even understand how this song is a start in 2013.

atlonglast

@thebestjasmine I'm sorry to harp on this, especially since you're nice enough to respond. But I didn't see the line equating gold chains with slavery. There is: "Now my chains are gold but I'm still misunderstood." He is referencing chains to contrast his indisputable status as a free person.

The thing is this: I grew up in a very conservative area where I heard all manner of racist things, mostly in ignorance. Elite schools, more ignorance. Now I'm an expat in Europe, which tops the charts in many respects. I'm thankful for these experiences which taught me the importance of exchange. If you get offended and yell at the person for being wrong, then it's over. Have I ended racism in the conversations I've had with ignorant neighbors? OK, no, but I have heard in earnest, "Well, you may have a point," or "I never saw it that way." (Also, full disclosure, I'm sure I'm responsible for new cases of racism!) But we can't be afraid to have earnest exchanges. Somehow we've made it less safe for people to do so. They're too afraid of seeming backward, and all the while they stay in their cocoon of people who won't yell at them. Who likes getting yelled at? I honestly don't see anything here worthy of a yell. People seem to interpret it as Paisley telling everyone to stop caring about race and racism? Now that I would hate. But I don't seeeeeeeeeee it.

iceberg

@atlonglast (If you don't judge my gold chains)
... (I'll forget the iron chains)

I.E. "if you don't indulge in a racist stereotype about me because of a popular fashion choice I made, I will pretend hundreds of years of subjugation of my people (which still has flow-on effects today) never happened."

I think you miiiight have a point if Paisley had made the song go like this:
BP:"Don't think I'm a racist, I'm wearing this t-shirt because of a band I like"
LL:"Hey man, here's why that t-shirt straight up means fucking racism"
BP:"Oh my god you're right, I shall never be able to wear it again, can you forgive me for my ignorance?"
LL:"Sure homes"

thebestjasmine

@atlonglast Dude. The lyrics directly equate wearing gold chains with wearing iron chains. If you want to interpret iron chains as something that doesn't mean the shackles of slavery, I guess you're free to do so, but I have no idea how you'd do it. And no, Paisley isn't telling everyone to stop caring about race and racism, he's telling black people that his own brand of racism is no big deal, so we should just relax about it. No thank you.

Also, exactly what iceberg just said.

thebestjasmine

@atlonglast ALSO, wearing a do rag is IN NO WAY comparable to wearing a shirt with a racist symbol on it. If this song had said "WTF, why do people even compare those two?" it would be great. But it doesn't, it says "oh, it's totally cool if you wear a shirt with a racist symbol on it, because I put a black scarf on my head sometimes." No, that is not cool. This song isn't about getting over racism, it's about saying casual racism is no big deal.

atlonglast

@iceberg Hey thanks! I missed that chain, erm, link.

Sigh. After years of studying the inherent racism of X or the unexamined attitudes behind Y, I'm just like, Can we be cool? -- I don't want to keep people from wearing the confederate flag and I have no interest in linking every white person alive to slavery. I don't even care if you're trash enough to say the N-word. A focus on those superficial things is unnecessarily divisive. I want to know that I will not be discriminated against when I go for a job or a raise, or in a court of law, or if I report a crime to the police. I want to know that I can safely walk down the street without my life being physically threatened. I don't expect strangers not to hurt my feelings. The best way to avoid that is to ask the other guy, Are we ok? Or do we need to have a talk about some thangs?

Damn you Paisley! You won this round of publicity-hound bostravaganza.

PatatasBravas

@thebestjasmine WHY CAN'T THUMBS UP MORE THAN ONCE

Mila Pila@twitter

@backstagebethy Well said! Many of today's American's had ancestors who fought and gave their lives for the south. And most of those didn't even own slaves! The war was not based on slavery but somehow today's culture has forgotten history.

Many of us are as the song says "caught between southern pride and southern blame." Let's not forget LL Cool J wrote those lyrics too.

The American flag has just as much unjust blood on it as the Confederate Battle flag. Look what was done to the Native Americans...

thebestjasmine

@Mila Pila@twitter
1) The Civil War was indeed based on slavery.

2) LL Cool J being a part of this makes it no less racist.

3) The Confederate flag is a de facto racist symbol, the American flag is not. America has done a lot of shitty things, but the nation was not based on a racism, nor is it the reason people fly the flag now, unlike the confederate flag.

4) If the only thing your "southern pride" exhibits as has to do with the Confederacy, you might be a racist.

Julia duMais

@Mila Pila@twitter I already used my Frysquint gif elsewhere in these comments, so you get Ringo.

Mila Pila@twitter

@thebestjasmine @Julia duMais

I can assure you I am not a racist. Never was, never will be. I think the song was trying to get each side of the issue to take a look at it from the other's perspective. Sadly you have failed to open your mind to the idea there could be a different point of view out there. The Confederate flag is flown out of pride at our house. Nothing more and nothing less.

Facts are facts, the flag did not fly during battle because of racism. And the swastika was not always a Nazi symbol. People let these things become symbols of hate and I don't see anything wrong with fighting to retrieve the symbol from the clenches of evil.

I can only hope your condescending tone is not coming from a place of racism, because I could just as easily choose to call you out as a possible racist for your choice to purposely misinterpret my intentions after they have been clearly stated.

Julia duMais

@Mila Pila@twitter Okay. If you had read through the other comments here, you would see some of the very serious, reasonable, polite arguments people have made. So I'm not gonna rehash them. Given that yesterday was Yom Ha'Shoah and you're pulling out the friggin' swastika to back up your right to fly the Confederate flag, this Southern Jew is just gonna say

Either that or I'm gonna applaud you for your A+++++ trolling, because it's pitch-perfect. Take your pick.

thebestjasmine

@Mila Pila@twitter Oh Girl, you are the best troll! Defending the Confderate flag, the swastika, and "I'm not a racist", AND "you're the real racists for pointing out my racism" all in one post. You fly the Confederate flag out of pride, aren't you cute. I'd give you your racist bingo card, but I think Julia duMais has that all covered.

iceberg

@Mila Pila@twitter OK it's late and I'm probably thinking about this wayyyy more than it deserves but here goes. say you and I met, in a Starbucks, and I was wearing a NY Yankees hat. You might say, "oh, you're a Yankees fan!" and i think you'll agree that's a reasonable assumption on your part. would it then surprise you if I was to say "certainly not! I only wear this hat because I like New York the city. I've never gone for them or even wanted them to win! Although I do think there are things about them that are likable and worth being proud of. But yeah it's not about them it's the city." I think you would probably think I was a complete fucking moron for wearing the symbol of a team I don't root for and then claiming that thinking that I root for that team is silly just because I'm wearing their logo.

Except your team sold, bought, raped and murdered people and had a war to defend their right to keep doing it.

Mila Pila@twitter

@iceberg @thebestjasmine @Julia duMais

Obviously I'm not very eloquent in expressing my point of view. My attempt at making about how symbols can be misinterpreted went way out of line. I apologize. All I want to say is if we'd all open our minds and hearts to try to understand each other instead of making assumptions about others this country would be a much better place. The past is the past and I can't change it you can't change it. What can we do to make things better?

thebestjasmine

@Mila Pila@twitter For starters, we understand that certain symbols that are part of that past need to be retired, because they are symbols of hatred. I mean, look, this song is at once saying "black people need to forget about slavery, it's all in the past!" and "I need to hold on to my symbol of a slaveholding South, because that's my history!" When I think about racism, I don't think about slavery, I think about whether I should make it clear on my resume that I'm black or if that will keep me from getting a job interview, I think of how I tense up when I see a cop, even if I've done nothing wrong, I think of my fears for my adorable and smart 12 year old cousin, who will get targeted by teachers and police because of the color of his skin, I think about the different treatment that my white friends get at Neiman Marcus than I do. And I think a lot about people who try to pretend that these fears and differences don't exist and don't matter, and try to act like there's some sort of level playing field.

StandardTuber

@thebestjasmine Has Brad Paisley trolled us all, into educating one another about the inherent racism in this country, and having a dialogue about the dichotomous ways whites and other people experience this world???

Nicole Cliffe

Brad Paisley HAS healed our nation's tumultuous racial past. (He fades back into the cornfield.)

Mila Pila@twitter

@thebestjasmine

THIS is the conversation the song should have generated. Slavery is our nation's greatest disgrace. And I'm sorry because I know the racism didn't stop when the slaves were freed. I can't understand your experiences and the discriminations you have faced because I have not lived it but I know how I would feel were it me in those shoes. It would hurt! It would piss me off! Yet I really do feel the flag has become an accidental symbol of racism. Blood was shed on both sides of the Civil War. In my case my family's blood was shed fighting for the south. They owned no slaves, they were poor farmers who probably just wanted to secede from the Union based on reasons other than slavery. The whole slavery issue just got tangled up in the war. And thankfully in the end was abolished.

So here we are today. I don't want you or your family to feel like second class citizens in your own country. Shouldn't this have been over long ago? I was raised in a home where we saw no color. People were people. I was taught to treat everyone with respect PERIOD. I guess I was one of the lucky ones.

In the end people are people and everyone comes to the table with different experiences and preconceived notions. Maybe we can all be a little more accepting of others in order to improve the relationships between the races. I am hopeful the upcoming generation will be able to fix the mess we've made with prejudice. It is time. Don't you think?

thebestjasmine

@Mila Pila@twitter Seriously, please stop saying that "the whole slavery issue just got tangled up in the war." That's not real history. That's the South's version of history that likes to pretend that the Civil War wasn't about the right to own other people. And the thing is, the flag isn't an accidental symbol of racism. It's a symbol of the South wanting to keep their slaves. You may disagree, but think long and hard about why you cling to a flag of a war fought 150 years ago for terrible reasons. And whether or not you think that it's an accidental symbol of racism, it is still a symbol of racism. Flying or wearing that flag proclaims one of two things to me: "I am a racist" or "I don't care that this flag hurts other people." It also denies the existence of black southerners, because it says "I miss that time when you were 3/5th of a person."

I mean my God, as people said above, there are a hell of a lot of great things about the South that people can be proud of, none of which are symbolized by that flag. Can't someone make a flag of a biscuit or some barbecue or something? THOSE are things that unite the races. We all need to have a big biscuit/barbecue/bourbon party and solve this whole thing.

Julia duMais

@Mila Pila@twitter Ha ha ha, okay, apparently my comment was too long, so I've split it into two parts, and am working on the assumption that you are operating in good faith here, and are not a really impressive troll.

To draw on the example you used -- the swastika -- let's look at it another way. There is a lot in German history and culture to be proud of: some brilliant minds, excellent food, and even more excellent beer, just to start with. The German people have made a lot of great contributions to humanity over the centuries. I have several friends of German extraction and they're pretty proud of their German heritage. But if I see a stranger on the street wearing a tee-shirt with a swastika on it -- well, okay, yeah, there's always the chance that they just really like Leni Riefenstahl (indeed, she was a brilliant filmmaker), or that they're just a hipster being ~ironic~. But there's no way they've put it on without realizing the heavy weight that symbol carries, and that they've chosen to put it on anyway tells me that they are, at best, someone who considers their own sense of fashion more important than the deaths of millions of people. At worst, they're someone who might actually murder me if I cross their path while wearing my magen david necklace.

You mention wanting to "reclaim" these symbols -- the thing about reclamation is that if we aren't the people who were hurt by those who used them, then we are not reclaiming them, no matter what is going on in our hearts when we use them now. I, a white person, do not get to use the n-word to describe a black person and then say that I'm "reclaiming" it. No one's saying I can't use that word, I can use it all I want, but given that I'm a white girl, someone who has benefited from centuries of oppression of the people it describes, I have nowhere to reclaim it from. I'm using it the same way people who look like me have used it for centuries. There is no power of reclamation in my usage of that word, because I am not someone who's ever going to be hurt by it, or, more importantly, by the systems that made it such an ugly word in the first place. If I use it, the people I use it in front of can't read my mind; they can't know that I would never dream of dragging a black person behind my car. Just like I don't know if the person wearing the swastika tee-shirt is a hipster, a Riefenstahl fan, or someone who is actually going to murder me, the black person I use that word in front of has no way of knowing whether I'm just ignorant or actively hostile. The people from whom the swastika was appropriated can reclaim it, and more power to them, because they are not the people who murdered millions while flying it on a flag.

Julia duMais

@Mila Pila@twitter Continuing, have a fun historical tidbit: the Confederate flag has not been consistently used as a symbol of Southern pride since the Civil War. It came back into popular usage in the 50s, when it was used during protests against integration. "Southern pride", as represented by that flag, is a concept that originated in the 50s, as a direct attack on the struggle for civil rights.

There is a great deal to be proud of in Southern culture. Like I said, I'm from the South. I love my home, I love the people I grew up with. We have gorgeous scenery, fantastic food, and we've given the world some of its greatest music. You say you don't want to get bogged down in history, but you're the one who's insisting on using a flag tied to a couple of very specific and very ugly moments in American history. If "the past is the past" and we can't change it, why is it such a problem for you to leave that flag behind in the past as well, and find new symbols for the home and culture we're both so proud of? Why is your right not to be mildly inconvenienced by finding a new flag more important than the millions of people who have been hurt or killed by the culture that flew that flag? Why should they leave the millions of deaths in the past when you won't leave a piece of fabric there?

To say we need to leave the past behind us is a lovely sentiment, but if my History degree taught me nothing else, it's that it's not possible to do that. The past built everything around us, is responsible for where we are now. I'm afraid we're stuck with it. We can move forward, but we do so on roads that history has planned and paved.

fondue with cheddar

@Julia duMais THIS. We cannot control what symbols mean or how they will be perceived by others, and we need to be sensitive to the fact that someone may misinterpret our meaning when we wear a symbol.

One time a Jewish lady and her son came into the shoe store where I worked, and he tried on a pair of military-style combat boots. His mom wouldn't let him buy them because, "You look like a Nazi." He argued with her, because they were part of the punk subculture style he was going for, but no matter what his reasons for wearing those boots, they were a powerful symbol of something sinister to her.

White people are the ones who have traditionally power in America. It's not fair and it's not right, but that's the way it is. This is slowly changing but it's still pervasive enough that it's ridiculous to say we live in a "post-racial" America. It's easy to be a white person in America, and we have no idea what it truly feels like not to be. People of color are the ones who have been historically oppressed, not us. It's not on them to try to understand us, to be sensitive to our feelings. It's on us to be sensitive to theirs.

iceberg

@Julia duMais I just want you to know that I almost stood up at my desk to applaud these comments. So perfect.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Julia duMais @thebestjasmine
Standing ovations!

Julia duMais

@all mercy, y'all are making me blush

thebestjasmine

@Julia duMais I'm sorry, this might be offensive, because we don't really know each other, but, um. Will you marry me?

Julia duMais

@thebestjasmine

fondue with cheddar

@Julia duMais Damn, that was the best gif but apparently they don't like hotlinking.

Julia duMais

@thebestjasmine @fondue with cheddar foiled by my laziness!

fondue with cheddar

@Julia duMais AAAAAHHH GEEEEEEENE :D

KATE@twitter

Brad Paisley may be an idiot and this song may be strange and stupid but I don't think it's some BLIGHT on society. JFC.

PatatasBravas

I think it is.

Vera Knoop

@KATE@twitter It's not the source of the blight, but it's a symptom.

HeyThatsMyBike

I actually blushed just reading this. And now all I can make is this face o_o
And I haven't even listened to it.

warmflatsoda@twitter

The irony is that Paisley is from West Virginia, which only exists because of its secession from Virginia to join the Union. But he likes to just pretend he's from Nashville, so whatever. Argh.

zayetz

"They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears" ???
did this guy go to school?

AnalogMetronome

Yiiiiiikes yeah this song. Um. I have a lot of thoughts about this.

I'm a white woman from the south, I spent the first 22 years of my life in North Carolina and Tennessee. (I live in Boston now and I love it here.) On the one hand, I think I understand some of what Paisley is trying to say. It can be hard to be proud of where you're from, while at the same time knowing that the history of that place is fraught and that your ancestors did some terrible things to people that still have repercussions today. Those things affect how people see you. It's not fun to have people assume you're an evangelical Christian, republican racist when you tell them you are from North Carolina. I really get that. I love the south because it's where I came from. It's familiar to me and there are things I really miss about the culture. However, the politics are awful and that's why I left and will very likely never move back. I think it's fine to feel this way.

ON THE OTHER HAND, Paisley did a terrible job of expressing himself in this song. It's almost astounding how terrible a job he did. Look, dude, if you want people not to think you're a racist DON'T WEAR A FUCKING CONFEDERATE FLAG. Images and symbols have meaning! You say you want to walk a mile in someone's shoes or whatever, but then you do these things that you know full well could be taken as racist and discriminatory and sort of just expect them to understand?! No. Look, if you are "proud of where you're from, but not everything we've done" maybe don't wear a symbol that is directly associated with some of the most hurtful and damaging things white southerners have done. History happened and even if you didn't directly participate, you are responsible for being sensitive for the events of the past that could still be hurtful to people today. Whatever inconvenience of not wearing your stupid Skynyrd shirt costs you, I assure you it's far less than the legacy of slavery and segregation and institutional racism costs the black people you come in contact with. When you wear that symbol you are saying, at best, "I am an insensitive asshole" and at worst, "I think slavery was a great idea." This is, of course, taking him at his word that he doesn't mean to be racist, which may be a generous assumption.

Tl;dr - Dear Brad Paisley,
No.
Signed,
A White Ex-Southern Woman

HeyThatsMyBike

@AnalogMetronome As your inverse - a Yankee living in the South - yes to everything you said. This song basically should have been your first paragraph if that's what he wanted to get across. Instead aworofniawkjfnaowiethfaeuoghauworghsdl;fhaw;sdlfh is how I feel.

AnalogMetronome

@AnalogMetronome Also, I think some of what he is saying is that he shouldn't have to feel guilty or responsible for things he didn't do, which is just not true. No, Brad, you SHOULD feel guilty! You have benefitted your entire life from things your ancestors did. Look here's the thing, my ancestors owned slaves. If you're white and more than a few generations southern, yours probably did too. I can barely type that because it makes me feel sick to think that I am where I am today partially because of something so wrong and so reprehensible. I have had advantages in my life because I was born white into a culture that values whiteness (which isn't only true in the south, of course). Recognize your privilege, Brad, RECOGNIZE.

Right, I'm done now.

packedsuitcase

@AnalogMetronome A big round of applause and a hug. Not because you need a hug, but because I think you're awesome. Unless you're not a hugger. In which case more applause.

PatatasBravas

@AnalogMetronome PLEASE MAKE A SMART PARODY OF THIS SONG AND SEND IT VIRAL

AnalogMetronome

@packedsuitcase I'm totally a hugger, I will accept ALL OF THE HUGS! (Also, thanks :D)

Jolly Farton

@AnalogMetronome Can someone send this comment to Brad Paisley on Twitter? I don't have a Twitter - and perhaps also don't quite understand how Twitter works? Would he actually get the tweet? I hope so, because LESSONS

amitygardens@twitter

@AnalogMetronome You are my spirit animal! I wanted to say the same things, but you did much better. Yay fellow North Carolinian!

It's so annoying when people assume that you're a racist/homophobic republican evangelist because you're from the South. I love where I'm from, but the bad parts make me sad. I can't say that I approve of the way that I was ingrained with this terrible sense of white privilege. It's taken me time to realize that what I was taught was wrong, and that I am not the goddamn center of the universe. I can't say asshole things, and then pretend that it's okay. I get so much shit from my family because I'm a feminist liberal-leaning pansexual lady, but I am willing to accept that I still have it better over other people. It's probably a good thing that I live in England now.

Brad Paisley

@lilly pilgrim
Got it!

StandardTuber

But wait you guys, this is totally the cure for racism because now when my grandma makes a racist comment I can just say "That was accidental racism, she can't rewrite history you know," and everyone won't get offended.

GAH.

pterodactgirl

image

StandardTuber

@pterodactgirl

HeyThatsMyBike

@pterodactgirl The loss of this ability may be the saddest thing about the death of the newspaper.

flapadactyl

@pterodactgirl It is Sussex, for goodness' sake!

(ALSO A MILLION TIMES INFINITY UPVOTES FOR COLD COMFORT)

pterodactgirl

@flapadactyl Interesting and appalling! The others just sound appalling.

frigwiggin

He's taking people's offense and turning it around and making it about him? Newsflash, dude: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.

annev6

Original title: "I'm a white dude who is used to being able to do whatever the fuck I want and I'm too lazy to change that, but I want to be liked and to do that it seems these days you need to not be racist so I'm going to go ahead and make this your problem and make you seem like you're the jerk because you are offended and that way I can avoid any and all self-examination/improvement whatsoever. Cool? Cool."

Obvi it was too long.

werewolfbarmitzvah

"It ain't eeeeeeeasy being white/It ain't eeeeeeasy being brown..."

Chareth Cutestory

@werewolfbarmitzvah You beat me to it! That was all I could think about.

Megasus

@werewolfbarmitzvah M-maybe that's what this is. Some kind of viral video for Arrested Development? Somehow? I mean, that is the only legit reason I can imagine for this getting made.
Also fuuuuuuuck my relatives probably are going to eat this shit up.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Megasus
Yeah, but, how will you ever know if you don't ever talk to them? This has been my plan vis a vis my relatives!

Mira

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll What do we always say is the most important thing?

fondue with cheddar

IF ANYBODY WANTS ME I'LL BE IN HERE

FlufferNutter

@fondue with cheddar This GIF wins the world! I relate to it on every level!

fondue with cheddar

@FlufferNutter It's great, isn't it? I saw it last week and I was like OMG THIS IS PERFECT.

causedbycomma

@FlufferNutter I feel like this GIF is basically going to be my response to everything now.

whizz_dumb

@causedbycomma I can't wait until someone uses it for something else I want to banish from my thoughts/all of existence.

annev6

This post has now spurred Toby Keith's immortal line of "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way" to go on loop inside my headspace. I do not like this.

Can we all go set something on fire together?

fondue with cheddar

HEY WHITE PEOPLE, THE THINGS YOU SAY AND DO CAN STILL OFFEND PEOPLE EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T MEAN IT THAT WAY SO JUST THINK ABOUT SOMEONE BESIDES YOURSELF OKAY

(I'm white. Just sayin'.)

Blushingflwr

@fondue with cheddar Sometimes I want to write an open letter to my fellow white people that is basically "Just stop, okay".

annev6

Alternate title: "I'm still getting used to the idea that black people aren't and will never again be my slaves. Please be patient with me on this, I have only had 150 years to get used to this idea."

Still too long, though.

packedsuitcase

Can I just say the GIFs in these comments are spot on? Because, wow, they are perfect.

flimflannery

"I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin/
But it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin"

This is kind of a good, well thought out lyric and idea, Brad Paisley.

This isn't his first song like this.. He sings a song about the "Dixieland" being home, including having a black gospel chorus sing "I wish I was in Dixielanndddddd." Ugh. Paisley you got problems.

this ship ain't mine

LL why you gotta do me like this

Reginal T. Squirge

Haha. My favorite part of this thread.

AmandathePanda

Well that managed to not only be intensely stupid, it was also amazingly unlistenable. I mean, not only were the lyrics terribly written and really, really, missing the point, the music was really bad.

etfp@twitter

You know what hip-hop needs more of? Shoutouts to Confederate war generals.

Jason@twitter

@etfp@twitter "Yo yo, word to my homeboy Sherman!"

katiemcgillicuddy

@etfp@twitter Ayyy, what up to my dawg A.P Hill, y'all know A.P. stands for "Always Pimpin'", son!

Megasus

@etfp@twitter I...kind of want this to become some kind of ironic subgenre now.

Reginal T. Squirge

@katiemcgillicuddy

Ha. Well done.

Faintly Macabre

@etfp@twitter People shootin' words like muskets at me/I wish Nathan Forrest were still kickin'/so we could smoke some tree

Amphora

"I'm just a white man/Comin' to you from the southland" = "I'm just an entitled intellectually lazy racist, sorry for never taking responsibility for my own actions and words"

stonefruit

@Amphora #sorrynotsorry

fondue with cheddar

@Amphora "just" a white man

nyikint

C'mon, there's something to be said for good intentions...

I have a soft spot for Brad Paisley - he's making an effort to be inclusive and starting a dialogue about race is commendable, even if the song is clumsy and the music bad.

Plus I find 'Welcome to the Future' very sweet.

heroicdestinysquad

@nyikint That the road to hell is paved with them?

PatatasBravas

@nyikint I don't know anything about Welcome to the Future, and I don't know Mr. Paisley personally so I will not make empty conjectures about his intentions.

I confidently assert that this song is a fucking disaster.

Also THERE ARE PLENTY OF EXTANT DIALOGUES ABOUT RACE and at least some of them are not vapid nonpologies about t-shirts segueing into the false equivalence of a do-rag and a Confederate flag and concluding with "let bygones be bygones".

nyikint

@heroicdestinysquad I wasn't being sarcastic!

I'm a little nervous to stand in front of this train, but I do think that piling on Brad Paisley and this dumb song doesn't really combat racism; in fact it makes it harder to have a dialogue when you either get it 100% right, or get completely bashed.

When we set the bar for a starting point entering the conversation on race so high, it dissuades people from talking in the first place, which is why so few people broach the subject publicly.

iceberg

@nyikint But if someone really, really doesn't understand why some (most?) people are offended by the Confederate Flag as a symbol, I feel like at this point they're putting much more effort into not understanding than they would have to to understand?

ETA:"it makes it harder to have a dialogue when you either get it 100% right, or get completely bashed." I have been in situations like this, but I don't think you'll find yourself getting bashed here.

PatatasBravas

@nyikint Haha I am not a train! I am the Doctor!

Look, as far as I'm concerned, the starting point for entering a conversation on race for me is "that person is not saying racist things." Brad failed! He can deal with the criticism. He is a grown ass adult. He can handle someone telling him that he said a racist thing.

Also I will continue to say that he is not the only person broaching the subject publicly, and other people are doing a way better job of it, so why doesn't he just let this one go until he's better educated?

annev6

@nyikint I appreciate your sentiment and I know how you feel but this Civil War romanticism modern Southerners engage in needs to just fucking stop and has zero place in a modern discussion about race. No one who is currently alive and white in the South is suffering because of the Civil War. No one. And to try and use some kind of cultural hangover wound from that as an excuse for offending people who were actively oppressed in the South until, oh, RIGHT NOW, TODAY, is just willful stupidity.

The best you can hope for here is that Brad Paisley knows he's pandering to racists for money, a la Toby Keith. At least that would mean he was good at his job. The other option is that he went ahead and wrote a song about race without ever really considering the topic beyond his point of view (choosing instead to outsource that to his black friend?), despite the fact that he is a professional artist who gets paid millions to do this. I don't think we're setting the bar for this conversation very high by simply asking that he consider the issue for longer than 5 minutes and maybe talk to some people and read some books before he releases a single like this.
It's like, come on.

heroicdestinysquad

@nyikint I hear you on the dialogue thing, but this song is a white dude whining that people are mad about him wearing a Confederate flag (which, country music for being sooooooooo patriotic sure gets down with symbols of treason) and then getting his black friend to say its ok. I'm going to pass on giving this one the benefit of the doubt.

C.SanDiego

@PatatasBravas But how many of those people are contemporary country artists? Few if any, and certainly none who are played on the radio. Which I can say with some small authority, as I regularly listen to country radio in North Carolina.

I don't think that this is the most well-written song, and I won't be heading off to iTunes to get my own copy, but I do agree that his intentions (as one of the more liberal members of the country music family) were to take a look at some of the decisions that he's made and how they've affected others. Doesn't seem like he's going to be wearing a Confederate flag to Starbucks again anytime soon. And maybe none of that was expressed in an educated, intelligent manner, but we're talking about a dude who sings songs about whiskey to crowds of rednecks here. Any semi-sensitive discussion of race in that forum is commendable.

I think people are trying to find a reason to be mad, and maybe piling on a little bit, instead of realizing that he's basically pandering to the lowest common denominator, and if this song can get one or two of them to look at their motivations for wearing a red flag shirt or having the bumper sticker on the back of their trucks, then good for him.

junkle

@annev6 Thank you, voice of reason.

PatatasBravas

Asking someone with such a large audience to be responsible and write a better damn song is not a lot to ask, frankly.

mistakeshavebeenmade

@PatatasBravas: I agree with you on all accounts. But. I know several people who both a) listen to Brad Paisley, and b) refuse to see the Confederate flag as representing a racist worldview. Yes, there are multitudes of better arguments about race out there, but not on Fox News. I can guarantee you that these red-blooded Americans are not being exposed to very many conversations about racism that don't include the word "reverse". I think nyikint is trying to make the argument that within the culture that consumes Brad Paisley, this is actually not 100% the worst. I mean, yes, I'm horrified by it, but I'll reluctantly give him points for acknowledging that Southern racism is a thing in a *mainstream* country song.

Also, wow, do I ever need to get my ass out of Texas. In the meantime, if anyone knows any good ways to explain how to counter the "I'm just a poor country boy" and "my family didn't own slaves" arguments, I could use some help here. Apparently I suck at arguing white privilege with Southerners...

annev6

@mistakeshavebeenmade Oh man, I totally hear that, as I also spent a deal of time living in Texas and having people try to explain this to me, but just... no. I'm so done even entertaining this point of view. People just need to learn history and stop rewriting it to their liking and then getting offended when the rest of us decide to deal with reality.

A really really great point about the Confederate flag was made at the end of an episode of This American Life, by Tim Tyson, a historian at Duke (the whole episode it great and is about how we Midwesterners rewrite history just as badly when it comes to Native Americans):

"And yet there's no memory that white people opposed the Civil War. There's no memory of General Pickett, of Pickett's Charge. He came to Kinston, North Carolina, in 1864. And the first thing he did was he hanged 22 local white boys on the courthouse lawn because they were loyal to the United States government.

And you go down to Kinston now and you go out to King's Barbecue, and you look down the row of cars at all those trucks and all those Confederate flag bumper stickers. And I just want to say, you don't know who you are. They hanged your great granddaddy and you got their flag on your bumper. That's kind of interesting.

So they reinvent a fake history for ourselves that doesn't deal with the complexities. And I think in some ways that's what the south and the upper Midwest have in common is that there's a delusion at work about who we were. And that's why we have a hard time about who we are. So that the kind of self congratulatory history that passes for heritage keeps us from seeing ourselves and doing better."

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/479/transcript

I think people forget that not every single human being in the South has a heritage that aligns with the Confederacy. When people wear that flag, they aren't representing anything other than wealthy, white slave owners who were fighting to protect their own way of life.

I think it's very sad that I know and understand this and people like Mr. Paisley can't be bothered to, though he apparently can be bothered to wear a Confederate flag and defend doing so.

par_parenthese

@annev6 THAT QUOTE. THAT QUOTE FOREVER. I seriously got tears and shivers about "They hanged your grandaddy and you got their flag on your bumper."

annev6

@par_parenthese You should really listen to the interview on the site. The way he delivers that little speech will put the fear of God in you.

thebestjasmine

@nyikint It is fucking depressing that "setting the bar so high" for a dialogue on racism means that starting with the knowledge that the Confederate flag is racist is too high for some people. Jesus Christ. I mean come on.

iceberg

@thebestjasmine preeeeeetty much

stonefruit

@thebestjasmine yyyyyyyyep.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

You guys I'm still waiting for Toby Keith to join the U.S. Armed Forces and put his much-sung-about boot in some enemies' asses. I don't know if that relates to this song at all.

frenz.lo

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I am still waiting for him and Willie to give beer to a horse!

katiemcgillicuddy

Yes, but what does Lynyrd Skynyrd have to say about this?!

Seriously, Mr. Cool J, what the fuck are you doing?

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Didn't they recently announce that they will no longer use the Confederate flag as a symbol?

katiemcgillicuddy

@fondue with cheddar They did for about five minutes. Fan backlash was strong enough they decided to keep on using it because, of course.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Right. What was I thinking?

iceberg

No honey, accidental racism is when you say "nappy" because it's the Australian word for diaper and you forgot that if someone overhears it out of context there might be a problem.

This is just lazy, thoughtless racism.

iceberg

@iceberg AND ANOTHER THING why is it that every Southern white person defines "my culture" that they need to be "proud" of exclusively as symbols of the Civil War? Like, other shit has happened down here since then, maybe be proud of some of that? Wear an Outkast t-shirt, I dunno.

PatatasBravas

@iceberg Well, it's not every Southern white person who defines their culture as the culture represented by Civil War imagery.

I do think there's an interesting group of people who are very proud of the Confederate imagery, though, and I wonder what drives that. I think it's more rural than South, though, since there are lot of people in rural PA and rural Ohio who also fly that particular flag or post stickers of it on their trucks.

iceberg

@PatatasBravas "it's not every Southern white person" no, you're right, I worded that poorly. I guess I meant only the ones who get defensive I guess, because the ones who don't like that don't need to defend their choices, probably?

Urwelt

@iceberg When you've got that much great food, music, and natural beauty, it makes your decision to focus on the more dubious aspects of your culture that much more suspect.

AnalogMetronome

@Urwelt YOU! YES YOU. YOU GET A PRIZE. A PRIZE FOR BEING RIGHT. Thank you.

AOpp

@PatatasBravas Yes! I grew up in rural MI, and for years (I can't remember if it's still there or not), there was a house right off a main road with a satellite dish in their yard with a giant Confederate flag draped over it. It's not like there was an uncountable number of pickups in my HS parking lot with "stars and bars" bumper stickers, but it was definitely more than a few. And every time, I have an eyeroll and an internal shout of "you're in the north, dumbass! Even if they'd have won, you wouldn't be there!"

par_parenthese

@Urwelt Thiiiiiiiiiiis.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Urwelt Yes! This! I mean, I get that maybe some misguided people just see Confederate flags as a part of their culture and don't realize that by reappropriating them as a symbol, they're just being inappropriate?
If being Southern is so awesome, why don't you tell me why it's awesome, Brad Paisley? Instead of just saying that y'know Lynyrd Skynyrd is a band that made songs oh and we have Starbucks

DUDE EVERYWHERE HAS STARBUCKS

cminor

@AOpp Samsies. I grew up in rural Michigan, but close enough to all of the automotive shops for people to work(supposedly our local culture was heavily influenced by the south because of migration to work in the shops). The rebel flag was EVERYWHERE.
I consider it a hick thing, which probably makes me classist.

heroicdestinysquad

@cminor I have seen Confederate flags in CANADA. CANADA!?!

hahahaha, ja.

I tried to have an open, even-handed discussion about social issues the other day, but it mostly devolved into a couple of white men telling me (non-white woman) what sexism and racism are, and now I'm just tired.

I think these people would get along with Brad Paisley. They can all live together in a colorblind and genderblind world with no troublesome history or context. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still trying to walk down the street without getting harassed.

MmeLibrarian

@hahahaha, ja. I was having an IM conversation with a friend the other day about... I don't know, some horrible, sexist thing and he wrote, "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a bunch of dudebros high-fiving while the rest of us collapse out of pure exhaustion." Turns out one of them is going to be playing a vicious guitar solo when it happens.

Judith Slutler

@Julia duMais Yeah basically! It was a slave society. That's kind of how those work.

As far as states rights, I always think it's interesting to look at how the Fugitive Slave Act federalized the return of escaped slaves to their masters, and voided personal liberty laws that many Northern states had passed to protect escaped slaves. Who's for states rights now, hmmmm?

jagosaurus

Once again I, a white southerner, find myself at the intersection of "Not All White Southerners are Racists" and "Far Too Many White Southerners Need to Learn Some Actual Damn History."

julnyes

There are some ideas in there that are positive, but it is wrapped in a lot of godawful crap.

PatatasBravas

@julnyes So out of curiosity/optimism I sorted out all the lines that I thought might have gone in a positive direction, had they been written by someone with a modicum of common sense in America in the year 2013, and offered some ALLCAPS EDITING SUGGESTIONS:

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... [BUT I WAS WRONG, AND I REALIZED THAT MY INTENTIONS MEAN LESS THAN MY ACTIONS, SO I WILL NOT WEAR THE SHIRT AGAIN]
Lookin' like I got a lot to learn [NO BUTS!]

I'm just a white man comin' to you from the southland
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done [EXPAND ON THE NOT PROUD OF ACTIONS, HOW WILL CHANGE ACTIONS IN PRESENT AND FUTURE]
[I NOTICED SOME OF MY PEERS ARE] caught between southern pride and southern blame [AND THIS IS HOW WE WILL TALK ABOUT IT AND CHANGE FOR THE BETTER]

I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin
But it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin [SO I'LL SHUT UP AND LISTEN WHEN PEOPLE TALK TO ME ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES]

chorus + comments from above

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 [REFER TO MARTIN CASE AND MODERN DAY SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE]

So when I see that white cowboy hat, I'm thinkin' it's not all good
I guess we're both guilty of judgin' the cover not the book [THOUGH ADMITTEDLY YOU ARE MORE GUILTY, SINCE I AM AVOIDING YOU BECAUSE IT IS RIDICULOUSLY LIKELY OUR INTERACTION COULD LAND ME IN PRISON WHICH SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY GOOD REASON TO JUDGE ACTUALLY]

I'm just a white man
(you don't judge my do-rag)
Comin' to you from the southland
(I [WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU DIDN'T SHOOT ME TOO])
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from
(If you don't judge my gold chains)
But not everything we've done
(I'll [NOT] forget the iron chains [HONESTLY WTF])
It ain't like you and me can re-write history [THOUGH I WILL VOW TO NOT REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES AND TO ADMIT MY PRIVILEGES IN THE MEANTIME]

?

julnyes

@PatatasBravas I don't know how catchy that would be, but in all other particulars your version is an improvement :)

PatatasBravas

@julnyes I was just looking at it and sighing in despair. I can't write songs, so ideally we could just leave this up to talented professionals, but SOMEHOW THOSE TALENTED PROFESSIONALS LET "ACCIDENTAL RACIST" HAPPEN.

Brad Paisley

@PatatasBravas
I have to say, you've really captured it here. There are quite a few lessons I've learned over the past 48 hours, but one of the biggest ones is the danger of surrounding yourself with people who just reinforce each other's ideas, without considering how people outside that group might see things. Drop me a line, I'd really love your input on future projects.

PatatasBravas

@Brad Paisley

Mr. Paisley, I really appreciate that you showed up and took responsibility for your words, whether or not you intended them to be interpreted this way! It shows maturity and I respect you for it. I would be nothing short of thrilled to talk more with someone who can admit their shortcomings and ask for advice after such a brief and contentious period of time! Admittedly I think you'd be better off talking to someone with more experience with these matters and certainly to someone with more songwriting experience, but I can send out some recommendations and even email introductions if you're interested.

Julia duMais

@PatatasBravas oh my god are you telling me this isn't a brilliant troll?

City_Dater

As someone who cringe/winces at the well-meaning but terrible "Ebony & Ivory", I may not be able to walk fully upright the rest of the day.

And everyone who posted a GIF response: they were all so perfect I am awestruck.

AceofSix@twitter

1.1 million tumblr users can't be wrong!

http://yoisthisracist.com/post/47479962514/hemogoblins-and-about-1-1-million-other-people

desjardins

Okay, this song is completely terrible, and I've seen similar attitudes among other white people (mostly dudes). I think part of the reason for it is because we're finally at a place where we're teaching kids about all the terrible crap that happened in our history, learning about oppression, all of that. But the message of very single "diversity" talk I experienced until college was "White people did (do) terrible things, and because you are white you have to feel personally terrible and a little bit responsible." So year after year all the white boys start to get pissed, because they don't see how they've personally done anything wrong, despite the fact that they get all kinds of societal benefits. And so we get things like this song.

It wasn't until during an RA diversity training day in college that I even heard a diversity speaker talk about not just that racism is a thing, but about being proud of your heritage (whatever it is), how privilege works, how educating yourself helps you to not be "accidentally racist." It wasn't "white people are terrible!" It was "Lots of white people have been terrible, these are the ways their terribleness effects society even today, and this is how we go about combating it." So maybe if we put more effort into teaching the kiddos about racism and diversity, we can curtail another generation of obnoxious, confused, and offended white boys.

causedbycomma

@desjardins That's a good point. It's more about acknowledging that you have benefited from others' past terribleness, and working to right the system, than about feeling bad personally for things that other people did. I think if people explained it more like that there would not be a similar backlash.

PatatasBravas

If only Brad had written a song from that perspective!

SarcasticFringehead

@causedbycomma A lot of people do explain it like that, though, and they get a lot of the same backlash (see for example the entire affirmative action debate). I'm not in love with any framing that makes it the responsibility of educators to soothe the feelings of white boys until they deign to see it from someone else's perspective, when there are plenty of kids out there whose parents don't have a choice about whether they learn about racism (I mean, on the other hand, based on past results it seems pretty unlikely that entitled white boys will spontaneously get it, so I guess it's educators or nothing?)

causedbycomma

@SarcasticFringehead Oh I'm not saying we need to soothe anyone's feelings... Just that the way to frame the discussion isn't "you personally are responsible for this" but "these are the things that happened, they were terrible, here is what we do to move forward."

Miss Maszkerádi

@SarcasticFringehead I was just meandering down here to comment on this issue as well - someone earlier in the thread said in as many words that Brad Paisley "should feel guilty" about the things that his ancestors did over a hundred years ago, and I've heard similar statements with great frequency in college/liberal circles/the internet, and I'm just....not okay with it. I (or you if you're white and american, or that random white person over there, or anyone) didn't choose to be born the color I am. I didn't choose to be born in the privileged stratum, or to potentially have had ancestors who did terrible things. (Slave-owning is highly, highly unlikely in my own peasant background but I guess I'm just as much a beneficiary of society's prejudices as someone directly descended from the biggest slave-abuser in Dixie.) To tell me or anyone else of my general melanin level that I should feel *guilty* for something I never did, never would have done, and had no say in being born distantly connected to, I'm sorry, strikes me as almost immoral. It's too much like the doctrine of Original Sin for my taste, or certain other "blood on us and our descendants" issues.
And I know, I know, that guilt isn't the actual point, and it's really about recognizing inequality and working to change it, and I totally support that obviously because I'm not a fucking horrible human being. But unfortunately points get missed and throwing inherited guilt around happens a lot, and it just.....bothers me. Grumble.

ETA: This song completely sucks, though.

SarcasticFringehead

@Miss Maszkerádi Okay, but here's the thing. How often, outside of "college/liberal circles/the internet," does someone actually suggest that they want you to feel guilty? Because I hear a lot about that from white people, about how they shouldn't have to feel guilty because they weren't there, but I can't remember ever hearing it from a person of color, or reading it in something written by a person of color. If there's a whole narrative I'm missing, point me toward it, but until I see otherwise, I'm going to go ahead and call the whole "guilt" thing a straw man. In my experience, and I cannot speak for people of color, they don't want to deal with this shit anymore than anyone else does. But they have to, and I think a better response than a philosophical discussion about whether it's fair to be "made" to feel guilty is to actually listen to what people who actually experience racism are actually saying.

desjardins

@SarcasticFringehead It's more of an implicit message than anything. People don't feel guilty because they're told to feel guilty, they feel guilty as a result of the cocktail of messages they get. To me it seems like when you go abroad and people complain about how terrible American tourists are - a pretty common reaction is to apologize, right? On behalf of your fellow Americans? Except in the case of white dudes, you're not allowed to add "but we're not all like that! See, I'm different!" because all of them experience the benefits of institutional racism.

What's missing from a lot of diversity "talks" is the message that it's okay for white people to be proud of their heritage, too. The only people who are white and proud of their ancestry that get talked about are the KKK. A big part of the problem is that when white dudes try to talk about the fact that they're only getting told that their people are horrible and it sucks, they're told to shut up because they're the most privileged people in society. And while it's true that they're the most privileged people in society, that doesn't mean individual people deserve to have their experiences ignored because other people have it much worse. And THEN because no one talks about how to be proud of your heritage as a white person in good ways, we get shit like people flying the Confederate Flag as a symbol of southern heritage and not understanding why people get so offended, because to them it just seems like you're saying that they aren't allowed to be proud of their heritage at all.

So in a certain sense, I think it IS about soothing people's feelings, not by ignoring the horrible realities of racism, but by teaching them that they aren't personally responsible for how society is and how to be proud of their heritage in positive ways that don't hurt people. It's one thing if people are hard-headed about things, but it seems to me like no one is making any effort to reach the white dudes, they expect the white dudes to do all the intellectual legwork when they don't even know where to begin.

hallelujah

@SarcasticFringehead Amen sistafriend.

Miss Maszkerádi

@SarcasticFringehead That...wasn't really my point. Where did I say that a person of color accused me of guilt? In my personal experience of the discourse about race and power and such (which happens to have been, in fact, in settings of higher education, liberal areas of the country and general internet philosophizing, so that's the experience I'm speaking from), it's all been a big clusterfuck of white people telling other white people how bad they all should feel. I personally have been told in as many words that I should feel guilt, shame, responsibility or contrition for the past crimes of other people of my skin color (again, I have been told this by other white people.) And I'm not under any impression that hearing things like that is in any way as bad as experiencing systemic racism, but it's still a stupid and shitty thing to say to anybody.
Like I said in my earlier comment, I am WELL AWARE that when this idea of perpetual white guilt and complicity gets tossed around, it's a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of valid points. (Good: recognize your privilege and do what you can to build a more just society. Bad: You, white person, are de facto guilty of racism because of what color you happened to be born.) (And yes, yes, yes, I and many other people I know HAVE been told (by other white people) that we are de facto racists because we are white in a racist society. I'm not a fucking racist and don't call me one.) The thing is, it's an easy enough misinterpretation/misrepresentation to make, and it's also a dangerous one. Think of the stereotypical classroom full of White Rural Male Adolescents, completely new to the subject matter, learning about racism and privilege for the first time. Someone clumsily insinuates that to be white is to be guilty by association - and BOOM there goes your audience. Now you've got a class full of stereotypical rural white males all thinking about bullshit political correctness and reverse racism and tuning out the whole rest of the lecture.

It's not about "call the waaaambulance, won't someone think of the poor white males' feeeeeeeelings," it's more like "know your audience, know their prior experience of the subject matter, and present important material in a way that won't immediately antagonize them."

Miss Maszkerádi

@desjardins Pretty much what I was trying to say, about expecting the white boys to figure it all out for themselves and giving them up as lost causes when they don't know where to begin. More coherently expressed than my ramblings though.

mochi

@desjardins Whiteness is a social construct. It's only purpose is "opposite of Blackness". People should take pride in their German, English, French, or Polish heritage, or their Cajun great grandparents, or WHATEVER, but not Whiteness.
A really good book on this topic in case anyone is interested: http://www.amazon.com/The-Invention-White-Race-Volume/dp/1844677699

desjardins

@WILLOWW Yes! That's what I mean! GOOD ways of taking pride in one's heritage!

Valley Girl

@Miss Maszkerádi " "It's not about "call the waaaambulance, won't someone think of the poor white males' feeeeeeeelings," it's more like "know your audience, know their prior experience of the subject matter, and present important material in a way that won't immediately antagonize them." "

^^^This is the tone argument. I follow your logic but there are a lot of people who don't feel like it's ever the responsibility of an oppressed person to modify their responses for the benefit of their oppressors.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Valley Girl Again, I'm not talking about "the responsibility of an oppressed person to modify their responses for the benefit of their oppressors." I'm talking about the point being understood. As I mentioned several times in my earlier post, the experience I've had personally with this has been one of white people talking to other white people, so theoretically speaking one between people of equal oppressor-levels. And in the particular scenario I was referring to, it would be one of educated-on-this-issue people talking to relatively ignorant people.

But also, regardless of the race of the person doing the educating about racism, doesn't it actually benefit EVERYBODY if the material is presented in a way (or a "tone", if you prefer) that the uneducated and uninitiated can grasp? Like, okay, it sucks if a bunch of stereotypical southern white males are prone to feeling slighted at the mere suggestion that they aren't the rightful kings of the world. But if the goal is to broaden their horizons and teach them to be more informed and sensitive on racial issues, and excuse me for being an oppressor here, I think the relative unpleasantness of being at least slightly careful with one's "tone" while educating them is outweighed by the good that would come of getting them to actually listen and learn something.

I mean, if it were a politically neutral subject like math, no one would have a problem with the concept of teaching students basic arithmetic functions before diving straight into calculus.

julnyes

It must be really easy for LL to forgive slavery under the pile of his many gold chains ... I have no idea why I expected better from him (possibly because I had a crush on him as a teenager)

small_chair

John C. Calhoun is behind this somehow, I know it.

Doriane Joséphine@twitter

I don't even know... LL man wtf?

noReally

Why didn't Brad and LL just remake Ebony and Ivory?

rbrtposteschild

Oh hey GOB and Franklin have a new song.

Fakenation@twitter

This is totally fake music written by a public relations expert. And you know what's really sad? In the days of James Brown, Sly Stone, and Chuck Berry, music was really a way for the races to come together. This song basically erects a new musical ghetto. Read more: http://www.fakenation.info/please/teleprompter-tunes-accidental-racists

Better to Eat You With

This is the (semi)musical "I have a black friend, therefore..." isn't it?

(Also, thanks, asshole, for reaffirming the worst tendencies of all my rural white students. In Indiana, by the way.)

space opera

Welp, at first read I thought it said "Accidental Rapist," so... could be worse?

mochi

@space opera Oh God. That's next, isn't it

Chip Thornton

Good for Paisley and LL Cool J. My generation has gotten so stupid about race relations. Its all infighting and guilt and maintaining animosity under the guise of "correcting history." Now here's some logic and the social engineers can't stand it. I hope it's a smash hit.

Chip

Valley Girl

@Chip Thornton I wonder what generation drew the line between being "stupid about race relations" in the form of ~guilt and animosity~ and, say, the generations that embraced turning fire hoses on Black people and setting dogs to attack them. You know, like Skynrd sang about!

Brad Paisley

@Chip Thornton
Love the way you sign your posts, man. It's a lost art.

Cheers,
Brad

Mila Pila@twitter

@Brad Paisley I appreciate the song and its message. Thanks for bringing a tough subject out in the open.

Julia duMais

@Brad Paisley I am really enjoying what you're doing here, whoever you are. Well played.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Brad Paisley EVIL MELIS!

Ron
Ron

I understand the message .I think you've got it wrong.

383740544@twitter

I understand the message .I think you've got it wrong. sbothai

Muhammad Atif@facebook

I don't think about slavery, I think about whether I should make it clear on my resume that I'm black or if that will keep me from getting a job interview, I think of how I tense up when I see a cop, even if I've done nothing wrong, I think of my fears for my adorable and smart 12 year old cousin,
bubblegumcasting

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