Why Is "Accidental Racist" So Ridiculous? Because Brad Paisley and LL Cool J Just Won't Speak for Themselves

OC Weekly

So I finally listened to "Accidental Racist," and the upshot is that now I kind of want to write some Brad Paisley-LL Cool J fanfiction. Nothing weird -- that would be Brad Paisley/LL Cool J fanfiction, and there's a huge and scary difference -- just Brad Paisley and LL Cool J hanging out at the video store, or pulling wacky pranks on each other, or road-tripping to a My Chemical Romance show. (Every music fanfic is eventually about My Chemical Romance, for demographic reasons.)

I want to do that because I love writing fanfiction, but also because the sentiment in the song -- hey, let's try to understand each other and be pals, instead of hiding all this resentment -- is so nice. I want to hang out with these guys. Which doesn't explain why "Accidental Racist" the song is the most stunningly awkward, wrong-footed thing to hit the Internet since the Insane Clown Posse wrapped an teleological argument for pantheism around magnets.

More: Brad Paisley says it's okay to be the minority.

"Accidental Racist" -- you can read the lyrics here, and you absolutely should -- has already been compared to a lot of things, most notably (and successfully) Saturday Night Live's famous "Ebony & Ivory" parody. But it's most interesting in its own right because this is really about the exceptionally strange way in which a positive idea was strangled by its own weird execution.

Brad Paisley, after all, is not a Generic Pop-Country Cypher. He wrote a song about a white minority being a-okay; he's into the idea of coming to a cultural cease-fire with LL Cool J. A country song about being aware of what the Confederate flag represents to different groups of people should have pushed him permanently into the NPR listener's some-of-my-best-friends-are-country-music-singers firmament.

But the one he released just turned him into a meme.

It's a bad song, but I think it's bad for one specific reason. That is, I think this song would be salvageable if Paisley and LL Cool J were singing and rapping about only themselves and not, say, every last person racially or culturally associated with them.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
William Anthony Hagey
William Anthony Hagey

I think that to write this song in a self-absorbed fashion would miss the point of what they're trying to do. I get what you're saying about the dangers of speaking for others, but it's a risk they decided to take and I think they did it well.

Joe Rollins
Joe Rollins

Because i've never known a single person who wore the rebel flag and wasn't an ACTUAL RACIST.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault