Not What We Meant by Racial Harmony

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's moronic "Accidental Racist" song is a step in the wrong direction.

(Continued from Page 1)

Analyzing the lyrics, which attempt to explain everything that's happened in American since Reconstruction with allusions to do-rags and Confederate flags, is a job for a very patient seventh-grade remedial-English teacher. Suffice it to say that lines like LL's "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" are accidentally ridiculous.

The road to racial reconciliation isn't paved with nursery rhymes. And despite their supposed best efforts, Paisley and LL Cool J are hardly the Simon and Garfunkel of the "Can't we all just get along" sentiment.

But perhaps "Accidental Racist" has some rudimentary value. The song might prove -- aside from the fact that "conversate" is still not a word -- that there is a market for less-than-mediocre recognition of what's right in front of our faces. Instead of wasting studio time trying to figure out what rhymes with "postracial," Paisley & Co. at least tried to give voice -- admittedly a tone-deaf one -- to the often hush-hush subject of race.

Yes, "the relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin,' " as LL so profoundly interjects while Paisley intones, "Oh, Dixieland." But are these the two to do it? No. And does the image of Paisley's fan base belting out, "I'm just a whiiiiiite man" at his sold-out concerts scare me just a little? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Still, however off-base and unintentionally hilarious "Accidental Racist" is, the song says something about the comfort level of guys with the guts to actually sing it anywhere -- save the shower. 

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter. 

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.