LL Cool J and Brad Paisley have collaborated on a ditty about the roadblocks to racial harmony called "Accidental Racist," and we have no doubt that it was done with all the best intentions — as well as with all the sophistication about matters of stereotypes and cross-cultural understanding that you'd expect from 12-year-olds about 30 years ago.
These are some highlights, courtesy of Grantland. Warning: It features Paisley as a Confederate-flag apologist and a use of the word "conversate" by LL that we're pretty sure can be filed under "Accidental butchering of the English language that doesn't do a whole lot to eliminate stereotypes."
LL Cool J:
"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" …
LL Cool J:
"Feel like a newfangled 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" …
Paisley: "Oh, Dixieland"
LL: "The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin'" …
Paisley: "I'm just a white man"
LL: "If you don't judge my do rag"
Paisley: "Comin' to you from the southland"
LL: "I won't judge your red flag" …
Paisley: "Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be / I'm proud of where I'm from"
LL: "If you don't judge my gold chains" …
Paisley: "But not everything we've done"
LL: "I'll forget the iron chains" …
Takeaway: Blackness and whiteness can be summed up by gold chains and Confederate flags, respectively. And if we could just forget about them, all would be well. Listen to it here and report back on whether you start feeling postracial.
All snark aside, though, maybe we're being too critical? Is this remedial race dialogue set to music actually just what some Americans need? We can think of a CPAC attendee or two for whom "I just want to make things right" with respect to slavery could represent progress, compared with "They were lucky to get food and shelter." Let us know what you think in the comments.
Read more at Grantland.