"Accidental Racist (feat. LL Cool J)" (CD Single)

Common Sense Media says

Country song about racism is misguided, offensive.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Possibly good intentions get twisted by suggesting symbols of slavery, including the Confederate flag and iron chains, be forgiven and forgotten, which is a dangerous way to approach American history.

Positive role models

Paisley tries to plead his case for "Southern pride" instead of "Southern blame," but ends up sounding ignorant; LL Cool J compares "red flags" and "doo rags," among other dubious lines.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Mentions Starbucks, gold chains.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

LL Cool J claims he wishes he could buy "Mr. White Man" a beer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this misguided, controversial attempt by country star Brad Paisley to address the complex historical issues associated with the Confederate flag and its role in the South is behind the times, cringe-worthy, and misleading in its tone and content. The song is about a proud white Southerner who likes to wear Confederate flag apparel, insisting that he isn't a racist and just wants to leave the past behind. LL Cool J offers a verse that features embarrassing stereotypes ("If you don't judge my gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains"). The only positive thing about this song is the fact that it could open the door to conversations about race relations and stereotypes.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

"ACCIDENTAL RACIST" is a song from Wheelhouse, the studio album from country music superstar Brad Paisley. The track has generated controversy and viral buzz because of its provocative lyrics that approach the "elephant in the corner of the South," meaning historical racism and Confederate pride, and because it features a verse from New York rapper/actor LL Cool J. While LL might be willing to "forget the iron chains" if "you don't judge my gold chains," there are many who would find such parallels offensive and disturbing, particularly in light of the ongoing racial tensions in the American South that this song is attempting to gloss over. Other notable moments include a shout-out to Robert E. Lee, the excuse that a Confederate flag can simply represent being a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, references to Dixieland and being a "proud rebel son," and the unforgettable anthemic chorus declaring "I'm just a white man/ Coming to you from the Southland."

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Racial harmony is a tricky subject to approach in popular music, particularly in the country genre, where a highly pro-South culture thrives. With the exception of the absurd rap interjection, the song sounds like it could fit in perfectly on any Nashville station, which is perhaps what is so troubling. Paisley seems sincere, but his approach is off-putting. LL Cool J not only embarrasses himself with what he says, but also with weak rhymes and a lack of flow.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ongoing controversy regarding the Confederate flag. What does it symbolize to different groups?

  • Why do you think Brad Paisley enlisted the help of LL Cool J on this song? Did he need the presence of a black artist to make the song less uncomfortable?

  • Why is the topic of race still such a difficult subject to address in popular music without arousing controversy?

  • Talk about stereotypes. Which ones does this song feature? Where do these stereotypes come from? Does this song promote or debunk these stereotypes?

Music details

Artists:Brad Paisley, LL Cool J
Release date:April 9, 2013
Type:Single
Label:Arista
Genre:Country
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of "Accidental Racist (feat. LL Cool J)" (CD Single) was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byHightech Redneck April 8, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

This is NOT a racist song!

If you just listened to the lyrics you would notice it's against racism and saying it's a bad thing. Brad Paisley has been fighting racism since he was a kid and one of his friends was bullied. (It is mentioned in another song of his.) Do you really think LL Cool J would be in a racist song? It's just a song about not jumping to conclusions.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byNewenglandprepster June 7, 2013
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Okay song if you want your kid to be a Racist

Sure, a rap inn a country song?
Educator and Parent of a 12, 14, and 15 year old Written byVampireLips April 25, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

pretty good for topic

it opens the conversation to better hings, nit just that it's a racist song...
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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