Ebony, Ivory, Hokey Harmony: Another Take on “Accidental Racist”

24FPS CRITIQUE

This whole “Accidental Racist” controversy didn’t seem real to me until I listened to the song. I mean, it’s about some Confederate flag shirt-wearing Caucasian-American Southerner who just cannotfathom why an African-American barista is fuming at his choice of wardrobe! And it’s not supposed to be funny. How can anyone make a song so unaware of its unfortunate racial implications? But the song was actually a thing. Bad news: it’s stupid. Good news: it’s getting us to talk about race. Better news: I haven’t hurt anyone who genuinely liked it. In all seriousness, we should give a hand to Brad Paisley and LL Cool J for their collaboration. As asinine as these lyrics are, let’s not pretend that this song exists in its own self-created, whacked-out universe. Instead, it’s a grotesque, fun-house mirror reflection of the larger American approach to racial tension in our “post-racial” society (which definitely isn’t…

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