I think there are a few things you should know about me before you read my thoughts on the song. Its simply full disclosure so you know where Im coming from.
First, I really like both the artists as people.
- I like Brad Paisley. He’s a really nice guy. Spent time at his house. Met his wife. Hung out. have talked and texted a bit even in the last week.
- I like LL Cool J. Have met him many times. Over 5. Even danced on stage with him once. It was awesome. And every time I come away from seeing/meeting him, I think, “He is a genuinely good dude”.
however, liking them as people, wouldnt keep me from disagreeing with a message of a song. from either of them, or both.
- I grew up in a town that wasnt exactly “white america”. Today, yes TODAY, my hometown is still separated by railroad tracks that divide where each race lives. Growing up, there was the “white quarters” and there was the “black quarters”. Its 2013, and there is still the “white quarters” and still the “black quarters. Its so crazy to me that this still exists today. T-O-D-A-Y.
- when people ask how I grew up, I usually tell them “half hood, half trailer park”. I was a food stamp kid. Welfare kid. the whole thing. All of us were, white and black. I was into country music, alternative music, hip hop just like all the kids were in my hood.
But I really wanted to write about this song specifically, because I saw a lot of people making quick decisions without trying to understand it. and maybe their understanding was different than mine (a white guy who grew up in the south and in a black neighborhood). and thats perfectly fine. We dont have to agree.
To me, its a song about a guy from the South who may not know that the small things he is doing may be considered racist or uncomfortable to others. The song also address that he’s proud of where he came from, but he isnt proud of everything that came from there. and I think thats a fair and honest statement.
On a slightly different note, LL raps about being judged by what he is wearing. Which happens all day everyday, unfairly.
I can tell you from personal experience the following in my life has been mostly true…
A black guy sees a white guy in a cowboy hat, he thinks “he’s probably a racist”
A white guy sees a black guy in chains or a rag, he thinks “he probably hates white people”
and thats still happening today. but its happening less, and less, and less.
and agree or disagree with the song as a whole, its another step to addressing an issue and taking strides towards eliminating it. its bringing forth dialogue.
A song wont rid the world of hate. or even misunderstanding..(If it could John Lennon would have knocked that out years ago) but a song can get people talking about both.
and thats why I like the song. and believe in the message. A message that there is a still a major part of the country that is full of racism. But there is also a part that is “accidentally racist”. Meaning, they dont want to be, But to others it may come off that way, wrongly. even by the clothing they wear. and the best way to remedy this is to communicate!
Step 1 of getting past a problem, is admitting there is a problem, and there is a problem culturally with communication. Always has been.
and the song didnt shy away from that.
note: I dont wear confederate flags. But my step dad does. and there isnt a racist bone in his body. Mostly he also just likes Skynard and he has the same exact shirts from the 70s.
this is simply my perspective. from my experiences. feel free to disagree. We all come from different places, all which form us in different ways
and this is how I was formed.
mostly odd and skinny with a physically large head