I posted a critical comment on Nick Rynerson’s post about the new and controversial Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song “Accidental Racist” on the Christ and Pop Culture blog at Patheos and it apparently got yanked for moderation. I’m not happy about that at all, so I’m re-posting it here, verbatim:
What a ridiculous hit piece. You should seriously be ashamed of yourself, not just as a Christian but as a decent person.
Yes, the song is clumsy. No, musically, it’s not the best song ever. But you know what? The sentiment comes from a genuine place. The intentions were good.
Consider Brad Paisley’s audience and ask yourself which is better, clumsy dialogue or no dialogue? Do you realize that by jumping on the bandwagon and blasting this song, you are contributing to an environment where racial dialogue is basically impossible? The reactions to this song across the internet send a clear message: “Talking about race is an impossible minefield. Don’t bother trying, because you’re going to do it wrong and people will turn on you like a pack of rabid dogs.” If you are going to mock, ridicule or castigate everyone who makes a good-faith attempt at talking about race because they don’t meet some ill-defined standard for cultural studies, you are essentially silencing the conversation. Is that really what you want?
And yes, we know you sneer at and look down on mainstream country. To be honest, I strongly suspect that’s what’s actually the big motivator for this blog post, as opposed to a real honest to God bone to pick about race in America.
Obviously the song is not perfect. Obviously even the sentiment has flaws: you don’t have to be cloistered in an Ivory Tower to realize race in America is more complicated than Paisley makes it out to be. Fine. The song is a first step and an honest one. How does responding to it with nastiness and sarcasm help things? How does jumping on the derision bandwagon correct the course? How does using sarcasm and scorn to chill good-faith efforts–even boneheaded ones–to talk about race improve race relations and foster real, productive dialogue?
And to Christians I ask, is Rynerson’s pieced a grace-filled respose? Is it filled with love? Rynerson thinks humility is a part of the solution? He’s sure not displaying any with this post.
I maintain that a significant part of the motivation–not just on Rynerson’s part, but all over the internet and news media–for the nastiness and scorn heaped on this song is really just nastiness and scorn for mainstream country. The level of vitriol would be nowhere this bad if Paisley were not a Nashville musician.