Paisley performed the song as a dialogue with rapper LL Cool J, now a star on the CBS drama "NCIS: LA." He says he wrote the song when he felt he had to defend wearing a T-shirt celebrating the country band Alabama, a shirt with the Confederate flag on it. In the song, he tries to suggest to a black man he met that the flag just says he's a fan of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Paisley sings, "I'm just a white man comin' to you from the southland / Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be. I'm proud of where I'm from but not everything we've done / And it ain't like you and me can re-write history." LL Cool J wrote his half of the song, and replies in part: "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."
Cheesy? Sure. But isn't this the kind of Kumbaya sentiment liberal elites embrace in their quest for racial harmony? Yes, that's what they say. But when it's what you offer, they react with their true colors.
It was quickly trashed as racially clueless. NPR's new race and culture blogger Gene Demby, fresh from The Huffington Post, quoted comedian Patton Oswalt's tweet: "Can't wait for Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's next single 'Whoopsy Daisy, Holocaust, My Bad.'"
Oswalt must have been mocking the clunkiest line in the song, when LL Cool J alludes to slavery by saying, "If you don't judge my gold chains / I'll forget the iron chains." NPR's Demby complained, "A lot of people felt as if it was kind of shearing off kind of the rough edges of our history."
Comedian and Current TV host John Fugelsang tweeted Paisley should have "gone with original title 'Well-Intentioned But Totally Ignorant Institutionalized Racist.'"
If one wants to see both institutionalized racism and an embarrassing attempt at whites trying to pander on race, I'd rather recommend "The Jimmy Fallon Show" on NBC.
Dennis Coles, better known by his rap persona "Ghostface Killah," was introduced with great enthusiasm by Fallon, before performing his song "I Declare War" from the new album "Twelve Reasons to Die." He was joined on the microphone by "Masta Killa" and "Killah Priest." Fallon even announced there was a "Twelve Reasons to Die" comic book soon available for sale -- because it's never too early to sell the drug pusher/gangster lifestyle to children. That's their Kumbaya.