How racist is Brad Paisley's 'Accidental Racist'?

LL Cool J, left, and Brad Paisley.

Earlier this week, country superstar Brad Paisley released his song "Accidental Racist," which features a verse from this year's Grammy host and former rapper extraordinaire LL Cool J.

The song, in which Paisley croons about being judged for wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it, was met with much (well-deserved) criticism. Paisley issued a lengthy response indicating that he thought a discussion of race was something that this country strongly needs.

"At this point, after all these albums and all these hits, I have no interest in phoning it in, and I think that [the song] comes from an honest place in both cases, and that's why it's on there and why I'm so proud of it. This isn't a stunt. This isn't something that I just came up with just to be sort of shocking or anything like that. I knew it would be, but I'm sort of doing it in spite of that, really."

Today, The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates examines just how accidentally racist "Accidental Racist" is and highlights where Paisley went wrong. It's an insightful analysis of the awful song's decidedly lazy message.

It is no different than the only black kid in class being asked to explain "race" to white people, or asking the same question of the sole black dude in your office. The entire fight is to get white people to respect the fact that Mos Def holding a microphone is not LL Cool J holding a microphone, that Trayvon Martin is not De'Marquise Elkins, that wearing a hoodie and being black does not make you the same as every other person wearing a hoodie and being black. [The Atlantic]