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think he had good intentions. I think he genuinely wanted to explore a topic, Irwin, who is black, said in an interview. However, don believe he doesn know what the Confederate flag symbolizes and what it means. There nothing accidental about that. also just a general entitlement that some white people might have, the whole white privilege thing, being totally unaware of black culture in a real sense, she added.

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were people who said things (that) I know if they actually knew what it meant, they would be horrified, said Laird, who is white.

Much of the friction around the song comes from people who don understand this history, Weisbard said in an interview: as segregated culturally as we often are socially. people are proud of being from the New York City or other American places, Weisbard said. But South has been branded a problem for the country as a whole at least since the Civil War. every generation, there a new way in which white Southerners have marginalized themselves, he said, the rest of America has to think about what that means. gave America something to think about with the chorus of the song: just a white man comin to you from the Southland / Tryin to understand what it like not to be / I proud of where I from but not everything we done / And it ain like you and me can re write history. the end of the chorus he sings, between Southern pride and Southern blame. a grey area for Chris Newman, 25, a white West Virginia University graduate student who grew up in Lexington, Ky. He says Southern pride often is a fine line between being offensive and supporting historical heritage. driving your truck through the mud, floating down a river or drinking bourbon in Kentucky are great ways to embrace Southern culture, he says. I don run around wearing Confederate T shirts. I have Lynyrd Skynyrd T shirts, but they don have stars and bars on them. a deliberate choice: I respect somebody, I going to make sure I don offend them, Newman said.

Newman doesn believe racism exists.

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So after country music star Brad Paisley released his new song Racist this week, what happened next was hardly surprising: days of widespread criticism about his attempt to detail the challenges facing a man from the Southland and his recruitment of LL Cool J to rap a black perspective.

The song black culture was provided by LL Cool J, whose verses were widely panned as shallow. Coates pointed out that while rap is full of artists who are passionate about racial issues, LL is not one of them.

FILE Brad Paisley performs during The Inaugural Ball at the Washignton convention center during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Southern white Nike Tech Fleece Windrunner Men's Hoodie

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Accidental Racist story

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Back in high school, Laird saw a Hank Williams Jr. shirt with a Confederate flag on it and thought, looks cool. be completely honest, and it probably just ignorance, but growing up I never really thought a lot about that flag and what it meant, Laird said.

That scene actually happened Nike Sweatshirt Pocket On Sleeve to Paisley in real life, said Charlie Cook, programming director for West Nike Long Sleeve Fleece Hoodie

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Southern white men don usually drive racial dialogue. For as long as race has riven America, they have been depicted more often as the problem than the solution.

only real reason to call up LL is that he is black and thus must have something insightful to say about the Confederate Flag, wrote Coates, who is black. assumption that there is no real difference among black people is exactly what racism is. LL, he said, is like that Paisley must know something about barbecue because he Southern. Southern comes with its own set of assumptions and stereotypes, some of them negative ones created by the low points of the region history. Southern pride is largely a defensive reaction to such stigmas, said Eric Weisbard, a music critic and American Studies professor at the University of Alabama.

sat down and thought about it from another person perspective and said, I offended you, it was accidental, Cook said. think it really from his heart. doesn matter, say many of the critical voices. They say it the result that counts a song that, to them, turns some of the most stinging flashpoints of American racial history into aw shucks anecdotes. They are receiving a message very different from the one Paisley intended: the country music staple of trying to figure out one experiences through song.

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Virginia Radio Corp. and a member of the Country Music Association board of directors, who heard Paisley discuss the song with a group of industry executives.

Paisley begins the song with an anecdote about a black man taking offence to his Confederate flag T shirt. only thing I meant to say is I a Skynyrd fan, Paisley sings, referring to the pioneering Southern rock group.

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LL Cool J rapping from a black perspective. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The song sparked a predictable blaze this week on TV, talk radio and the Internet. USA Today asked if it was an fail. At The Atlantic, Ta Nehisi Coates titled his analysis, Racist Is Actually Just Racist. More than a few ridiculed it as worst song ever. elements of the outcry, however, raise less predictable questions: Where does naivet turn into ignorance, and then into racism? What is the basis of modern Southern pride? And, possibly most important, should we grade racial attitudes on a curve?

men don usually drive racial dialogue. For as long as race has riven America, they have been depicted more often as the problem than the solution. So the country music star must have been unsurprised at the days of widespread criticism of his new song "Accidental Racist," which details the challenges facing a "white man from the southland" and then features Nike Waterproof Jackets

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