Brad Paisley made a song called "Accidental Racist," and it has instantly become The Worst Song Ever™. Why? Well, for starters? It is a mournful ballad about how hard it is to be a white man.
Here's how the track begins:
To the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main, I hope you understand
When I put on that t-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is I'm a Skynyrd fan
The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south
And I just walked him right in the room
Just a proud rebel son with an 'ol can of worms
Lookin' like I got a lot to learn but from my point of view
Translation: Paisley wore a Confederate Flag T-shirt and he hopes the black guy getting his coffe "understands" that it's not racist. Many consider the Confederate flag to be a symbol of the Old South, which included slavery, and decades of oppression of black people. But Paisley just likes Skynyrd! Well even the band tried to disassociate itself from the flag. Also, "proud rebel son" may not mean what you think it means, sir. The Dukes of Hazzard may have some believing that a "rebel" is just a dude who likes to buck the system and have a good time, pranking cops. But the rebels were Confederates who fought for the Confederate Army because they wanted to keep slavery. Proud rebel son, are you sure? Is that like "proud Third Reich daughter"?
Unfortunately, the song goes on.
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
Our generation didn't start this nation
We're still pickin' up the pieces, walkin' on eggshells, fightin' over yesterday
And caught between southern pride and southern blame
You guys. It is so hard to be a white man.
But wait! It gets worse.
Because LL Cool J appears on this track, and he has nothing helpful to add. "I'd love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air," he says. The word is converse. I'd love to converse. Sigh.
In all seriousness, it is valid to want express that you're proud of your family and hometown/homestate/homeland. It is valid to say that you're proud of being Southern but not proud of what the South has done. It's fine to sing sad, terrible songs about how you can't wear your Confederate T-shirt/Swastika armband/Klan hood. Just don't expect anyone to feel sorry for your misguided ass. The country is still a white-centric patriarchy in which minorities are underrepresented in government and media.
LL also raps: "If you don't judge my do-rag/I won't judge your red flag." As though those two thing are on the same level of offensive. I think my eyes closed and I momentarily died and floated away from my body when LL shouted out "RIP Robert E. Lee," but I can't be sure. As one YouTube commenter points out, "I always forget what a strain racism puts on white people."