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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

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

They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears
We're still siftin' through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years
I try to put myself in your shoes and that's a good place to begin
But it ain't like I can walk a mile in someone else's skin

'Cause I'm a white man livin' in the southland
Just like you I'm more than what you see
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
And we're still paying for the mistakes
That a bunch of folks made long before we came
And caught between southern pride and southern blame

Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you're livin' in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin' doesn't mean I'm up to no good
You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would
Now my chains are gold but I'm still misunderstood
I wasn't there when Sherman's March turned the south into firewood
I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could
Feel like a new fangled Django, dodgin' invisible white hoods
So when I see that white cowboy hat, I'm thinkin' it's not all good
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
But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn't here

I'm just a white man
(If you don't judge my do-rag)
Comin' to you from the southland
(I won't judge your red flag)
Tryin' to understand what it's like not to be
I'm proud of where I'm from
(If you don't judge my gold chains)
But not everything we've done
(I'll forget the iron chains)
It ain't like you and me can re-write history
(Can't re-write history baby)

Oh, Dixieland
(The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin')
I hope you understand what this is all about
(Quite frankly I'm a black Yankee but I've been thinkin' about this lately)
I'm a son of the new south
(The past is the past, you feel me)
And I just want to make things right
(Let bygones be bygones)
Where all that's left is southern pride
(Rip Robert E. Lee but I've gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean)
It's real, it's real
It's truth



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/b/brad_paisley/accidental_racist.html

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  • m
    +88
    Matt BryantApr 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm
    I understand what Paisley is trying to say. He wants to mend fences without having to change the core of who he is, and also while expecting that those on the other side should not have to change themselves either. And he's really making this discussion a microcosm of "Northern vs. Southern" attitudes, saying that maybe there's still some room for reconciliation.
    It's a good thought, but Paisley is being naive to suggest that the confederate flag shouldn't mean anything, and that it should be "all good." I've always wondered why some Southerners feel like they need their own flag, and not just any flag, but the flag that represents owning people to the descendants of all the people who were ever "owned" in America's past. Isn't the american flag good enough? Doesn't the Stars and Stripes also represent freedom, and independence, and perseverance, and equality, and intensity, and patriotism, and all of those qualities that those Southerners feel are embodied by the Stars and Bars? Stars and Stripes aren't good enough, so they have to wave a flag in everyone's face that is as divisive as any one symbol in our entire nation's history? The South has to be "special" enough to get their own "Southern Flag." Someone please tell me what the Confederate Flag represents that is different from what the american flag represents.
    And that is just one reason why everyone thinks the South is still fighting the civil war.
  • p
    +29
    Pete SheppardApr 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm
    Read the lyrics. I like them. They represent the change in thinking that has taken place and is ongoing. People forget that it really takes time for an entire generation of people to change on the inside. Laws and mandates are the outside. A country singer and a rapper acknowledging and discussing racial attitudes? How can that be bad? Obama talks race and its 'historic'. These guys do it and it's wrong? I say it's a good song and it's good people are talking, not doing drive-bys or lynchings.
  • h
    +10
    Hannah BartonApr 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm
    So many badly made points here. But instead of getting into a debate on history, I'm just going to go ahead and point out that your 70% statement is astoundingly incorrect. I don't know if it's your knowledge on African geography or what, but your lack of research on something so easy to look up makes you seem a lot less intelligent than you'd like people to think and makes the rest of your statement much less credible (if the addition of your last paragraph isn't already enough).
  • c
    +8
    Christopher WalkerApr 10, 2013 at 3:55 am
    Noel Bailey: It's nice that you want to think like this. But to talk about "sons of THE new south,". To promote "rebels," both of these suggest a connection the slave-south and not country-south. It may be that people want to be country-south. But they have not chosen the words that indicate a change from slavery-south. Valuing 'country' roots is different from valuing 'the south. '
    Being from a southern state is different than flying the Confederate flag. Being from the south does not make anyone a racist. Pretending that the Confederate flag holds no racial tones is harder to view as 'not racist. '
    And when other people shout "the south will rise again," technically that is talk against America. Some might argue it's treason. Suggesting the overthrow of the United States. Not that you or I would ever do those things ;)
  • d
    +7
    Daniel BendureApr 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm
    Some of you do realize that the Klan also has a history of using the bible during their meetings right? So by using the Klan excuse to put down the flag, you must also condemn the bible as well. If your an atheist, I guess that would be your favorite past time, but for me I am a proud Christian southern man with ancestors who fought under the confederate flag. If you're not from the south or don't have confederate roots, it's okay if you don't understand because you are supposed to be ignorant of it. Someone like me has a flag because I am proud of my ancestors for standing up to what they felt was an oppressive government, the exact same thing every American forefather did against the British. I am proud my ancestors had the guts to rise up knowing there was a chance they may not come back, which one didn't. I fly my flag because of this pride, not because I feel my race is better than another. I often look at people who discredit and call it racist as being jealous that their ancestors never did anything great or anything they can be proud of them for. Its a sign of respect our confederate dead. Do you think the confederate poor that fought in the war owned slaves and plantations? If you do, I have some beach front property in Tennessee that I can sell you.

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