Did Brad Paisley Become ‘An Accidental Racist’?

Country music star Brad Paisley may have become an example of his own song “Accidental Racist” while hosting the Country Music Awards show.

During the show, Paisley announced to viewers and audience that they would not be seeing the new ABC comedy Black-ish that evening. Instead, they would be watching “white-ish.”

“Everybody, there’s usually a show on Wednesdays, a new show that I’ve fallen in love with, it is so funny. And so if any of you tuned into ABC tonight expecting to see the new show ‘black-ish’… yeah, this ain’t it. In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying ‘white-ish.”

It was obviously intended to be an overt dig at the fact that country music stars, as well as their fan base, are mostly white. Many in the social media universe, however, took to Twitter to let Brad Paisley know that they found the joke to be racist.

One user tweeted, “omg @BradPaisley Brad Paisley just said the most racist comment on the #CMAawards. I didn’t like him before, but now I can’t stand him!”

Another tweeted, “Rule #1: if you have to ask someone if the joke seemed racist, it probably was racist. #BradPaisley”

However, writer Emily Yahr for the Washington Post maintains that the joke was not racist… but that it was really ill-advised.

Brad Paisley’s joke, she maintains, was firstly a promotion for ABC’s new comedy show. And secondly, it was a self-deprecating comment on nothing more than country music’s predominately white culture.

“Everyone in the room knew this to be true. It was a very pointedly self-aware, self-deprecating comment about Paisley’s own genre. It was not mocking anything except the country music industry’s own issues.”

The underlying issue has much more to do with Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist” and the overwhelming criticism it invoked. It was recorded with legendary rap artist LL Cool J, but some verses were considered questionable at best, racist at worst.

“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)”

As Yahr writes, “That public reaction should have been a warning sign that people would take Wednesday’s joke the wrong way, even if Paisley thinks it’s important for country music fans to consider.”

What do you think? Was Brad Paisley’s joke at the CMA show racist, or just ill-advised, considering the public’s reaction to his song “Accidental Racist”?

(And for a less controversial view of the Country Music Awards, check out Carrie Underwood’s adorable baby bump, which debuted at the show.)

[Image via Mashable]