NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Representatives of country star Brad Paisley this week said the singer was “shocked and appalled” after learning that the Confederate flag, a symbol he had viewed with pride and affection, was in fact the flying banner of a treasonous group of rebels who sought to divide the United States of America.
“Mr. Paisley had tried to re-appropriate the Confederate Flag as an emblem of Southern identity and strip it of antiquated prejudices,” reads a statement from Arista Nashville records. “However, even laying aside any attachments to racism – and we don’t like how that looks written down – Mr. Paisley was apparently unaware that the ‘Stars and Bars’ was in point of fact seditious in its very conception and served as the standard behind which armed enemies of the United States attacked and murdered their fellow citizens on the battlefield. Wounds can heal, but not if you never change the bandage.”
The statement adds: “Shit.”
In “Accidental Racist,” his new duet with LL Cool J, Paisley correctly sings that he’s “looking like [he] got a lot to learn.” It appears this includes the fact that America was divided by a Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Paisley apparently believed at the time of the song’s writing that, 150 years after the abolition of slavery, the common flag of the united South can be cleaved from its racist connotation, though he did not count on the fact that it was created specifically and solely to separate the Confederate states from the U.S. Constitution and Washington D.C.’s authority.
“I hope you understand,” the ignorant song goes, “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.”
“Accidental Racist” goes on to describe Paisley as “a proud rebel son with an ole’ can of worms,” and implies the white singer is himself somehow the aggrieved party. When finally reached for personal comment, Paisley sounded contrite.
“What have I done?” he asked, his voice breaking. “What have I done?! There actually was a rebellion, did you know that? Here this flag is literally the most anti-American symbol in history and I’m acting like black people should understand how much I like Southern rock bands,” added Paisley. “There have to better things about Dixie than the fact that we fought to the death to defend slavery, right? At least I’m just one guy with that flag. It’s not like anyone would try to do anything truly stupid with it, like put it on a government building.”