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Charlie Daniels Will Not Be On the Vote For Change Tour

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Charlie Daniels has been among the more vocal pro-war musicians since 9/11:

    Why you bunch of pitiful, hypocritical, idiotic, spoiled mugwumps. Get your head out of the sand and smell the Trade Towers burning. Do you think that a trip to Iraq by Sean Penn did anything but encourage a wanton murderer to think that the people of the U.S.A. didn’t have the nerve or the guts to fight him?

    Barbra Streisand’s fanatical and hateful rantings about George Bush makes about as much sense as Michael Jackson hanging a baby over a railing.

    You people need to get out of Hollywood once in a while and get out into the real world. You’d be surprised at the hostility you would find out here.

This was from March of last year.

Now Daniels is under fire from Arab-Americans, who say his song “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag” is derogatory:

    Daniels, 67, is scheduled to perform Saturday in Dearborn, the center of southeastern Michigan’s 300,000-member Arab-American community.

    After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Daniels wrote and recorded the song, which became a country hit.

    It begins:

    “This ain’t no rag, it’s a flag and we don’t wear it on our heads. It’s a symbol of the land where the good guys live. Are you listening to what I said?”

    On Saturday, the Charlie Daniels Band will perform at the city-sponsored Homecoming Festival.

    “Someone who is trying to get popular through bigotry, bias and hatred should not be welcome, especially in a city like Dearborn with its rich diversity,” Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told the Detroit Free Press.

    City spokeswoman Mary Laundroche said no formal complaints have been received about the performance and the show will go on.

    “Ragheads” is a slur used against Arabs, Muslims and others who wear turbans or cover their heads.

    Daniels says the song is not directed at Arabs and Muslims in general, just at turbaned terrorists like Osama bin Laden

    “It’s not anti-Arab or anti-anything,” he said Wednesday by phone from Tennessee, where he lives. “The only thing it’s ‘anti’ is the people who bombed us on 9/11. I have people who say you’re putting down people who wear turbans. I’m not.” [AP]

Since “raghead” isn’t used in the song, the offense is indirect, and other lyrics in the song, including references to “You can crawl back in your hole/Like a dirty little mole,” make it clear that it is directed against bin Laden and not the general turbaned populace – not that it should win any sensitivity awards or anything, either. Overt patriotism bordering on jingoism isn’t a liability in country music, however.

Daniels also has a book entitled Ain’t No Rag.

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About Eric Olsen

  • clash77

    Well whaddaya know? I leave for a few days and look what happens. Eric, although I was born and raised (I hesitate to use the term “grew up”) in Dearborn, MI, I take no responsibility for what goes on there. Last time I checked, though, the First Amendment was still in effect.

  • Eric Olsen

    I can see both sides of this: it’s a city-sponsored event and Daniels isn’t exactly sympathetic to the concerns of Arab-Americans, who are in force in the area. But it’s also just a song and clearly directed at terrorists. I guess everyone involved is practicing some free speech.

  • Distorted Angel

    Eric, I went back and read your original Charlie Daniels post, the one that had the full text of his open letter. Am I correct in interpreting Daniels’ statements to mean that he thinks Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks? Because that’s what it sounds like he’s saying. Where could he have gotten that idea?

  • Dude

    I’m sorry to say but sounds like Charles Daniels is the worst kind of racist — he is a racist and yet denies it. Come on, Chuck, have some balls and say it, you’re anti-Arab. You don’t like them and frankly I don’t think any Arab — or anyone that I know of, for that matter — like you.

  • Eric Olsen

    although it is all jumbled up, I think he is talking about the war on terror in general

  • Dude

    Really? The war on terror? I don’t mind someone writing about a specific terrorist or terrorist group, but what does wearing the flag/rag on your head have to do with the war on terror?

  • http://www.andrewiandodge.com Andrew Ian Dodge

    Dude I like Charlie Daniels. Always have and probably always will…

    If you don’t like what he has to say there are probably other musicians you do agree with. Its called freedom of speech. Just like you have the freedom to label whomever you disagree with a racist.

  • Dude

    Um, I know all about freedom of speech. Ol’ Chucky can say whatever he wants to say (or sing, in this matter), and Imad Hamad of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has the right to criticize his song.
    And you’re right, I have the right to call “Chuck D.’ (not the original Chuck D) a racist if I feel like it.

  • mike

    This is a big loss for the Vote For Change community. I would have thought for sure that Jack’s brother was a solid man of the left. Didn’t he get stopped and almost beat up by some rednecks on his way to L.A. a few decades back? You’d think that would have learned him.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    Distored Angel said, “Am I correct in interpreting Daniels’ statements to mean that he thinks Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks? Because that’s what it sounds like he’s saying. Where could he have gotten that idea?”

    If he is saying it, I don’t know where he got the idea, but the implication is that it was from the Bush administration. However, no one in the Bush administration ever said that Hussein was involved in 9/11.

  • Eric Olsen

    yes mike, sounds a bit like the old Stockholm Syndrome for Charlie

  • Jo~

    Dude says: “sounds like Charles Daniels is the worst kind of racist — he is a racist and yet denies it”. And, “I have the right to call “Chuck D.’ (not the original Chuck D) a racist if I feel like it”.

    I feel much the same way Charlie Daniels does. I’m sick of idiots trying to impose their will and belief system on others then labeling them rascist, homophobe or bigot just because everyone doesn’t think and act the way you feel that they should. I feel that I have the right to call homosexuals faggots since it is a words in the dictionary not to mention a valid word used to reference a “gay house-boy” or servant. Faggot is a real term origianlly used to describe gays in that manner not a derogatory manner.

    I also think that the “Vote for change tour” is a weak draw if you ask me. Bon Jovi and the Dixie Chicks are the only life blood for this group of musicians. Dave Matthews could sing anything and it would all sound the same, not to mention that his hireline is moving at about an inch a day toward the back of his neck.

    Toby Keith and Charlie Daniels could easily assemble a much better group than that bunch of losers.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I’m sick of idiots…labeling [others] rascist, homophobe or bigot

    I feel that I have the right to call homosexuals faggots

    So what you’re saying is that you want to call somebody a name, but you don’t like it when others call you a name.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    BCB, that’s par for the course these days. Since he’s making general allegations though, he does have the right. sigh.

  • Dude

    I don’t care if you use the word faggot, Jo, but I think the problem is why would you use that word in the first place? Why would anyone use any racist, sexist or homophobic slur anyway, unless deep down inside you really hate those of other races, sexual preferences and/or gender? And then you have to think, if you hate those who are different than you, then maybe that’s not their problem, but yours.
    And why is it that Chuck baby can sing an anti-Arab song on the airwaves, but doesn’t like it when he’s called a racist?
    And let’s face it, the song is meant to attack Arabs or at least people who doesn’t dress like him (since when is Charlie Daniels such an expert on fashion). I mean, don’t shit in my mouth and call it ice cream, k?
    As for Tony Keith, et al, come on… that’s just some commercial pop country crap that says nothing but how many girls your can screw and Michelob Light you can down.
    Steve Earle, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Steve Young, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt (peace be upon him), etc. Now that’s all you need to know about country music.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    And people do throw the “racist” term around quite loosely these days. I’d say Charlie qualifies as a biggot, but his comments weren’t exactly racist. Hitler was a racist. Charlie comes off sounding more like Archie Bunker.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    there was a time, when racism only refered to one race oppressing another. Bigotry was having preconceived notions of the other. Under such definitions, which I still hold to because they are more precise and useful. Blacks can’t really be racist, at least towards whites, because they simply don’t hold the power in todays society to oppress anyone. Because of this, white prejudice is indeed more dangerous than black prejudice. Not more wrong, maybe, but more dangerous.

  • Dude

    Sorry to say, but I know I would consider Archie Bunker a racist. Of course, I would, if he were a real person.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    This comment seems to be an interesting display of double or triple standards.

    “I have the right to call “Chuck D.’ (not the original Chuck D) a racist if I feel like it.”

    By any reasonable standard, Chuck D of Public Enemy has been FAR more racially egregious than Charlie Daniels. Now, Charlie might be accused of some crime of “insensitivity” – which is a way of calling someone a racist or homophobe or whatever without having to back it up. Or you can just SAY that he hates Arabs with no good reason.

    Chuck D, on the other hand, absolutely built his career on racial demagoguery. With extreme disrespect, he said MF Elvis for no reason other than that he was white.

    Or you can focus instead on Charlie Daniel’s one song with a perhaps ill considered lyrical tag about “rags” and make him out to be the bad guy.

    Now, I love Miss Justene, but that stuff about how black people CAN’T really be racists is utterly bogus. You can’t be a racist unless you can do something about it? When was that convenient double standard thrown in? Did we have a vote on that?

    Also, that stuff about not having any power to inflict their bad attitudes in simply wrong. Blacks as a group have certainly had less political power historically than whites, and they’ve certainly borne the brunt of a lot of nonsense. Nonetheless, individual blacks can and sometimes do beat some white boy because he’s white. That’s racism by any reasonable definition.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    Ah, Al, you’re discovered my secret leftist streak. Black boy beating white boy because he’s white is racism only if racism is synonymous with prejudice and bigotry. I maintain that it is a different word, meaning something different, that has in the last 20 years been used synonymously. I think we lose something when we make them synonymous. We run the risk of equating isolated racial violence with something like apartheid. Both are bad but they are not the same.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Dude I like Charlie Daniels. Always have and probably always will…

    If you don’t like what he has to say there are probably other musicians you do agree with. Its called freedom of speech. Just like you have the freedom to label whomever you disagree with a racist.

    You beat me to it, and said it better than I could have. Thanks. :)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Fun with words!

    Racist: The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

    Bigot: One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    Charlie Daniels is pretty clearly a bigot. But then, according to this definition (both of my definitions are from dictionary.com) most people are…

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