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USA Today Declares ‘Ebony and Ivory’ Offensive, Insufficiently Woke

The writers call the Paul McCarney and Stevie Wonder song 'naïve' compared to the 'woke factions of today's cultural discourse'

'Ebony and Ivory' single cover / Wikimedia Commons
• April 13, 2018 10:37 am

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In a Thursday hot take, USA Today listed off twenty classic songs, including anti-racism and charitable songs, and deemed them "politically incorrect."

"There's nothing like hearing a song come on the radio or flicker across a Spotify playlist that you haven't encountered in a while, and realizing, "Was this song always this offensive?" the authors write. "The answer: Yes, it probably was."

The reason why some of the songs might be considered offensive are pretty straightforward, such as Nirvana's "Rape Me." But even well-meaning songs were declared offensive, such as Live Aid's "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" USA Today acknowledges the song was written to raise money for the 1980's Ethiopian famine, but complains the group "did it with a song that declares the entire continent of Africa is bereft of water, trees or joy."

Even "Ebony and Ivory," the 1982 anti-racism collaboration recorded by Paul McCarney and Stevie Wonder, was declared politically incorrect for not being "woke" enough.

"McCartney and Wonder meant well with their hyper-literal interpretation of race relations," USA Today acknowledges. "But their message of ‘people are the same, there’s good and bad in everyone, so let’s just get along' would be interpreted as hilariously naïve by the more woke factions of today's cultural discourse."

Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" is likewise declared problematic, even though the song about a feminine-looking man was written by an openly gay songwriter. "[I]ts questionable use in the media — by Fox News when reporting on Chelsea Manning, for instance — makes us think that it's not the homage to the LGBTQ community that he intended," USA Today writes.