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It is not a quaint patriotic song of “Southern Pride.” It’s a segregationist anthem. It’s an ode to Southern racism, George Wallace, and the inalienable right of Southerners to respond to criticism by telling Canadians to get lost.
Perhaps you’re not familiar with the story of the song’s origins. It was written in response to Neil Young’s 1973 album Harvest, which featured two tracks mildly critical of segregation, racism, and lynchings in the American South: “Southern Man” and “Alabama.”
(It should be noted that Young later said that those lyrics were “accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue.” I actually disagree with Young here, and he was probably just conceding defeat after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song became more popular.)
Thoroughly offended by this pretty accurate assessment, the good ol’ boys of Lynyrd Skynyrd (who are not from Alabama but Florida, and who used and continue to use Confederate flags in their album covers, stage show and wardrobe) wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” in response.
Now, I can understand a proud Southerner being offended by the sweeping generalizations inherent in Young’s lyrics. I can understand them taking umbrage at the apparent implication that all Southerners are backward-thinking segregationists, racists, and murderers.
And I could easily understand writing a musical rebuttal with the theme of “how dare you generalize us, we’re not all racist hicks, most of us are decent people, etc.”

But that’s not what the song says.
Go ahead. Listen to the song again. Read the lyrics.

There’s not one thing in them that denies Young’s insinuations or defends Alabama or the South against the racist stereotype. It proudly embraces it — as if to say “Heck yeah, we’re segregationists, and the sky is blue, too!"
The second verse contains a staggering FIVE incredibly unsubtle references to Neil Young, concluding that “a Southern man don’t need him around, anyhow.” They dismiss the accusations not as untrue but uninteresting.
If someone calls you a racist, and your only reply is “yeah, but who cares what you think?” I have some bad news for you:
To compound matters, several lines praise Alabama’s then-governor, perpetual segregationist and infamous doorway-blocker George Wallace. Some band members have feebly tried to distance themselves from their support of Wallace, or claim that the song is not about segregation.
They point to the backing vocalists’ cries of “boo, boo, boo” after the first mention of the Governor as proof that they are not endorsing him or his policies.

However, guitarist Ed King, a co-writer of the song, denies this, writing on his blog in 2009:
I believe King’s words to be more accurate than his bandmates’ because they actually fit the lyrics (and the band’s whole aesthetic).

To believe that the song is actually critical of Wallace would mean that the other members agree more with Young’s lyrics than their own.
To those of you who have read this far, I urge you to stop listening to this trashy ode to white supremacy. Stop including it in playlists of patriotic songs and good-time jams. Like all other monuments to the Confederacy, it should be torn down and forgotten.
And I know some will say I’m just being “politically correct” or that I'm completely wrong in my interpretation.

That’s what people said to you when you said we should take down monuments to Confederacy, racism, Columbus, etc.

Just because YOU like it doesn't mean it's ok.
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