Interpretations:Your Racist Friend

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Racism is bad! Great insight Flans! When people say the Giants are twee this is the kind of song they're thinking of. Good horns on the Deelite remix though. (Mr Tuck)

i say take this song literally.

Wow thanks incredible deduction -Ed


This is a stretch, but it suddenly occurs to me that this song may in part be taking a shot at Elvis Costello. The lyrics:

"your friend apologizes he could see it my way. / he let the contents of the bottle do the thinking / can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

along with the talk of sounding like a hypocrite, remind me of the famous incident where Elvis Costello called Ray Charles a "blind, ignorant nigger" then later apologized, saying he was only trying to get a rise out of the person he was arguing with, and blamed it on how drunk he was. Costello has always been a vocal opponent of racism, and produced the Specials self-titled debut on which there is also a song called "Racist Friend". -NCS


This song depicts a situation that nearly everyone can relate to. Getting stuck talking to your friend's friend (who happens to be a racist pig). -AJK


More of an observation than an interpretation. I always wondered why the line wasn't: "He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking, / can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only drinking"

I think it's because you expect it to be like that. There's a line in the song "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables (for lack of a better example):
"There is a room that's full of toys / There are a hundred boys and girls"

I think the "Can't shake the devil's hand" refers to a situation along the lines of:

"Man I hate all those dirty, rotten *blank*s, they're totaly ruining this whole gawddam COUNTRY!!"

"Hey! My good friend is a *Blank* and I take offense to that!"

"Calm down, I has only kidding"

"only kidding" is sort of an all purpouse, weaksauce "out" for rude comments like that.

The term "weaksauce" is, itself, "weaksauce". Please don't use it anymore, ever. Thanks.
Nice tolerance there, buddy.

Agreed. I can't believe _I'm_ saying this, but I think this song is literally what it sounds like: a guy goes with someone else to a party, meets a friend of that someone, and the friend says something nastily racist. The narrator takes umbrage, the friend tries to apologize, it's incredibly awkward. The narrator leaves the party, disappointed that his new-found friend or girlfriend has a friend who's clearly a racist and not shy about it. I think "This is where the party ends" might have the implication that not just the party, but our relationship, since you tolerate that sort of ugly behavior without protest, but otherwise, kind of straightforward.

I don't think this is some statement about social justice, I think it's about that weird situation all white liberals have been in, where someone in a social setting offers you a rather ugly opinion on another race or culture, and you object, and it becomes so awkward you have to leave. ~Christina Miller, October 2005


I know that there can be some, but the more I look into this song the less I see an interpretation other than what this song sounds like: he has a party at his house, invites friends, and one of his friends (lets call him Steve, I guess) brings another friend. He cannot stand Steve's friend, for he's bringing up some racial slurs or maybe just plain being racist, and if he tries bringing up a topic (politics?) it bores Steve and they get all racist again, you know, something like that.


I agree; this one is pretty straightforward. I think the "I know politics bore you" line is delivered to the friend when they try to play down the racist friend by pretending that "it's just politics, let's not talk politics" - I've heard that would-be deflection - and the narrator is saying, impatiently, that he doesn't care, he can't put up with the racism. - The Ridger


Maybe "interpretations" isn't the best place to present this, but I've never really understood the lyrics to this song. The chorus makes sense, but the stanzas seem backwards to me. The two lines about "it was the loveliest party" seem completely out of place with the rest of the song. There is no transition, like "but then he ruined it," or "except for," it simply leaps to talking about what an idiot the racist is. I always thought maybe this was someone other than the narrator speaking, but even that wouldn't make much sense. Does anyone know why those lines are there? - LFStokols


I think that it's about a liberal showing his true colors and blandly talks about how he hates racism by commenting on the friend's opinion which results in him being referred to as "Your Racist Friend" (Hence The Title of The Song). the "anything could be mended" line States that the friend could either change his opinion to not be racist or alter it so it could be politically correct. -- Economiclyracist 10:13, 9 January 2010 (UTC)



Most TMBG songs have a nonlinear story to them, "Dead" being one of the most notable ones. The speaker is usually still emotionally attached to the story, so what comes out is usually confusing, since the speaker is still caught up in the events.




Your Racist Friend[edit | edit source]

This song seems to tell a very straightforward story: the singer is at a party and is introduced to a friend of a friend, who proceeds to start spouting out some racist remarks. This ruins the party for the singer ("this is where the party ends") to the point that he no longer wants to stay. He sees his old friend in a different light for tolerating someone who is racist.

The other verses seem to describe various reactions of both the friend and the racist. Both of them want to apologise for offending the singer ("your friend apologises; he can see it my way"--the racist may not have thought his remarks were racist, but he's more concerned with making amends to the singer than really seeing why what he said was wrong) and blame the racist remarks on the fact that the speaker had been drinking. But the singer believes that some things can't be taken back ("can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding," meaning that whatever the circumstances, the "racist friend" totally meant what he was saying when he said it).

The singer feels "like a hypocrite" for not realising sooner that his friend allowed these sort of people into his life. "I know politics bore you" may refer to the friend's previous attitude that he thought less of a person's beliefs than of their character, as in the sort of person who says "but I don't -see- colour" when choosing their friends. Yet the friend was also "bobbing and pretending" while the racist made his remarks. The singer may say he feels like a hypocrite when he is really just disgusted with the hypocrisy of the listeners who allowed the racist to continue without criticism.




"The contents of the bottle"[edit | edit source]

That line could refer to how the racist was drunk when he made his remarks. Dagoth Ur, Mad God (talk) 05:27, 27 July 2013 (EDT)

Normally, the person would not be racist when sober. Dagoth Ur, Mad God (talk) 05:29, 27 July 2013 (EDT)



Sequel to Ana Ng?[edit | edit source]

I think this could be a sequel to Ana Ng, seeing how it follows Ana Ng in most setlists.

Basically, this song is from Ana's point of view. The narrator of Ana Ng takes her to a party. She enjoys it, but the "racist friend" of the title spoils it for her when he tells her boyfriend that he is betraying his race by going out with Ana. Ana is offended. The racist tries to apologise to Ana for his behaviour, but they leave. Dagoth Ur, Mad God (talk) 02:18, 2 October 2013 (EDT)