Paul McCartney admitted to being unintentionally racist and using words he didn’t realize at the time could be offensive to certain groups when he was younger.
“When I was a kid, you were racist without knowing it,” the Beatles star said in an interview with the Mail Online. “”It was just the normal thing to use certain words you wouldn’t use now.”
McCartney said growing up in Liverpool it didn’t occur to him not to use “certain words,” but that growing up he eventually realized the offense some words could cause. In 1942, when McCartney was born, Britain was almost completely white apart from some small groups in port cities such as London, Bristol and Liverpool. Immigration from the West Indies, India and Pakistan to Britain began in the late 1940s.
“Along the way we suddenly realised how it would make the people you were talking about feel. I don’t think until then we’d ever even thought about other people,” McCartney told the Mail Online. It was like a joke between ourselves. But then someone points out, ‘Well, that’s denigrating.'”
McCartney has partnered with Kanye West on a number of songs, including All Day which features gratuitous use of the n-word. When questioned about Kanye’s use of that word, McCartney said West has that right.
“Kanye’s an artist. He can say what he wants. It’s the freedom of speech, literally,” he said.