Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney used racist language without realising

Sir Paul McCartney admits he was "racist" when he was younger.

The Beatles legend didn't realise the language he used with his friends was offensive and upsetting to people of different ethnicities.

He said: "When I was a kid, you were racist without knowing it. It was just the normal thing to use certain words that you wouldn't use now. 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. It was like a joke between ourselves.

"But then someone points out, 'Well, that's denigrating...' you know, in my case, black people. And then the penny drops, and I think that's what happened for a lot of people. Certainly a lot of people in my generation used to use words you wouldn't use now."

The 73-year-old musician features on Kanye West's track 'All Day', which features over 40 uses of the 'N-word' but Paul insists the song isn't offensive as it takes away the "sting" of the term and becomes more a "term of endearment.

He told Event magazine: "Kanye's an artist. He can say what he wants. It's the freedom of speech, literally.

"The n-word, to a lot of black people, particularly younger black people, it's almost a term of endearment.

"It's a slang word, and I think the good thing about it is that it kind of takes the sting out of it. It just becomes a word, rather than the derogatory word it could be used as."

The song was so controversial, friends advised the 'Hey Jude' hitmaker to distance himself from it.

He said: 'They said, 'You cannot be seen to be connected with this.'

"At one point, I was talking about the idea of saying, 'Yes, you know, I wrote those lyrics. Some of my finest lyrics ever.' "

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