Paul McCartney says he was ‘racist’ as a kid

The Beatles legend says he used 'certain words' without realising they were offensive

Paul McCartney has spoken about being unintentionally “racist” when he was younger.

The Beatles legend explained that while growing up in Liverpool in the ’50s and ’60s, he used “certain words” that he now knows are offensive.

“When I was a kid, you were racist without knowing it,” he told the Mail On Sunday. “It was just the normal thing to use certain words you wouldn’t use now.”

McCartney continued: “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.”

During the interview, McCartney also defended Kanye West’s controversial use of the n-word in their 2015 collaboration ‘All Day’.

“Kanye’s an artist. He can say what he wants. It’s the freedom of speech, literally,” McCartney said. “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.”