On his show Wednesday night, MSNBC host Chris Hayes mocked Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) speech to Howard University by comparing it to the new country song "Accidental Racist."

Both attempted racial outreaches were admirable, he said, but that didn't prevent them from also being cringe-worthy.

In his speech to black students at Howard University, Rand appeared to assume that his audience didn't understand the history of the civil rights movement. The Republican from Kentucky also attempted to rewriting his prior statements about the landmark Civil Rights Act.

"Both Rand Paul and Brad Paisley seem to think the way to bridge the racial divide is a double helping of sheer earnestness," Hayes remarked. "But earnestness, as nice a trait as it is -- believe me, I know of where I speak -- is no substitute for a sophisticated understanding of how our past relates to the present, or a commitment to policies that would bring about material improvement."

"Contra Paul and Paisley, achieving racial progress in this country isn't just a matter of having the right conversations, it's about bringing about genuine equality, and if history has taught us one thing, it's that equality comes from struggle, not from group hugs."

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