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Mar 6, 2012 1:19 AM by Jim Hummel

KBON Radio Could Face FCC Complaint Over 'Coonass' Lyrics

Lafayette attorney and advocate for cajun culture, Warren Perrin, has threatened to file an FCC complaint against KBON 101.1 FM over lyrics he calls derogatory and offensive.

For nearly two years the Eunice radio station has been broadcasting the song "RCA (Registered Coonass)" by Jamie Bergeron & the Kickin' Cajuns. The chorus of the song includes the word 'coonass,' which is what Perrin considers the most insulting term against Acadians.

"The most common, accepted definition in French is: a diseased prostitute," said Perrin, of the word's origin. "Those who know the history and the battles that went before them, you'll never find them using the term."

While KBON has been playing the song for some time, the station just recently received its first complaint about it last week. In response to that complaint, management decided to pull the song from their playlist, but after hearing of Perrin's intention to file an FCC complaint, the song was back on the airwaves and there are no plans to pull it anytime soon.

"To me it's not offensive at all," said station owner and program director Paul Marx, who adds listeners have been overwhelmingly supportive of his decision to put the song back on the air. "Let the listeners decide, not Warren Perrin."

"It's a party song, it's a fun song and that's what it's all about," said Jamie Bergeron, who stands by his song and says the word needs to be taken into context.

"Some people find it degrading, but it's all in how you put it," he said. "I'm not calling anyone out, I'm calling myself a coonass, I'm proud to be a coonass."

Perrin is still considering a complaint with the FCC, and believes his case will stand on prior precedent. He cites the 1980 court case Roach v. Dresser Industrial Valve and Instrument Division. According to Perrin, federal judge Erwin Hunter, Sr. declared Cajuns a bona fide minority in that case, which Perrin says gave all Cajuns protection from ethnic slurs under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Jim Hummel

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