Race, politics and religion are subjects probably better left out of conversation in mixed company, even if you happen to be conversing with one of rock's greatest living poets. Just ask Bob Dylan, who's accused of making racist comments in a lawsuit recently filed by an organization called the Council of Croats.

The NME reports that Dylan's new legal woes stem from an interview published in the September issue of Rolling Stone's French edition, in which he weighs in on the human race's tendency to divide and discriminate along racial lines. Asked whether he sees parallels between the U.S. of the Civil War and present-day America, Dylan mused, "I don't know how to put it. It's like ... the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The U.S.A. wouldn't give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that's what it really was all about."

Continued Dylan, "This country is just too f---ed up about color. It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different color. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back -- or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery -- that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that."

It's all typically thought-provoking stuff from Dylan, but he got himself in a little bit of hot water with his concluding remarks. "If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that," he added. "That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

The Council of Croats took offense to those last few words and filed suit against Dylan and Rolling Stone, with the organization's secretary general telling one reporter, "It is an incitement to hatred. You cannot compare Croatian criminals to all Croats. But we have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer."