Redneck, What is a Redneck, Redneck definition, Redneck origin, Redneck history, Redneck term, Redneck
meaning, Redneck slang, Redneck jokes, Redneck Comedy, Redneck humor, Redneck woman, Redneck women
A slang term, often applied
to the rural white southerner who is politically conservative, racist, and religious fundamentalist. This term is generally
considered offensive. It originated in reference to agricultural workers, alluding to how the back of a person's neck will
be burned by the sun if he works long hours in the fields.
1) Used as a disparaging
term for a member of the white rural laboring class, especially in the southern United States.
2) A white person regarded
as having a provincial, conservative, often bigoted attitude.
3) A poor white person in
the southern United States.
Redneck refers to a stereotype
of usually rural, Caucasian (i.e. white) people of lower socio-economic status in the United
States and Canada.
Originally limited to the Appalachians, and later the South, the Ozarks, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, this stereotype
is now widespread throughout North America. Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines "redneck"
as "a glorious lack of sophistication," stating "that we are all guilty of [it] at one time or another." A contributing source of the term redneck comes from The West Virginia Coal Miners
March or the Battle of Blair Mountain when coal miners wore red bandanas around their necks to identify themselves as seeking
the opportunity to unionize.
REDNECK in Modern Usage
Redneck has two general
uses: first, as a pejorative used by outsiders, and, second, as a term used by members within that group. To outsiders, it
is generally a term for white people of Southern or Appalachian rural poor backgrounds — or more loosely, rural poor
to working-class people of rural extraction. (Appalachia also includes large parts of Pennsylvania,
New York, Ohio and other
states.) In the West Coast, there are regionally specialized versions of the term, namely “Okie” and “Arkie”
for poor rural white migrants from respectively Oklahoma and Arkansas, displaced by the Dust bowl (drought conditions and
severe land erosion) in the Great Plains and economic conditions across the Southern US into the farming valleys of California.
Within that group, however, it is used to describe the more downscale members. Rednecks span from the poor to the working
Generally, there is a continuum
from the stereotypical redneck (a derisive term) to the country person; yet there are differences. In contrast to country
people, stereotypical rednecks tend not to attend church, or do so infrequently. They also tend to use alcohol and gamble
more than their church-going neighbors. Further, "politically apathetic" may describe some members of this group. Until the
late 1970s they tended toward populism and were solidly behind the Democratic party, but have supported Republicans since
the Carter presidency. Many celebrities like Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy embrace the redneck label. It is used
both as a term of pride and as a derogatory epithet, sometimes to paint country people and/or their lifestyle as being lower
Although the stereotype
of poor white Southerners and Appalachians in the early twentieth century, as portrayed in popular media, was exaggerated and even
grotesque, the problem of poverty was very real. The national mobilization of troops in World War I (1917-18) invited comparisons
between the South and Appalachia and the rest of the country. Southern and Appalachian whites
had less money, less education, and poorer health than white Americans in general. Only Southern blacks had more handicaps.
In the 1920s and 1930s matters became worse when the boll weevil and the dust bowl devastated the South's agricultural base
and its economy. The Great Depression was a difficult era for the already disadvantaged in the South and Appalachia.
In an echo of the Whiskey Rebellion, rednecks escalated their production and bootlegging of moonshine whiskey. To deliver
it and avoid law-enforcement and tax agents, cars were "souped-up" to create a more maneuverable and faster vehicle. Many
of the original drivers of stock car racing were former bootleggers and "ridge-runners."
Federal programs such as
the New Deal era Tennessee Valley Authority and the later Appalachian Regional Commission encouraged development and created
jobs for disenfranchised rural southerners and Appalachians. World War II (1941-45) began
the great economic revival for the South and for Appalachia. In and out of the armed forces,
unskilled Southern and Appalachian whites, and many African Americans as well, were trained for industrial and commercial
work they had never dreamed of attempting, much less mastering. Military camps grew like mushrooms, especially in Florida, Georgia and Texas, and big industrial plants began to appear across the once rural landscape. Soon,
blue-collar families from every nook and cranny of the South and Appalachia found their way to white-collar life in metropolitan
areas like Atlanta. By the 1960s blacks had begun to share
in this progress, but not all rural Southerners and Appalachians were beneficiaries of this
Writer Edward Abbey, as
well as the original Earth First! under Dave Foreman, proudly adopted the term redneck to describe themselves. This reflected
the word's possible historical origin among striking coal miners to describe white rural working-class radicalism. "In Defense
of the Redneck" was a popular essay by Ed Abbey. One popular early Earth First! bumper sticker was "Rednecks for Wilderness."
Murray Bookchin, an urban leftist and social ecologist, objected strongly to the Earth First! use of the term as "at the very
Author Jim Goad's 1997 book,
The Redneck Manifesto, explores the socioeconomic history of low-income Americans. According to Goad, rednecks are traditionally
pro-labor and anti-establishment and have an anti-hierarchical religious orientation. Goad argues that elites (and a special
distrust of liberals whom belonged to the liberal elite from the Northeast states and the US west coast) manipulate low-income people (blacks and whites especially) through
classism and racism to keep them in conflict with each other and distracted from their
exploitation by elites.
U.S. Representative Charles B.
Rangel caused controversy on February 13, 2005, by referring to Bill Clinton as a redneck in response to Hillary Clinton's
refusal to support his views on the Amadou Diallo case. See also What is a Redneck? Definition and History and What is a Hillbilly? Definition and History.
Sources are listed below.
Reading: The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats. Description: Culture
maverick Jim Goad presents a thoroughly reasoned, darkly funny, and rampagingly angry defense of America's most maligned social group -- the cultural clan variously referred to
as rednecks, hillbillies, white trash, crackers, and trailer trash. As The Redneck Manifesto boldly points out and brilliantly
demonstrates, America's dirty little secret
isn't racism but classism. While pouncing incessantly on racial themes, most major media are silent about America's widening class rifts, a problem that negatively
affects more people of all colors than does racism. With an unmatched ability for rubbing salt in cultural wounds, Jim Goad
deftly dismantles most popular American notions about race and culture and takes a sledgehammer to our delicate glass-blown
popular conceptions of government, religion, media, and history. Continued below...
In a book that is destined
to be praised, reviled, cited, denounced, loved, and hated -- perhaps by the same reader -- culture maverick Jim Goad presents
a thoroughly reasoned, darkly funny, and rampagingly angry defense of America's most maligned social group -- the cultural
clan variously referred to as rednecks, hillbillies, white trash, crackers, and trailer trash (provided they're white trailer
trash, of course).
As The Redneck Manifesto
boldly points out and brilliantly demonstrates, America's dirty little secret isn't
racism, but classism. While pouncing incessantly on racial themes, most major media are silent about America's widening class rifts, a problem which negatively affects more people
of all colors than does racism. In a nation obsessed with race, this book switches the focus firmly back toward class, and
it warns in a voice loud and clear that America
will never learn the true meaning of tolerance until it learns to embrace the redneck.
Until this book, no one
has so fully explained why white trash exists in America.
Tracing the unique historical diaspora of America's white poor, The Redneck
Manifesto offers evidence that mass forceful deportations of white slaves and convict laborers from the British Isles formed
the bulk of America's white underclass.
Tracing the history of these people, the book probes the hidden cultural meanings behind jokes about inbreeding and bestiality.
It gets its hands dirty with blue-collar frustration, recreational desperation, and religious salvation. It discusses the
value of Elvis, Bigfoot, and space aliens as objects of spiritual veneration. It offers solid logical defenses of tax protest,
gun ownership, and antigovernment "hate speech." And it lists surprising reasons for why rednecks and blacks have more in
common with each other than either group does with white liberals.
With an unmatched ability
for rubbing salt in cultural wounds, Jim Goad deftly dismantles most popular American notions about race and culture and takes
a sledgehammer to our delicate glass-blown popular conceptions of government, religion, media, and history. His own socioeconomic
background leads him to prefer crackers over slackers, hillbillies over hipsters, and white trash over white cash. He is certain
that the trailer park holds more honest people than the House of Representatives, and he knows from personal experience that
truck drivers are more trustworthy than lawyers.
You've not read another
book like The Redneck Manifesto because there are no other books like it. It's the sort of book that comes along once in a
lifetime, which will be too often for some people. It's a rude awakening for a spazzed-out nation. A fire under the ass of
a culturally confused country. A literary laxative for a constipated public. It's destined to prick the conscience of a nation
which enjoys feeling guilty, but which doesn't like to do anything about it. You'll laugh, and then you'll hate yourself for
laughing. Your mind will be pried open but it'll only hurt a little while. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable
edition of this title.
the Author: Jim Goad himself a proud member of The White Trash Nation, was the creator
and chief writer for ANSWER Me!, a controversial "zine" that he used to publish in Los
Angeles. He does not presently live in a trailer park but is thinking about it. The Redneck Manifesto
is his first book.
Viewing: Hillbilly: The Real Story (2008) (The History
Channel). Description: Join host Billy Ray Cyrus on a journey into the
hollers and runs of Appalachia to discover the proud legacy of the region's mountain folk. Learn how hillbillies,
long misunderstood and maligned as isolated and backward, actually have a 300-year history of achievement and success that
has contributed significantly to our national identity. In this two-hour special you'll meet outcast immigrants, war heroes,
isolated backwoodsmen, hard working miners, fast moving moon shiners, religious warriors, musicians and statesmen. You
will also learn about the dramatic history and origin of the real Redneck as well as the history and founders of NASCAR. Continued below...
of their contributions, which include establishing the first labor unions, battling the British, and spawning some of the
most popular aspects of American culture today, like NASCAR and country music. And you'll see them in a whole new light. “The numerous candid interviews highlight this outstanding addition. Great gift,
must have, welcome addition to the American collection..."
Sources: Abbey, Edward.
"In Defense of the Redneck", from Abbey's Road: Take the Other. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1979; Goad, Jim. The Redneck Manifesto:
How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997; Webb, James H. Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. New York:
Broadway Books, 2004; Weston, Ruth D. "The Redneck Hero in the Postmodern World", South
Carolina Review, Spring 1993; Wilson, Charles
R. and William Ferris, eds. Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, 1989; Blizzard, William C. When Miners March Gay, WV,: Appalachian Community Press, 2005; Ross Ballard
When Miner March - The Battle of Blair Mountain audiobook; Corbin, David, ed. The West Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology. 2nd
ed. Martinsburg, W.Va.: Appalachian
Editions, 1998; Lee, Howard B. Bloodletting in Appalachia: The Story of West Virginia's Four Major Mine Wars and Other Thrilling
Incidents of Its Coal Fields. Morgantown, W.Va.: West Virginia University
Press, 1969; Savage, Lon. Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia
Mine War, 1920-21. Pittsburgh: University
of Pittsburgh Press, 1990; Shogan, Robert. The Battle
of Blair Mountain: The Story of America's Largest Union Uprising. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2004.