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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
REDNECK

REDNECK Definition

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.

 

REDNECK Noun

Offensive Slang.

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 History

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 class.

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 class.

 

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 recovery.

 

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 least, insensitive."

 

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.

Recommended 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.

About 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.

NEW! Highly Recommended 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...

You'll learn 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.

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