The term redneck is a derogatory term chiefly used for a rural poor white person living in the southern Untied States. The term ‘cracker’ is used in Georgia and Florida and the words ‘whie trash’ is often associated with redneck.
By the 1970s, the term had become offensive slang, and its meaning had expanded to mean bigoted, loutish, and opposed to modern ways. It was often used as a term to attack Southern white conservatives, implying racial prejudice
Paula here: As a lesbian and as a woman, there is so much evidence of “Redneck” comments on issues such as same-sex marriage, transgendered persons and the ‘religous conscience’ legislation of North Carolina that allows for discrimination. The media has blamed the legislation on Redneck mentality and on extreme right wing religious bigots. How did the term “Redneck” appear?
The word redneck has a sordid history involving class, race and prejudice. Many calling themselves rednecks today see it as an expression of pride and some, like comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who has found commercial success with the word. But not everyone finds the expression funny.
Rednecks and Racial Segregation
Pastor R.L Gundy of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sees it in terms of his Afro American history. He says:
“I see the bombing of four little girls, the turning of dogs on people, the spraying of water hoses on people, the beating of people, the blocking of people from college, that’s what the word means to me,”
An opposing view comes from City Councilman Don Redman, who is white. He has stated on record that the word doesn’t have a negative meaning at all.
“It’s a country person,” Redman said. “My wife has a bunch a relatives from Georgia and she calls them her ‘redneck relatives from Georgia’ and there’s nothing wrong with that. I can’t imagine a person getting upset about someone using the term redneck.”
The word likely comes from the 1880s, according to Stephen Cresswell, a history professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College and author of “Rednecks, Redeemer, and Race: Mississippi After Reconstruction.”
It started as a derogatory term of expressing prejudice against lowerclass whites who worked farmland, the historian said.
The construction of the word either comes from the red necks that workers would develop during the long hours in the sun or from the red bandanas they would wear to keep the sun off their necks, he said. But soon those workers started using the word themselves and even forming political blocks to elect more farmers and agriculture workers to office, Cresswell said.
“Even in the early 1900s some of the rednecks were starting to call each other rednecks as kind of a point of a pride because they worked with their hands and didn’t have a desk job,” he said.
That pride is what’s driven the popularity and longevity of the term and allows entertainers like Foxworthy, whose publicist said he was unavailable this week, to become immensely successful.
‘History of violence’
But over time, the word took on different meaning for African-Americans, said William Link, a professor of history at the University of Florida and author of “The Paradox of Southern Progressivism, 1880-1930.”
“African-Americans might regard redneck as a term that may be threatening because of the history of violence perpetrated on blacks, often by a class of whites seen as rednecks — the lynching or urban riots that you had in that period,” Link said.
The tension between whites and blacks, particularly between whites calling themselves rednecks, persisted as those workers left the farms for factory and textile jobs.
“One aspect of what we’re talking about is competition for jobs with white textile workers, people who might be known as rednecks, fearing that blacks could take their jobs or housing,” Link said.
And this is the history Gundy is reflecting on.
“We don’t need that type of language,” he said. “We don’t need that type of attitude, we don’t need that type of personality in the school system when we’re trying to diversify the school system and our entire community.”
Pastor Gundy and Homosexuals.
“I used to criticize people who were gay,” he told WJCT.
“But then, I had a young man in my church who died from AIDS. When I went to the hospital to talk with him, I said ‘Why didn’t you come talk to me?’ And he said, ‘Pastor, I didn’t feel like I could talk to you. I didn’t feel like the church would accept me.’ That’s a moment that haunts me today. And I said when he was laying before us in the church, maybe this young man might be alive if he felt that he could come talk to us in the church.”
“From that point on, I started doing more and more research. I started engaging myself into what this LGBT was really all about.”
Humour – You Might Be a Redneck if………
- You think “loading the dishwasher” means getting your wife drunk.
- You ever cut your grass and found a car.
- You own a home that is mobile and 5 cars that aren’t.
- You think the stock market has a fence around it.
- Your stereo speakers used to belong to the Drive-in Theater.
- Your boat has not left the drive-way in 15 years.
- You own a homemade fur coat.
- Chiggers are included on your list of top 5 hygiene concerns.
- You burn your yard rather than mow it.
- Your wife has ever said, “Come move this transmission so I can take a bath.”
- You read the Auto Trader with a highlight pen.
- The Salvation Army declines your mattress.
- You’ve ever raked leaves in your kitchen.
- Birds are attracted to your beard.
- Your wife’s job requires her to wear an orange vest.
- You were shooting pool when any of your kids were born.
- You have the local taxidermist’s number on speed dial.
- You’ve ever hit a deer with your car…deliberately.
- Your school fight song was “Dueling Banjos”.
- You think a chain saw is a musical instrument.
- You’ve ever given rat traps as gifts.
- You clean your fingernails with a stick.
- Your coffee table used to be a cable spool.
- You keep a can of RAID on the kitchen table.
- Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.
- Your mother has “ammo” on her Christmas list.
- Every socket in your house breaks a fire code.
- You’ve totaled every car you’ve ever owned.
- There are more than five McDonald’s bags in your car.
- The Home Shopping operator recognizes your voice.
- There has ever been crime-scene tape on your bathroom door.
- You’ve ever been kicked out of the zoo for heckling the monkeys.
- The taillight covers of your car are made of red tape.
- You think a subdivision is part of a math problem.
- You’ve ever bathed with flea and tick soap.
- You think “taking out the trash” means taking your in-laws to a movie.
- You have every episode of Hee-Haw on tape.
- You’ve ever been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog.
- Your considered an expert on wormbeds.
- Your kids take a siphon hose to “Show and Tell.”
- The dog catcher calls for a backup unit when visiting your house.
- You’ve ever bought a used cap.
- Your CB antenna is a danger to low-flying planes.
- You pick your teeth from a catalog.
- You’ve ever financed a tattoo.
- You’ve ever stolen toilet paper.
- You think a hot tub is a stolen bathroom fixture.
- People hear your car a long time before they see it.
- The gas pedal on your car is shaped like a bare foot.
- You prefer car keys to Q-tips.