The word “redneck” is a term traditionally used to refer to poor uneducated white farmers from southern United States. These farmers worked outdoors in the hot sun, their skin, especially the back of their necks turned red, and from this, the redneck term was derived (Roebuck and Hickson, p. 3). It is synonymous to cracker, hillbilly and white trash. White trash is mainly used among the black Americans.
In current usage, “redneck” can mean quite a number of not too pleasant things such beer drinking trailer trash, stupid, uncivilized, a tendency to resort to violence or an individual who has not been exposed to any major cities. The “redneck culture” traditionally refers to the way of life of these people. It is usually looked down upon by the other societies, and most people would term rednecks as a derogatory filth that lives in southern America where those hillbillies without shoes live.
Their places of residence are found around mountains and hills with Baltic coal and consist of old run down shacks. However, this does not accurately describe the rednecks and their culture. The redneck culture is an uncomplicated, unsophisticated way of life of people who love to dance to the beat of their own drum.
Although the common use of the term “redneck” is the disparaging reference to uneducated, poor, mostly white farmers of southern America, it has been used all over United States, Australia, England, south Africa and many other regions (Roebuck and Hickson, p. 3). It is not clear where and when the term originated. All over the regions, the term has been used to portray low opinion. Insignificant things are said to have rednecks’ blood boiling.
A redneck male is considered a tough son of a gun who takes pride in displaying his toughness. A redneck young boy who gets his teeth knocked out while pretending to be Tarzan will not cry or run to his mother for help, he will probably spit and say, “tough titty said the kitty when the milk run dry.” That is the typical redneck attitude.
Those from a South American redneck culture have a way of speaking that people from the north do not understand and therefore do not appreciate (Roebuck and Hickson, p. 12). They talk slower and the words they like using may not be grammatically correct.
They however put a nice sound to the words and even have some characteristic redneck phrases that they frequently use, like “dog won’t hunt” meaning the idea will not work. The consideration that rednecks are stupid sometimes arises from this fact that people from other regions do not understand their language and therefore fail to recognize the nuances and subtleties of their culture.
To be referred to, as a redneck currently does not depend on an individual’s place of residence or origin, whether you are from a poor southern American farming community or a rich business family. Some characteristics can have you labeled a redneck. Statements such as “if you watched an episode of Texas Ranger Walker and it changed your life, you are a redneck” and “you know you are a redneck when you have flowers at your front door that are planted in a bathroom appliance” have been heard all over.
However, in current times most people from the southern America and others with a redneck kind of life have owned the term “redneck” with considerable pride (Roebuck and Hickson, p. 43). Entertainers have also propelled the term to mainstream popularity by referring to redneck culture in their content.
Popular comedians such as Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, Larry the cable guy among others have portrayed the redneck culture in a humorous way and created lasting persona. Jeff Foxworthy whose is a southern comedian once defined “redneck” as a “glorious absence of sophistication” and that everybody suffers from this at one time or another.
Rednecks live an uncomplicated life. This means they define their lives and do not let their lives define them. To live an uncomplicated life means that you have to do what you desire without complicating it with the desires and possessions of other people. Rednecks do not really care what others think about their lives. It is not that they are filthy or stupid; they just love to do what makes them happy. They will improvise a lawn mower out of their bike and be more than happy with it.
Others will even let beer cans lie around their compound for target practice and if you try to clear the cans, you may have an ole Cephus proving his manhood to you or worse, his dogs scrambling for a piece of you. This does not mean that they have a short fuse but just that they like being left to live their life the way they want. Everybody wants this at one time or another whether you are a redneck or not.
Rednecks do not complicate their lives with hatred or selfishness. A redneck culture is characteristic of all-round friendliness and being good neighbors (Roebuck and Hickson, p. 27). A redneck neighbor will be at your service when you are in need; he will send you food if you are sick and repair you car if he can.
Such a culture is not present only in the South American society; everybody who still has humanity in him/her values such a culture. However, in a redneck culture, you do not try to please everybody. This would end up complicating your way of life. For this, rednecks do not mix well with some people especially those who cannot understand them.
Lack of sophistication is one major characteristic of a redneck culture. Sophistication in this case refers to being less natural. Rednecks prefer a natural way of life and try to avoid technological advancements that make life less natural.
A redneck woman will maintain her natural body appearance even if most other women are using every available body modification technique to improve their appearance. While some people will do any thing to eliminate body hair, others take pride in having the body hair.
This is a redneck culture no matter the race, skin color, economic class, education level or place of origin. Most people have misunderstood the lack of sophistication characteristics of redneck culture to mean that they are uncivilized and slow to adapt to modern way of life. However, this is being ignorant of what really makes this people live the way they do.
For them, being outdoors is more desirable than living in the modern sophisticated structures. Parents teach their off springs to love and respect nature and they therefore grow up with a deep love for the outdoors. A redneck culture is maintained from generation to generation and they have great respect for their ancestors’ believes.
In the redneck culture, you have to be proud and true to your roots, value your father’s name and family and friends come first. Southern American farmers have learnt to appreciate nature and this is not limited to them only, other people also appreciate a more natural life.
Rednecks dance to the beat of their own drum. Other people cannot understand how people can have a weird lifestyle of old jeans, boots, cowboy hats, big trucks with huge tires, fishing and country music. You will not find them in a nice coat and tie and some NASCAR enthusiasts who enjoy eating beans. It is a unique lifestyle and the rednecks enjoy it. They derive pleasure from what they like and do not care what other people do.
Rednecks are alive all over the world. Very many confusing attributes are used to describe them. Some people will think of rednecks as short tempered individuals who are fond of beer and live in trailers (Roebuck and Hickson, p. 2).
Others will claim rednecks to be people from the mountains, tobacco-spitting hunters, racists and disrespectful people among other descriptions. In general, rednecks are regarded as stereotypes. This is not true; redneck culture represents a way of life of the southern people and may include other people too.
Redneck culture is about living simple with less sophistication, doing and enjoying what pleases you. The redneck culture should not be stereotyped because of few redneck individuals who may be actual stereotypes. The redneck culture is deeper than that and people may be practicing it even if they are not the typical rednecks from Southern America.
Roebuck, Julian and Hickson, Mark. The southern redneck: a phenomenological class study. Connecticut, USA: Praeger Pub Text, 1982.