What does the term "Redneck" mean to you?

I've seen many people on this forum use the term "Redneck" very loosely in describing what they think is the white-uneducated-conservative-Southern person.

It's obvious that most people have no idea what the term means, so I thought I'd ask, what does the term "Redneck" mean to you?

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11 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Union coal miners in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania fostered multiracial solidarity through both their adoption of the nickname "redneck" and their wearing of red bandanas. This image of unified, class-conscious redneck miners contrasts markedly with the traditional image of the politically unorganized, race-conscious redneck farmers. The term redneck, used to mean a poor, rural white southerner, first emerged sometime in the last decades of the nineteenth century. According to the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (1989), one of its earliest appearances in print dates from 1893, when Hubert A. Shands reported that in Mississippi speech red-neck was used "as a name applied by the better class of people to the poorer [white] inhabitants of the rural districts" (OED2, 13:422). The compound word redneck, most scholars of the American language agree, originally derived from an allusion to sunburn, and the prevailing view is that southern planters and the urban middle classes used the epithet to describe those white farmers, sharecroppers, and agricultural laborers who had sunburned, red necks from working long days in the fields (Roebuck and Hickson 1982:3). Scholars have further speculated that white farmers and sharecroppers in Mississippi, Georgia, and other states of the Deep South first began to be called "rednecks" during Reconstruction when some of them "stubbornly refused to wear the cool, wide-brim straw field hats" favored by black freedmen and instead opted for "sweaty, narrow-brim wool hats" that exposed their necks to sunburn as they worked in the fields (Bowles and Tyson 1989:47). But unlike these red-necked farmers and sharecroppers, who consciously attempted to distinguish themselves in dress from African Americans during Reconstruction, union miners embraced redneck as a way to undercut, rather than to heighten, racial distinctions during the coalfield wars of the 1910s and 1920s. For striking miners, then, the red handkerchiefs functioned as a display of multiracial union solidarity against the coal-mining operators, hired gun thugs, and National Guard troops, thereby shifting the focus from each striker's race or ethnicity to the unifying symbol of the bandana and their collective interests as workingmen. Of course, the class solidarity symbolized by the red bandanas was grounded in miners' shared experiences as an occupational group and as union members. And there was a certain occupational logic to this symbolic obliteration of the polarizing issues of race and ethnicity, since all miners emerged from underground with blackened, grimy faces, arms, and hands smeared with coal dust, which obscured their race and made them all of one color.

    But for union miners, the redefined nickname redneck signified suggested far more than simply union loyalty and class allegiance. As the above songs suggest, union coal miners fashioned around the reclaimed term redneck a distinctly class-conscious masculinity. Organized miners constructed their notions of proper and honorable masculine roles chiefly in opposition to the "unmanly" behavior attributed to company guards and strikebreakers. Union miners saw themselves as inherently different than the cruel-hearted gun thugs and cowardly scabs, who were cast as class traitors and company toadies-literally, in the miners' richly descriptive, sexually suggestive language, company sucks and company licks-who felt no sense of allegiance to their fellow workingmen. Nor were the miners like the money-grubbing coal operators who, they believed, exploited miners' backbreaking labor rather than doing honest work themselves. Redneck miners, in contrast, demonstrated their manhood by providing for their wives and children, collectively siding with the union during strikes, and fighting for their rights as U.S. citizens. They refused to kowtow to the coal companies, be intimidated by hired gunmen, or betray fellow strikers by working as scabs. During the Harlan County coalfield war of 1931-1932, Florence Reece, the wife of a NMU miner, captured these gendered distinctions in her famous labor anthem, "Which Side Are You On?" Two verses and the chorus follow:

    Source(s): Just the opinion of a US Marine fighting for the country that he loves!
  • weisse
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    To me it means people that work hard on the land and so their necks get burnt. I hate how it is now an insult. If anyone called me a redneck I wouldn't mind, the only thing that matters is how I define the word.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    what you said minus the conservative - they are all types - liberal , conservative, anarchist, but pretty much southern and uneducated. didn't realize what a redneck really was til i moved to the south. now, that will always be the definition of a redneck to me. they also pay money to put on bad exhaust that makes it sound like they have no exhaust and think it is impressive.

    used to think a redneck was someone who worked hard in the sun and got their neck burnt.

  • 1 decade ago

    First thing I think of, is: A country boy/gal, that likes hunting and/or other outdoor activities, listens to country music, wears blue jeans and flannels, likes 4 wheeling/muddin', motor sports, and bleeds red, white and blue.

    A complete stereotypical answer, I know. Just what I think of first when I hear the term.

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  • te144
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    My definition of 'redneck' is 'a prejudiced person', and as adjective-nouns, intolerance or superiority (toward people of another race (chink), color (white, black, brown, red), or origin (i. e. Mexican, Jap, 'hood', 'loonie'). ) The ideology generally travels down from one generation to the next, but can originate or intensify after a man-made catastrophe such as Pearl Harbor that caused Pres. Roosevelt to declare war on Japan and the 'Axis' as a whole, resulting in the general acceptance of the terms Jap and Kraut in American society.

  • 2D
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It's a person who works hard and as a result the sun burns their neck. Hence the term "Redneck". I hate when people use it in a derogatory manner.2D

  • 1 decade ago

    Trailer Trash

  • Linda
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    "Shallow" basically means that you judge people on their appearance rather than their personality and feelings. Example: Bob: "I'm only friends with her because she's hot." John: "You're so shallow."

  • 1 decade ago

    Racist white people from the South of the United STates.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    To me.. It is someone who is from the country, who works on a farm with horses, goats, chickens..Dives a tractor, raises tobacco.

    Larry the Cable Guy

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