While having a discussion with a friend about Oklahoma being the Bible Belt, yet we have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and racism, my friend said, “It is because we are fraught with redneck morons.”
“Fraught with redneck morons,” what an interesting string of words to describe a group of people. Curiosity got the best of me as my mind pondered what the meaning of a redneck really is.
“You know you are a redneck when,” jokes are very funny because within the humor, there are things we can all identify with about ourselves. My image of a redneck is someone who is laid back, would help anyone, and is very patriotic. Then my mind wandered to another conversation with a gay friend. He once told me the redneck population in our town is who he was most frightened of. They were the ones that if he held the hand of his lover in public, he may be beaten up by. There are so many labels given different groups of people, all fraught with both good and bad. How are you labeled? Do you know all the different ideas people have that are associated with your label? This thought process steered me to an exploration of what the label of redneck means.
Dictionary.com defines redneck as:
1. An uneducated white farm laborer, especially from the South.
2. A bigot or reactionary, especially from the rural working class.
3. Narrow, prejudiced or reactionary.
According to various theories, the word originated in the 17th century when indentured servants were sun burnt while tending to plantation crops. Once again, I have learned something; I always thought Jeff Foxworthy coined the word. Now I find out it is centuries old. Today a redneck is defined as being rude and crude; sometimes prone to violence, likes NASCAR, country music, and beer drinking. They are often mistaken for white trash but there’s a difference. Rednecks are usually hard working and have jobs. Many are racists.
In my research I also found there is a redneck philosophy. A narrowed down version of my exploration explains the Redneck philosophy as follows:
1. A Redneck does not feel the need to impress people.
2. Rednecks feel sorry for people who become corporate slaves.
3. A Redneck never feels the need to brag.
4. They have an inner peace because they are not remotely concerned with what others think of their lifestyles.
5. They will defend their honor if they feel it has been questioned by sending the person who disrespects them or their family to the emergency room.
6. They have a disregard for time. When they decide to get around to it, that is when they do it.
7. They embrace what they like, not what is considered in good taste.
As in all labels, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good is the ability to achieve inner peace by accepting themselves just the way they are. The bad and ugly are the rednecks which embrace prejudices against their fellow man and use violence.
My friends tell me I am a free spirit. A lady who knew me as a teenager came to see me thirty years later because she said she wanted to see what life would do to a child who was truly a free spirit. My next topic will delve into the meaning of what a free spirit is. Let me know what your label is, and I will research it for a future article.