Friday, May 30, 2008

What is a Redneck Anyway?? ~ For my Aussie Pal

Ok, this is for Mum-me...who posed the question "what is a redneck anyway"...see they must not have rednecks in Australia. Some would argue this to be a good thing! LOL! But seein's how I am one...well...I gotta say she's missing out.

Here is what Webster's Dictionary has to say on the matter:

red·neck [réd nèk](plural red·necks) n

1. a taboo term for a Caucasian farm hand in the southern United States, especially one regarded as uneducated or aggressively prejudiced

2. a taboo term for somebody who is opposed to liberal social changes, especially somebody regarded as prejudiced
[From the sunburned necks of those who work outdoors in sunny climates]

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

However, I suppose I would define myself much differently. For starters I am educated, open minded, liberal, and far from prejudiced regarding race, creed or sexual orientation. However my parents, and their parents before them were the very definition of this term, right down to the farm hand occupation. To this day my dad uses derogitory terms for people of color, and homosexuals, he is ignorant about politics and social climates, and he drives a lawn mower around town because he has had so many DUI's (Driving Under the Influence -Alcohol) that he is never allowed to obtain a driver's license again. His favorite pastime is sitting in his old john boat on the Wabash River catching catfish and walleye.....he is the Webster's Definition of a Redneck.

My brand of Redneck is much different, in my opinion. For me being a redneck is all about rural life. I live in a very remote, rural community that is far from any real 'town' and is hundreds of miles away from any city. To go shopping at a 'mall', I have to drive at least 2 hours! We farm, we like big trucks and 4-wheelers (ATV's). We like to go muddin', drink beer, have lots of babies, swear a lot, go to church on Saturday evening and go to the tavern Saturday night, loud music, and NASCAR racing. The men tend to chew tobacco and a ton of us still smoke cigarettes, despite the dangers. Our favorite wine comes freshly bottled in a milk jug from the neighbor's basement and moonshine making is a favorite pastime. We eat a lot of our own homegrown food, and entirely too much gravy! Pretty much anything dipped in batter and deep fat fried is considered a delicacy, including but not limited to pickles, mushrooms, okra, cauliflower, cheese, meat, fruits and even candy bars. (yes you read that right....)

You can usually find me out in the yard somewhere, sunburnt and dirty LOL...we are outdoor people. We hunt for fun and fish for leisure. I can shoot a gun, drive a "3 on a tree" stick shift, pee outside if necessary and don't bat an eyelash at butchering our own meat. I can cook just about any meal under the sun - outside! Yes I could make fettucine alfredo over a wood fire if I had too... As teenagers up we drank too much, smoked too much, swam in the river, and wrecked our Dad's trucks. Some of us didn't survive these fast and furious days. We have been busted by the cops at parties exceeding 300 people hidden out in the middle of a pasture field, miles from anywhere...we have ran from them in corn fields and wooded lands and rarely been caught. None of these are things to brag about, but they are truths about how my husband and I grew up.

See there are no community centers, YMCA's, or Youth Outreach Programs here. There wasn't much for kids to do but get in trouble. Hard work was expected out of most of us at home, we worked hard and we played hard...but when it was time to play, the only thing there was to do was load up a cooler of beer and meet your friends somewhere secluded and act stupid! Some of that is changing, or so it seems, and THANK GOD! Because now that I am a parent I don't want my kids doing ANY of the things I did! Lord Help Me! But back in my day (about 15 years ago) this was just how it was.

So that leads me to who I am today. Still that ornery little country girl, but one who has learned a lot of life lessons in my day. We lost some friends on this journey to adulthood and that was hard - we still think of them often and know they are looking down on us. We learned a lot about the kind of parents we wanted to be, and the kind of things we wanted to change with our own children. We have vowed to be more involved in their education and activities. But we took a lot of positive things from our upbringing as well. Around here, you can always count on your neighbor...whether it be something as small as a cup of sugar, or as large as plowing your fields...people around here stick together and help each other out. You always stop for someone on the side of the road, you always take food to people who are ill or have suffered a death in the family, and you respect your elders at all times. We are country folk. Things are simple. We are simple. And yes there are still the traditional bigots. There is still an extreme amount of ignorance. But it has been my experience that even the most 'civilized' suburban communities can be full of ignorant bigots too.

Some of the younger generation in my family call me a redneck hippie. I suppose my peace, love and freedom for all mentality lends to that. I am ok with that. That is a good title for me.

Ok and just one more thing Mum-me...the vocabulary. These are things you will hear on a regular basis in my household. Even though most of us were taught proper grammer in school....we still talk like hill billys!

When ya'll gonna git gone? (when will you be leaving?)

Are yous goin to town? (Are you going to town, or are you all going to town)

Seeins how we ain't got any taters I guess we'll just eat corn (Since we have no potatoes we should just eat corn)

You reckon? ~ as in 'you reckon it's time to git to church?' or 'you reckon we oughtta get goin'?" (means-Do you think...?)

I have a hankerin' for - as in a hankerin' for an apple fritter (I have a craving for or desire for...usually with me it involves FOOD!)

Weather is a constant topic of conversation since it affects the farm and our livelihood. You will often hear my husband say It's hotter than a whore in church or It's colder thana well diggers ass.

I could go on and on and on really...but this blog is long enough. So Mum-me, I hope you have a good picture of an American Redneck now! ;0)


Shannon said...

I don't know if I've mentioned this before but my grandparents, especially my grandfather was much like you describe "rednecks". He was raised in the hicks and talked and acted just like y'all there in the south! He was a farmer up until the day he passed and had the best maters (and many other fruits and veggies)in town, which he shared with ALL the neighbors He is (although gone for many years) one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I learned from him the importance of being a good neighbor, respect and, of course, the value of a good beer (no worries, he never gave me a beer to drink, but always had one in his hand). O ya and did I mention that he could "shoot the shit til the cows came home". Thanks for reminding me of many things I love(d) about my grandpa!

Mum-me said...

Thanks for enlightening me.

Oh don't you worry - we have them here in Australia too! Now that I know what a 'redneck' is I realised it is the same an as 'Ocker". I found this definition =

The term "Ocker" is used both as a noun and adjective for an Australian who talks and acts in an uncultured manner. It is normally used to describe males from small country towns, or working class areas.

And an Aussie Ocker is one of the most colourful and interesting characters you could possibly be lucky enough to meet!

debi9kids said...

LOL! Great post!
And here I thought only my dad said, "It's colder than a well-diggers ass." hahaha
:) Debi
ps Even in NJ... we have rednecks too!

Liz said...

I may not have slaughtered my own meat, but I've cooked and eaten muskrat. Does that make me a redneck? he he he...

Emma in Canada said...

I'm from Alberta which is well known as the home of Canadian rednecks. I think pretty much everyone here is a redneck, but I base it on your politics. My husband's family is from Australia, and they are considered ockers. He compares it to English cockneys.