American Redneck Day
When I started this blog on holidays, I saw American Redneck Day and thought, there is no way I am posting about this holiday. For the term, “Redneck” is pretty derogatory in my part of the woods. It conjures up an image of a toothless, unsophisticated, conservative, gun toting, truck driving, confederate flag flying, Southern, white hillbilly drinking beer outside his trailer, while his wife takes care of the six kids inside their tiny dilapidated quarters. These fellows are usually considered racists and bigots and opposed to any modernization in politics.
The less derogatory version of redneck is poor but proud American who just lives and works rurally, hunts, minds his own business, takes care of himself and his neighbors and is proud to be American.
Meet Bill Smith
I started reading about it and learning that the term, “Redneck” actually has some deeper meanings.
The Different Meanings of Redneck
In the 19th century is was used to refer to hardworking farmers with sunburned necks from working their butts off outside all day. In 1910, the political supporters of the Mississippi Democratic Party politician James K. Vardaman were mostely poor white farmers who began to describe themselves proudly as “rednecks”, even to the point of wearing red neckerchiefs to political rallies and picnics.
In the early twentieth century, coal miners who belonged to unions were also associated with the term, “Redneck.” In southern West Virginia, the term “redneck” is symbolic for the times when miners stood up and fought coal operators for their constitutional rights, fair labor practices, and the right to join a union. There were approximately 10,000 miners who took up arms and marched to battle in 1921 at the climax of the mine wars and they wore red bandannas around their necks and came to be known as “the Red Neck Army.” Nowadays, it seems to be used for the rural working class man.
Learn more about the Battle of Blair Mountain.
So there it is, the different meanings of Red Neck, the good, the bad and the ugly. But Americans aren’t the only ones who use it in a derogatory way.
In Northern England during the 19th and 20th centuries, Roman Catholics were known as rednecks.
The exact Afrikaans equivalent, rooinek, is used as a disparaging term for English people and South Africans of English descent, in reference to their supposed naïveté as later arrivals in the region in failing to protect themselves from the sun.
So if you fit into any of these categories, particularly the less offensive ones, then Happy Redneck Day to you!