What Wrong with Being a Redneck?
The term “redneck” is currently being used to denigrate, demoralize, and stereotype a group of Americans. The stereotype is that if you are white, male, living is rural areas, means you are poor, classless, and racist.
Let’s just say it, being called a redneck may have it’s negative characteristics, but some people have embraced it, even if they do not fit in the stereotype. Stereotypes can be painful and burdensome and I think it is always important to judge the person by their character rather than where they live, occupation, education, economic status, family background, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, or race. Get to know the person before you make any judgement calls. Just because they look different from you doesn’t mean ya’ll can’t be friends.
But the term redneck is an interesting one. What makes a person a redneck? Is it because you live in the countryside, drive a pickup truck, hunt, fish, chew tobacco, go muddin? All those sound fun, honestly! But because one person’s choice in lifestyle can be often be called a redneck and that carries the burden that they must be racist. But the term redneck never really had it’s racist connotations.
I originally thought redneck got its meaning for people who worked all day in the sun and burned their neck. Most of these laborers were working class or farmers. But actually the term redneck may have origins we never expected. Possibly the term redneck was used as early as the 1600’s in Scotland.
Now before I write the rest of this passage, I want to make clear that I am not a historian whatsoever and I usually do not do any research when writing this stuff. I am writing what I have been told through word of mouth. You can look it up if you want. What I am writing isn’t “gospel” but it may have some truth. Nonetheless, it’s food for thought.
Ok, let’s continue. Redneck term may have it’s origins as early as the 1600’s in Scotland. From what I was told I believe people wore red scarves, clothing, around their neck as a symbol of rebellion from the Bishop’s rules. The Scottish ruling class called these rebels, “rednecks,” because of their identification of wearing red around their necks. This term “redneck” became the identification of Presbyterians. Presbyterians were the ones against the Bishop of Scotland’s rules.
The term redneck carried over as early Scottish immigrants arrived in the United States during the pre-Revolutionary War Era. The Scottish immigrants found themselves residing on the mountains and plains that may remind them of their hometown, and continued to wear the red cloth around their necks to connect with one another on their similar religious beliefs. So, the first rednecks could possibly be Presbyterians in the 1600’s.
So, redneck may have it’s origins from religious roots in Presbyterianism. Kinda neat and weird right? Nothing to do with being uneducated and racist. I thought I’d share with everyone, what I thought might be interesting. So if you feel upset in being called a redneck, just simply respond, “Thank you, I am Presbyterian, how did you know?” or respond, “You must be mistaken, I am not a Presbyterian.” Or if you don't want to be religious, just asked them if they want to go noodlin'. Yeah... that's a real thing man. But gotta try it before you judge, it's umm... an experience.
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Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).