‘Redneck’ – There Are Numerous Definitions
Jeff Foxworthy has made a name for himself with his famous “You Might Be a Redneck” jokes. You might think you know what the word means, but chances are, you don't know the whole story.........
Today, in certain circles of American society, rednecks are considered to be uneducated, low-class and quite often poverty stricken. This idea has become so prevalent that some people have embraced the term & have turned it into a point of pride. The Bellamy Brothers had a huge hit song with “Redneck Girl.” Then the redneck girl grew up and Gretchen Wilson’s hit, “Redneck Woman” reached number one. There are plenty of other songs about rednecks as well.
To many, the term refers to a person whose neck has burned from working in the sun. This applies to outdoor labor including farmers, construction workers, mechanics and other blue collar occupations.
When it’s used as an insult, the term redneck implies ignorance & naivety. On the other hand, to those who lovingly adopted the term as their own, it refers to a salt-of-the-earth type of people who are hard-working, proud and bible-believing.
The truth is that “redneck” is a term that has been in use in English speaking nations for nearly four hundred years now. Its oldest roots can be traced to Presbyterian Scottish Covenanters in the 1600s, who fought against the royal interference in the church from the Stuart monarchy. The Stuarts believed in the divine right of kings, and as rulers usurped control of the church. In response, many devout Presbyterians signed covenants that promised loyalty to the church over King Charles of England. It is said that the Covenanters signed in blood to show their fervently held beliefs, and wore red bandannas or neckerchiefs around their necks as a sign of solidarity. Thus, the term “redneck” was born.
So it was religion and a red bandana that came together to coin the term “redneck” in Scotland. Later on, when many Scots &Irish migrated to America in 1704, they brought the word with them.
Personally, I prefer Jeff Foxworthy's colorful descriptions of what makes a "Redneck"!