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Old 02-12-2008, 06:31 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,147,825 times
Reputation: 22373

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom4two View Post
That one has always stumped me, I hate it when I use the word in a sentence as defined in the dictionary (as happy or silly) in the presence of a "gay" person and then feel like I've put my foot in my mouth or something. Why do I feel like I've offended him when I've really said nothing wrong?
Political correctness. That is my answer. It is a double-edged sword. There are those of us who work hard not to offend anyone - and so we have acquired politically correct language to assist us in that endeavor. We have been taught it is offensive to say "dwarf" so we say "little people." We sincerely do not wish to offend others, especially when it comes to things that supposedly one has no control over, such as physical or mental impairment.

I grew up hearing people with low IQs (under 70 or so) referred to as "retarded" and somewhere along the way, I think when I was in college (in education classes), I was told this was a pejorative term and so I should say "challenged." Today, a derivative of the word "retarded" is in circulation - "tard" - and both "retarded" and "tard" are legally considered "hate speech," when used in a way that is deliberately mean-spirited. Yet, various forms of "tard" circulate in our language, including "celebutard" - referring to celebrities who do stupid or idiotic things.

Words have power and our society recognizes that power. The uninformed may stumble in a conversation into a land mine of politically incorrect speech w/o even realizing it. My generation regularly said such things as "You are so retarded!!!" if someone was acting goofy. Now, that sentence used in the workplace could be considered hate language, if the person hearing it is, indeed, mentally impaired. SIGH. Lawsuit on the horizon - and HR departments scurry to provide "sensitivity training" so that we, the uninformed and unaware, don't engage (even inadvertently) in hate language.

Which brings us to "redneck," a word that has obviously morphed into a very different meaning than its original intent.

To me, what people are referring to as rednecks today includes behavior and lifestyles that would be best described as just plain old "trashy" or even "lower class." But I think it is probably considered elitist to point out anyone's social class these days. So when we encounter someone who lives in a bombed out house, has old cars in the yard, throws beer cans on the driveway and wears Daisy Dukes - we don't say "my neighbors are trashy" or "they are low class slobs" we just call them "rednecks."

In other words, it is politically correct to say someone is a redneck and not PC to call them lower class. Which brings us to the word "gay." It is PC to say "gay." If you say - "so-and-so is upset b/c he is homosexual and he and his partner wish to marry" - you will come across as derisive b/c you said "homosexual" instead of "gay."

My favorite misnomer these days is "illegal alien." Some groups consider this inflammatory (most of whom are here illegally, Hee Hee). Advocacy groups who work w/ providing services and safe havens for people who have crossed the borders illegally say the term "illegal alien" is hate language b/c it denies one's humanity. They are fond of saying "no human being is illegal." Once again - the power of words.

My solution is to simply refer to residents in our country as either "citizens" or "non-citizens." That takes the inflammatory nature out of the discussion. However, any time I have proposed this (in writing or in conversation) people express total disinterest in espousing that term - as they WANT to clearly define that people are here "illegally."

Which makes me ponder: Do we have this innate need to label people? Why do we feel we need to segment society into "us and them?"

And why are Southerners the most maligned of all groups in this country- other than non-citizens from Mexico????

Last edited by brokensky; 02-12-2008 at 06:33 AM.. Reason: punctuation error

 
Old 02-12-2008, 06:39 AM
tpr
 
Location: s.e. mass.
17 posts, read 74,735 times
Reputation: 18
i was told years ago that a redneck was a union supporter in the old coal towns back in the day. if you wore a red bandana around your neck you supported the union.silent code to be kept from the "company goons" and company supported police
 
Old 02-12-2008, 06:40 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,147,825 times
Reputation: 22373
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEmissary View Post
ani - I think that the definition of what a redneck is, defies description for an individual to adequately explain to the masses. It reminds me of the line by the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography "I can't explain it, but I know it when I see it!"
Perhaps. The word redneck as used today (and we have seen plenty of examples in this thread - all quite descriptive!) does conjure up a particular picture. And I agree w/ other posters - that rednecks (as defined by Jeff Foxworthy) can exist anywhere, not just in the South. Yet, the South is most often connected to redneck behavior.

What concerns me is that often, the word is used by people from other areas of this country as "code" to disparage Southerners in general. It just adds to the many stereotypes about Southerners.

And maybe that is another thread. Stereotypes about the South.
 
Old 02-12-2008, 06:44 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,147,825 times
Reputation: 22373
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpr View Post
i was told years ago that a redneck was a union supporter in the old coal towns back in the day. if you wore a red bandana around your neck you supported the union.silent code to be kept from the "company goons" and company supported police
Now that is interesting. Have never heard this definition. Hmmmm.

I would see the only flaw w/ that definition is that affiliation w/ a union only has power if the solidarity b/n its members is a known factor to management. Maybe in organizational stages it would be a "code" to let coworkers know who was going to vote pro-union - thus a "head count" prior to a vote to unionize.

So glad you shared that - yet another possible explanation for how this term began. Thank you, TPR!!!
 
Old 02-12-2008, 07:10 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,901,272 times
Reputation: 3535
TPR is the only one who got it right ! In Southern West Virgina the union coal miners wore red neckerchiefs. Google Hatfield and McCoy. These weren't feuding families of hillbillies at all, it was all about to unionize or not to unionize. The McCoy company goons gunned down the unarmed Hatfield on the courthouse steps.
Oh and the thugs depicted in deliverance being described as being rednecks is ridiculous. Those guys were inbred degenerate perverts. Rednecks today are proud and honest country folk who don't like being told what to do by lame ass city folks !
 
Old 02-12-2008, 08:28 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,147,825 times
Reputation: 22373
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickers View Post
TPR is the only one who got it right ! In Southern West Virgina the union coal miners wore red neckerchiefs. Google Hatfield and McCoy. These weren't feuding families of hillbillies at all, it was all about to unionize or not to unionize. The McCoy company goons gunned down the unarmed Hatfield on the courthouse steps.
Oh and the thugs depicted in deliverance being described as being rednecks is ridiculous. Those guys were inbred degenerate perverts. Rednecks today are proud and honest country folk who don't like being told what to do by lame ass city folks !
Rickers - great post!!!! Yes, those deliverance guys were psychopathic perverts and the depiction downright SKEERT ME!!!!! Here I am a native Southerner and I have never encountered anything like that in my life - yet people always say something about it - like I must have neighbors who stepped out of that movie. SIGH.

I love your phrase - "proud and honest country folk."

Thank you for a great post - and adding to the discussion.
 
Old 02-12-2008, 10:36 AM
Status: "North of Palm Trees, South of High Taxes" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Noth Caccalacca
5,592 posts, read 6,690,604 times
Reputation: 4889
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Perhaps. The word redneck as used today (and we have seen plenty of examples in this thread - all quite descriptive!) does conjure up a particular picture. And I agree w/ other posters - that rednecks (as defined by Jeff Foxworthy) can exist anywhere, not just in the South. Yet, the South is most often connected to redneck behavior.

What concerns me is that often, the word is used by people from other areas of this country as "code" to disparage Southerners in general. It just adds to the many stereotypes about Southerners.

And maybe that is another thread. Stereotypes about the South.
ani- Maybe the question you posed can only be answered by a "true" Southerner. What image would cause the "Dueling Banjos" theme to go off in your head after observing a particular event?
 
Old 02-12-2008, 10:48 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,147,825 times
Reputation: 22373
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEmissary View Post
ani- Maybe the question you posed can only be answered by a "true" Southerner. What image would cause the "Dueling Banjos" theme to go off in your head after observing a particular event?
Very provocative, Em! Hmmmmm.

The only time I have encountered something that could use that song as appropriate background music was an incident that happened to me while a teen, when three drunk, smelly, unshaven, filthy perverts tried to break into our house while I was home alone babysitting for my two younger sisters.

But I would not describe those guys as rednecks. I would describe them as degenerate sociopaths.
 
Old 02-12-2008, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Charlotte (Berewick)
255 posts, read 801,673 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpr View Post
i was told years ago that a redneck was a union supporter in the old coal towns back in the day. if you wore a red bandana around your neck you supported the union.silent code to be kept from the "company goons" and company supported police
ding ding ding!

We have a winner.
 
Old 02-12-2008, 11:02 AM
 
2,356 posts, read 2,639,673 times
Reputation: 864
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Which makes me ponder: Do we have this innate need to label people? Why do we feel we need to segment society into "us and them?"
yes, we do, and I believe it is instinctive. Stereotypes are very useful in a survival sense, not so much in an interpersonal or social sense.

As our society has evolved, physical survival has begun to take a lower priority than social and interpersonal skills.
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