I unfortunately helped hijack a separate thread on gay marriage, so I want to make an effort to keep it out of that discussion and in here in case anyone thinks it genuinely merits argument. Everything quoted is in the thread linked above.
Dude, please. I’ll admit I was more terse than is normal for me back there, but it’s because the hijack on the semantics of the word “redneck” was going on long enough. But try to follow along:
Y’all want to try to “take back” the word “redneck,” knock yourselves out. You’re going to have a hell of a time of it. The word is derogatory slang, and it’s intended to be derogatory slang. That’s why Crunchy Frog used the word in his OP, because this is The Pit and you’re allowed to be completely dismissive and make generalizations. He even made a concession/apology for using it, which in my opinion, was completely unnecessary. It was supposed to be offensive. It’s an insult.
“Redneck” is not the same as “cracker,” which is just a generic derogatory word for white (usually rural) people. “Redneck” is not a slur against white people, or working class people, or people who grew up and/or lived in rural areas. It’s a slur against people from rural areas who are ignorant and bigoted. Read the definition again until it sinks in. “Often, not always” is nonsense – I’ve been called a redneck enough times to understand what it means, and it definitely is not “good ole boy.”
I have never, ever, heard the word used in a context that wasn’t a negative, and it was most often in reference to racism. Saying “Hey, wait a second – I’m a redneck, and I take offense at your use of the term!” is exactly the same as saying, “Hey, wait a second – I’m an undereducated bigot, and I take offense at your use of the term!”
What “redneck,” “yuppie,” “JAP,” and, to a lesser degree “mincing faggot” (which admittedly was a bad example), are:
- They’re all offensive
- They DON’T refer to one characteristic, but at least two: one pre-determined (white, predominantly white, Jewish, homosexual) and one that is a personality trait (bigoted and stupid; shallow and wealth-obsessed; shallow and obsessed with flashy possessions; foppish and obsessed with sex).
- They are not points of pride
- They are not deserving of protection under the rules of polite conversation. If someone calls you one of those, it is because they were trying to offend you.
And as for my “authority” on this topic: don’t start. My parents put Coca-Cola in my bottle when I was a baby. I’ve lived in two places that had a car up on blocks in the yard. Most places I lived in had at least one hound dog. In summers I worked on a farm. And I still know that “redneck” is nothing to be proud of.