According to an article in USA Today, an Arizona High School decided to have a “Redneck Day” that “encouraged classmates to dress — and spoof — accordingly”. This apparently sparked debate over “free speech, social stereotypes and good taste.” But the cries of racism weren’t by Southerners concerned over ridicule or admiring fans of [[Duck Dynasty]] — it was “Black” leaders in the community somehow making it about them.
So who are the real racists here? Who are stereotyping “rednecks” — a derogatory term that is transforming into a self-described label of pride in backwoods, earthy, usually Southern culture — as “White”, gun-obsessed, NASCAR-watching, “unedumacated”, and in particular, racist “South Shall Rise Again” types?
Of particular ignorance regards the criticism of the [[Confederate Battle Flag]], the “Stars and Bars”. Some shirts and bumper stickers display it along with the caveat, “If you’re offended you need a history lesson” — and they would be right. It is OTHERS who have pinned slavery on the symbol, insisting the Confederacy’s only characteristic and purpose was slavery — not States Rights or regional heritage among the descendants of the vast majority of Southerners who never owned slaves.
But even if the meaning of “redneck” and the “Rebel” flag IS used and defined in part by “white” racists, revisionists, and the conveniently offended race card players, is having people dress up with camouflage and long beards carrying banjos really making African-Americans uncomfortable? Is it REALLY triggering historical traumas of events and conditions that no one living today could possibly remember? This is clearly a case of people choosing to be offended, and by doing so are as guilty as what they think they are offended by.
Whether being a “redneck” is an ethnic designation or a lifestyle choice, why is it acceptable to generalize these others in such a way as to justify some play of outrage? If anything, REDNECKS should be offended — or honored or amused — accordingly. But assuming racism in “rednecks” is like assuming gang activity in “Blacks”.
Whatever is good for the goose we ought to take a gander at. We are left with an obvious double-standard, something that can only backfire and perpetuate prejudices in all directions. It needs to end.
People “offended” by non-racist expressions of classic, usually Southern, rural culture, be it a “Country accent” or the hood of the General Lee, are the ones who should be ashamed and owe a whole lot of people in America an apology.