People say the word “redneck” like being one is a bad thing. But, I mean, Jeff Foxworthy made a career out of the word, right? 

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When you hear the word redneck you probably envision someone who wears filthy clothes, lives in a shack, eats raccoons, and whose idea of fun on a Saturday night is smashing beer cans against their head. 

Rednecks are crass, unsophisticated, and don’t have teeth in their mouth or money in the bank, right? Nope. The modern-day dictionary definition of a redneck is someone who is working class and lives in a rural area. 

The word redneck has seen its fair share of evolution through the years. A redneck in Northern England in the 19th and 20th century was nothing more than someone who was a practicing Roman Catholic. In Scotland in the mid-1600s, a redneck was someone who supported the Presbyterian church. 

In the 1800s, Americans used the word redneck to describe the sunburned red necks of farmers and it was the truth. Their necks really were sunburned red. 

In the early 1900s, the word redneck was used to describe an American coal miner who wore a red bandana to stand in solidarity with those in their union. 

In the early 1970s, people thought being a redneck was a cool thing to be. Everyone wanted to wear jeans, cowboy boots, and shovel southern-style home-cooked food into their mouths, and then somewhere along the lines, the term redneck became a derogatory one. 

In the late 1970s redneck soon became used to describe anyone who was a “bigoted and conventional person, a loutish ultra-conservative" 

Fun fact- most people who live in rural areas are actually well-spoken are often college-educated, value family more than money, are comfortable in their own skin, and will give you the shirt off their back. They want what’s best for everyone no matter skin color, religious affiliation, or political stance. 

People who live in rural areas are also masters of making things work and would rather figure out how to fix something than buy new because there's a thrill in saving a buck. And yeah, they like to have fun and find unconventional ways of doing so but who says there's a right or wrong way to have fun? 

Oh, and it's absolutely not fair to lump together those who live in a rural setting as all being racist bigots or political extremists. I know this because, if we’re going by the modern-day dictionary definition of the word, I am a "redneck." I live just across the New York border in Pennsylvania, or "Pennsyltucky" as some call it. 

Sure, there are a few bad apples, but that’s no different than with any other community of people. It’s just that sometimes the people who are extreme one way or the other are the loudest and bring on bad attention while the rest of us sincerely just want harmony. 

My rural community is filled with some of the most kind, giving, compassionate, and hard-working people that I have ever known, and if living in the middle of nowhere and enjoying the simple life makes us a mockery, so be it. But, before you toss out the word redneck as a slur, you should know that most of us who live in the middle of nowhere are pretty cool and will be the first to love, protect, shelter, and stand up for you when the rest of the world is crumbling down. 

You know - because we know how to hunt and stuff. 

All joking aside, I guess the moral of the story is that putting labels on people is stupid. Mocking people is stupid. Opening up your world and allowing yourself to get to know someone who might live a bit differently than you do is definitely the cool thing to do and you'll be a better person for it. 

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