Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed, Then one day he was shootin' at some food, And up through the ground came a bubblin' crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea. Well the first thing you know ole Jed’s a millionaire, Kinfolk said Jed move away from there Said Californy is the place you ought to be So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin' pools, movie stars. - The Beverly Hillbillies!
The Southern hillbilly/redneck image: the last remaining socially acceptable stereotype?
“ It's been 40 years since The Beverly Hillbillies debuted, but, with increasing regularity, the same Southern myths are passing for entertainment. This return of the Great Bumpkin, perpetuated by films like Alabama and embarrassing series such as The Anna Nicole Show , makes Andy Griffith seem gloriously complex.”
As National Review writer Rod Dreher asserted in a recent column (and yes, I'm actually about to quote the National Review ), Southerners — specifically, poor Southern whites — are "the only ethnic group in the country that it is permissible to mock in polite company."
Mary notes: Hollywood would love to have you believe that Jed and his family are the mirror perfect image to what a Southerner is. Dukes of Hazard is also gives the sterotypical image of the good ole' boys roughin’ it up in the deep south.
Quotes and characters from: http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/popcandy/2002-10-02-candy.htm
The following are images that seem to continually appear in movies and television shows featuring southern characters:
The Backwoods Bubba! He'll tell you his name, but don't ask him to spell it!
The Devilish Debutante! She says she's a virgin, a natural blonde and a fabulous cook … but she's not that innocent
The Dingy Belle! Often a former beauty queen, politician's wife and/or aging widow, well-dressed, old-fashioned Belles are always afflicted with a bit of Scarlett fever. The women of Steel Magnolias and Ya-Ya , The Golden Girls ' Blanche and A Different World 's Whitley all ooze Belle-osity
The Bible Buddy! Need a quick dose of religion or a spontaneous sermon? Grab this feller!
The Ten-Gallon Tycoon! Like J.R. Ewing, this man bathes in Benjamins, laughs from his belly and often sires a high school football champion. Boss Hogg, anyone?
And the list goes on. We’d love to hear in the comment section about your favorite southern stereotype character, or even better, if you can think of Southern characters who DON’T fit the mold.
Let’s explore where these images originated…
Quotes and characters from: http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/popcandy/2002-10-02-candy.htm
The term originated in 17th century Ireland for Protestant supporters of King William of Orange. Roman Catholic King, James II, came to Ireland in 1689 and began to raise a Catholic army in an attempt to regain the British throne. Protestant King William III, Prince of Orange, led an English counterforce into Ireland and defeated James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. A significant portion of William III's army was composed of Protestants of Scottish descent who had settled on land confiscated from Catholics in Ulster, the northernmost of the four provinces of Ireland. The southern Irish Catholic supporters of James II referred to these northern Protestant supporters of King William as Billy Boys — Billy being an abbreviation of William—hence the term, hillbilly .
The term in the United States started early in the 18th century when British soldiers began using it when referring to Scots-Irish immigrants of mainly Presbyterian origin, who lived in the frontier areas of the Appalachian Mountains. These Protestant Irish colonists brought their cultural traditions with them when they immigrated. Many of their stories, songs, and ballads dealt with the history of their Ulster and Lowland Scot homelands, especially relating the tale of the Protestant King William III, Prince of Orange.
Many of the settlers in the Appalachian mountains were of German origin and were named Wilhelm with the short form Willy, a common German name during that time. Those Wilhelms, who went by Bill or Billy, living in the Appalachian Mountains became known as hillbillies , that is Bills who lived in the hills.
The term emerged as a derogatory nickname given by the coastal plain-dwelling Southerners to the hill-dwelling settlers of Eastern Tennessee, Western Virginia (including modern West Virginia), and Eastern Kentucky, many of whom were ambivalent to the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
The term arose in the years after the American Civil War, when the Appalachian region became increasingly bypassed by technological and social changes taking place in the rest of the country. Until the Civil War, the Appalachians were not significantly different from other rural areas of the country, but after the war, as the frontier pushed further west, the Appalachian country retained its frontier character, and the people themselves came to be seen as backward, quick to violence, and inbred in their isolation. Fueled by news stories of mountain feuds, such as that in the 1880s between the Hatfields and McCoys , the hillbilly stereotype developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
History of the Hatfield-McCoy feud as seen on the Biography Channel. www.biography.com
The "classic" hillbilly stereotype - the poor, ignorant, feuding family with a huge brood of children tending the family moonshine still - reached its current characterization during the years of the Great Depression, when many mountaineers left their homes to find work in other areas of the country. It was during these years that comic strips such as Lil' Abner , and films such as The Grapes of Wrath , made the "hillbilly" a common American stereotype.
"But, cuss it, ah is still alive" . Li'l Abner, Daisy Mae, Mammy, Salomey, and Pappy survive another narrow scrape in this strip excerpt from March 29, 1947
Redneck refers to a stereotype of usually rural, Caucasian (i.e. white) people of lower socio-economic status in the United States and Canada. Originally limited to the Appalachians, and later the South, the Ozarks, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, this stereotype is now widespread throughout North America. Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines "redneck" as "a glorious lack of sophistication," stating "that we are all guilty of [it] at one time or another.“
Wears Rebel Flag apparel, such as Dixie Outfitters
Lynches black people
Hunts down both Mexicans and Blacks, especially if member of the KKK
Guzzles beer and whiskey, complains about other races taking over in certain areas
Drives beat-up pickup trucks
Threatens people who are different from them, usually when that outsider is in their "territory"
Beats kids, and either beats on or cheats on wife
Uses various words like All Y'alls, boy, son, wersh (wash), city fags, chicken n' dumplins, reetard, tarred (tired), shoot son, chink, wetbacks, jeet jet (Did you eat yet?), gnawed jew (No, did you?)....
The term "redneck" or “hillbilly” is often misunderstood by those north of the Mason-Dixon line. Many Yankees use these terms to refer to Southerners and treat them as if they were illiterate, uneducated, inbred, and backward compared to the rest of the U.S.
Many Southerners place high value on God, family, and country and feel these are very important philosophies to live by. These ideas are often misinterpreted by outsiders and have produced a lot of misconceptions about people from the South.
A SOLEMN LOOK AT REDNECK/HILLBILLY (Southern) CULTURE We have enjoyed the redneck jokes for years. Maybe it's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God.
You might be a redneck if... It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God." You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places. You still say "Christmas" instead of "Winter Festival." You bow your head when someone prays. You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem. You treat Viet Nam vets with great respect, and always have. You've never burned an American flag. You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening. You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same. You'd give your last dollar to a friend.
While a lot of people believe that only Northerners use the terms, “hillbilly or redneck”, people in the south also use these terms to refer to those they see as a lower class than themselves-not as a term of endearment. I personally do not care for either term and try not to use them, but I’m sure that they have been used about me. I am proud to be from the south, I am proud of my heritage, I know that I wear shoes (I was never barefoot and pregnant), and I am not uneducated. Family, God, and country are important to me, and if that makes me a “hillbilly”, then so be it!
I am happy to be labeled any of these things because I know what being a Southerner truly is! I've lived in the South all my life and there is no other place I would rather be!
Many times when people hear the word Southerner they picture a rebel flag, big trucks, bare feet, trashy women, etc. This is often not the case.
Not all Southerners are racist hicks. Check out the percentage of Southerners who voted for Obama in the 2008 election.
The truth about most rednecks/hillbillies Rednecks get there name from working outside with a cap on where the neck is exposed to the sun and they get sun on there neck. Typically they are farmers or workers of the field.
Southerners do have strong beliefs in and loyalties to: God, family, and country.
Rednecks/Hillbillies are downgraded as uneducated, racist, simple minded hicks.
Andrew felt it was important to include the “True Redneck/Hillbilly Beliefs” slide
Amelia agrees with many of the statements on this page as well, particularly with regard to respect for elders, and “One nation under God,” but feels that it is important that we recognize and respect others’ views of who that God is – not only the Christian version. This is why posting the Ten Commandments on certain official buildings is so tricky – it may send a message of impartiality to have such posted on a courthouse, for example.
“ When I speak to groups about the stereotype of the Appalachian people, I always ask the group to describe the Appalachian attitude toward education. The reply is always the same—they don’t care about it or it isn’t important to them. The image in their mind is like this picture of barefoot children in a one-room, rundown schoolhouse. There were some one-room schoolhouses. But the truth is that education has been important to people of the region and that historically the educational experience ranged from the one-room schoolhouse, to the folk school, to small colleges.”
Distribution of wealth for education is not properly allocated.
Higher income areas receive more funding, which in turn allows them to better programs, teachers, and materials.
Lower income areas are left will what they can afford, which is typically not enough to provide an education as great as other regions in the same state.
This is what is happening in Eastern Kentucky.
In these areas, schools are receiving $435 dollars less than other schools in the state.
“ Far too many schools expect little from their low-income students academically and offer them little in the way of opportunity, blaming poverty for weak outcomes rather than examining their own efforts and attitudes.”
http://www.education. eku . edu /CERA/documents/CERA_symposium_presentation. pdf http://www. ruraledu .org/site/apps/ nlnet /content. aspx ?c= beJMIZOCIrH &b=4127741&content_id=%7B39FF54D3-0010-4E56-A640-71B3744F324D%7D& notoc =1
I would like to believe that education is important in all areas. Through the research for this presentation, I have found that people in this region do value education and want to learn, they just do not have access to an education that will prepare them for college. The way funding is set up now, school districts that house the wealthy end up with more money. This produces better education for the students attending that district. When in turn facilitates higher test scores sending a message to the government that the district is doing something right and deserves more financial resources. Schools that don’t have access to wealth suffer because of this. We need to rework the system and provide great education to every student, not just ones in wealthy areas. Continuing on with this system will only keep the areas like the Appalachians less educated. These students are not dumb, they are just kept uneducated because of lack of resources and funding. The table also proves that this area is behind the national average, but not too far gone. I think that if we really took education as seriously as we say we do, then we should be providing sufficient education for everyone. This area could really be affected by education, especially because they want to learn. I think the comments about the Appalachian area being ignorant and under educated are stereotypical of a earlier time. Great progress is being made there and should be recognized. Because I am from Kentucky and deemed a redneck hillbilly in most pop culture when they portray characters from Kentucky, I would really appreciate a real interest in education so that the rest of the country would realize we aren’t stupid and all the other misconceptions people have about Kentucky and the Appalachian area.
Many misconceptions and stereotypes are given to southerners as racist peoples. Like any other place in the world, southern United States does have people who adopt and proclaim racist ideals. However, not all southerners are racist.
Some southerner’s speak of “southern pride” and “white power.”
The Ku Klux Klan originated in the South and many people make this connection assuming southerners are all racist.
The Ku Klux Klan ( KKK ) is the name of several past and present secret domestic militant organizations in the United States, generally in the southern states. The KKK are best known for advocating white supremacy and acting as terrorists while hidden behind conical masks and white robes. The KKK has a record of terrorism, violence, and lynching to intimidate, murder, and oppress African Americans, Jews and other minorities and to intimidate and oppose Roman Catholics and labor unions.
LAURENS, South Carolina-- The Redneck Shop and Ku Klux Klan Museum can be found here. Inside you’ll find Klan paraphernalia of all sorts. Many residents believe it's racist, vulgar and hateful. Owner John Howard has another view.
"This right here is the work of the Lord," said Howard. "We're not here to discriminate against anyone. We're not here to hurt anyone."
You might be a redneck if…your bike has a gun rack
~ Jeff Foxworthy
Image from Charlestoncitypaper.com Myth: Rednecks/Hillbillies have been stereotyped and mocked for their defense of gun rights. We often mistake them for gun totin’ and gun wavin’ idiots. Many believe that they kill deer and other animals for fun. Truth: The vast majority of these so-called rednecks never hunt game for recreational purposes only. The meat is almost always used as a means of providing food for families and even the needy. According to their website, in 2006 Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry provided over 2 million meals for Kentucky families. www. huntersforthehungry .org
Redneck gunowners are stereotyped as being uneducated, uncivilized and
bitter. It turns out they have the same level of formal education as non-gun
owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than
Non-owners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden
Nor are they "bitter." In 2006, according to non-gunowner Arthur Brooks in his book Gross National Happiness, 36% of gun owners said they were "very happy," while 9% were "not too happy." Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy. Image from www.coachwyatt.com
You might be a redneck if….your family tree has no branches.
Myth: Rednecks are inbred and incestuous. The “hillibillies” in the picture to the right is shown with the caption “The Dangers of Incest!” Truth: It is puzzling to hear those who stereotype hillbillies and rednecks as incestuous and “church goin’, Bible lovin’ fools.” Those accusations are contradictory. The overwhelming majority of the Bible Belt of the south strongly believes that incest is wrong and against God’s commandments. Image from www.ebaumsworld.com
Suzy Lee fell in love. She planned to marry Joe. She was so happy bout it all, she told her pappy so. Pappy told her, "Suzie Gal" you'll have to find another. I'd just as soon yo maw don't know, but Joe is yo half-brother. So Suzie forgot about her Joe and planned to marry Will. But, after telling pappy this he said "There's trouble still". You can't marry Will, my gal, and please don't tell yo mother, cause Will and Joe and several mo I know is yo half-brother" But Mama knew and said "Honey chile, do what makes yo happy. Marry Will or marry Joe, You ain't no kin to pappy!"
'Twas the other night reminiscent, Excursively basking in retrospect. Concluding how much I really miss, My ole' Southern rednecks. What was the gradual recession, This forfeiture of mind? Perchance just holding on to memories, Long frozen in ancient time. Many of them callous and offensive, I must now speak and deter. Yet they all replied to elders, With respect, a humble yes-sir. They always spoke loudly and proudly, Though many judged them with disgrace. Unlike the world they spoke honestly, When so, right in your face.
A certain nobility in this stereotype, Though it escaped me way back then. With Camels rolled up under the sleeves, Many became our bravest men. Last ones to leave you in the night, First ones beside you in the fight. Precious blood protecting our sweet life, In Asian fields left behind their chidren and wife. Let this set the record straight, For all the rednecks I've known. I've grown to love, respect, and cherish, And hug the necks of all who came home. Barry A. Lanier
In a dogwood winter of grief he always turned from fresh graves into another country. Subtraction of lives from the land altered fields, changed weather, shortened seasons, made him---no longer a face reflected in the cool springs of their eyes--- a sudden stranger to himself.
He turned always knowing their lives had bounded the country he had known---the rounds and routines of their days, little seasons, familiar weathers, certain as rosebuds, fall apples or first frost, their rooted lives great trees, his summer shade, their stories on the porch at night: rain on the roof.
Like lines in the palms of their hands, paths they made from house to barn to field got lost in weeds and never came home. Fields and buildings turned their backs on one another. A hill eroded down to white limestone: flesh fallen from bones.
He always turned away with a heart fluttering like a sparrow beating its wings at a window inside the emptied house. Beyond a baffling hard transparency: cedars, fenced fields, light, air, country he came from.