"The Redneck"

Jan 05 2010 Published by under Cycling


BikeMonkey Guest Post
PalMD came up with a reflection on just what bothered him about the recent debacle in which a beloved and bucolic icon who practically defines "Minnesotan" (not to mention upper-Midwesterner) appeared to be an antiSemitic idiot. PalMD was previously a fan of Garrison Keillor and felt included in the folksy community of Prairie Home Companion and Lake Wobegon. Keillor's blatherings were, from appearances, received as a chest push and door slam accompanied by "Wait, not you Jewboy!".
This let me crystallize my discomfort with another cultural icon, albeit one considerably less famous than Garrison Keillor.


Actually, two icons from the subculture of professional cycling.
It goes like this. I am a cycling fan. I've followed pro cycling on and off since the early 80s and I have the usual jingoism, fueled by the fact that US citizens generally were not players in the top ranks of international cycling. This changed, slowly and haltingly...to the point where you have very likely at least heard of Lance Armstrong and also Greg Lemond (if you are of a certain age).
Nevertheless, the sport of cycling is small potatoes and if you want to root for a US pro cyclist your options are limited. Conversely if you ARE a pro cyclist in the US, your fan base is pretty damn small. Consequently, your ability to make a living doing public entertainment is limited by the scope of your sport. In short, fans matter to cyclists and pro cyclists matter to fans. Big surprise.
I never really liked Lance, I have to admit. The random chances of fandom, really. He had an amazing career, cycling wise. But he just sort of seemed like an ass. There were other US cyclists I preferred to follow.
He totally rehabilitated his image with me through Twitter. Dude Twitts. At a very high cadence, much like his climbing style. Through these updates it becomes clear just how much this now-unretired, pushing 40 professional athlete puts into his promotion and fundraising for cancer research support through the Lance Armstrong Foundation which you know via the Livestrong yellow wristband. Although I'm sure his huge ego is entirely intact, you really do get the impression that the biggest reason he un-retired was to do his cancer thing. Anyway, I follow the guy on Twitter and today I was struck again by something he's Twitted before.

Chris "The Redneck" Horner gets himself a website! http://www.chrishornerracing.com/articles/

I like Horner as a pro cyclist. He's got a great story in the US-favored vein. Hard luck guy, talented but never quite hits the top of the game. Shows a lot of promise and class but manages to break the hearts of his fans, year after year. Great stuff. Whenever he writes a riders' diary or piece for his local paper, you feel like this is a likable dude.
He might be. Probably is. But when a guy he rides with calls him "The Redneck", it gives me pause. Yeah, probably just his buddies joking around with him. Guy's pretty pale and he spends a lot of time with the back of his neck exposed to the sun. Probably just Armstrong giving his teammate the Texas nickname treatment made famous by W.
I can understand that. But I'm not particularly interested in being a fan of bigots. When someone like Mel Gibson goes all wackanut, it decreases my enjoyment of his movies. Speaking here as someone who was and is squarely in the target demographic for the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon movies. Someone who enjoys semi-provocative film enough to be in the zone for his recent weird-ass director efforts. Just like I'm finding myself reaching for the radio knob when Keillor comes on in recent weeks.
I'd hate to find myself bypassing Chris Horner's Twitts and website updates this season. I mean, I know he can put it together this year. He's getting to the end of his career but he's been riding sweet when he can keep it upright. This could be his year....

133 responses so far

  • MonkeyPox says:

    Yeah, maybe, but "redneck" is some funny shit. If it bothers you, you can lighten up or you can just blow it off. Amirite?

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Funny that -- I come from a long line of rednecks, and it's curious to find that the prejudice against the rural poor is still going strong. Sharon Astyk comments on that cultural phenomenon.
    Not much seems to have changed since the signs read "no dogs or okies."

  • bikemonkey says:

    As with defenders of the stars and bars as a mere subcultural identifier, you are full of crap to pretend this is about "the rural poor" DC. This has nothing to do with whether or not Horner's neck gets red in the sun and everything to do with racist beliefs and actions that are the central defining feature of the concept of a "redneck".
    When y'all manage to strip that connotation and behavioral reality away from those who are the "rural poor" then we can talk.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Hey Bikemonkey -- How do you manage to ride a bike with one hand constantly patting yourself on the back?

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Seems to me Bikemonkey misread DC.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    This has nothing to do with whether or not Horner's neck gets red in the sun and everything to do with racist beliefs and actions that are the central defining feature of the concept of a "redneck".

    Central to whom, and by whom?
    "Redneck," like "wetback," is a class putdown and has been since long before Northerners would allow anyone darker than themselves to eat in the same restaurants or work in the same trades.

  • bikemonkey says:

    Dunno N-c, probably the way you manage to type one-handed, lots of practice.

  • bikemonkey says:

    Wrong DC. Unlike wetback, nigger, faggot or bitch it is a racist-behavioral and attitudinal putdown. Those who don't grasp this are those who believe those attitudes and behaviors are perfectly acceptable. Thus to their worldview, redneck must be some sort of slur of who they ARE, rather than how they act.

  • DSKS says:

    Er... "Redneck" has long been a straightforward pejorative for poor Caucasian bumpkins, and makes no direct statement about their tolerance for ethnic diversity.
    It's the American equivalent of Chav, and as a half-chav myself, I resent the implication that I'm culturally narrow-minded. I'm like totally open to wearing tracksuits by Adidas, Reebok or Umbro, and I listen to both drum AND base.

  • Rev Matt says:

    I've known rural poor who were not at all rednecks, and in fact have very good friends whose families are still living poor in rural areas of the midwest. They are not rednecks. I work with people who've lived solidly middle class suburban lives their entire life and never known poverty who are complete rednecks. Different people mean different things when they say redneck is the problem. When I hear redneck, I think country music, jingoism, racism, and right wing Christian politics. Some people who proudly claim the label redneck would strongly dispute that perception, others would enthusiastically embrace it. Which of them is wrong? I don't believe either of them are.
    Bikemonkey was describing his particular reaction to a label that has wildly different meanings to different listeners.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Unlike wetback, nigger, faggot or bitch it is a racist-behavioral and attitudinal putdown.

    I'm having this serious problem imagining a plantation owner putting down his lower-class neighbors because of their racism.

  • bikemonkey says:

    This is where you get your connotation of redneck? Have you met a lot of plantation owners in your lifetime DC?

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Have you met a lot of plantation owners in your lifetime DC?

    No, just a lot of Okies and redneck desegregationists.
    If you want to define "redneck" as someone who likes cherry lollipops and drools a lot, that's certainly your privilege. You can also define "wetback" as a passionate snorkeler. On the other hand, if you're going to read meaning into what someone else writes, it's a good idea to use the same semantics they do -- and every source I have (including history) tells me that the defining characteristic of a "redneck" is "poor rural white."
    References: Edward Abbey's "In Defense of the Redneck," Jim Goad's "The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats"

  • What I wanna know is where the fuck is Loonabel? This shit is right in her wheelhouse.

  • bikemonkey says:

    well, if you like to use waaahmbulance martyred definition favored by those who just can't seem to grasp that they continue to be the problem, rather than solely the victims of the problem, that's fine. Every source I have, meaning everyone who I've ever heard use the term redneck (pejoratively, not meaning apologists of your stripe) means just about what Rev Matt said at #10 and I've been saying consistently.
    Take a guy who never had a racist or misogynist or homophobic thought or act in his life and I don't care how many rows he hoes or how dusky red his neck might be, nobody but nobody calls him a redneck. Save actual attitudinal rednecks who are trying to cover up their bigotry with these fake ass "it's just our culture" arguments. Just exactly like dumbfucks who fly the stars and bars and argue that it has nothing to do with pining for the days of slavery.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    What I wanna know is where .. is Loonabel?
    I thought she was tied up giving Laden fits on his blog...

  • Mike K. says:

    Bikemonkey,
    Are you sure that it really just isn't a nickname Lance has given him? Have you heard anything from him (or even hearsay about him) that suggest he is a real 'neck? It sounds like you still want to be a fan-if you haven't heard anything about him why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
    As to the debate about the definition, I live in GA and you can bet that "Redneck" here is not used in the "poor white folk" sense.

  • lost academic says:

    Yeah, I completely agree with DSKS. Redneck may have previously been about POOR white Southerners, but it's really just about rural, deep South, blue collar/working class white men, and generally not a pejorative of choice against white Southerners these days. You wanna piss a guy off here in Georgia, you call him a cracker. Regardless, it's a pejorative about where you came from, not who you are.
    And I HAVE met today's plantation owners, railroad magnates, etc. They aren't what we call rednecks down here. I don't know where the rest of you are from, and I don't suppose it matters, but I am a little tired of people who likely don't have an ounce of experience with the matter running their mouths about race and class.

  • Isabel says:

    Well, CPP, in this case it appears the hatred is so obvious others have stepped up to the plate and I'm going to be able to enjoy what's left of this afternoon's sunshine.
    What BikeMonkey is doing has already been revealed by others here to be the time honored practice of the scapegoating of a powerless group. This process was best analyzed in the current context by Jim Goad in his brilliant "Redneck Manifesto" as has already been cited above.
    Good work, everyone!

  • bikemonkey says:

    I am a little tired of people who likely don't have an ounce of experience with the matter running their mouths about race and class.
    and what exactly do you know about what is "likely" or not on these hyar pseudonymous intertoobs?
    I don't know where the rest of you are from, and I don't suppose it matters,
    Of course it does. Connotation differs by geographic locale just as it does by the attitudes and skin color of those people using or hearing a term.
    Mike K- I am hoping that Lance is just being folksy Dubya in this case. Horner is a class cyclist from the fan perspective and I would really like to see him finally dominate a grand tour in week three, even if only as super domestique.

  • DSKS says:

    That word you use; I do not think it means what you think it means.
    Wikipedia
    Merriam-webster
    Oxford
    And in six years living in Missourah, I have never heard the label "redneck" be used as a slur regarding someone's likely attitude towards race, and I hear the label often; usually from hipsters in reference to the influx of county folk on game day and Mardi Gras regardless of cultural outlook and, as a testament to the evolution of the term, personal wealth. Interestingly, and perhaps as a sign that "redneck" has lost its power as a slur, when people really intend to be offensive to the white folk of low-economic status around here they generally use the term "cracker".
    People need to be careful not to get there foot caught in the stirrups when they set about riding that high horse.

  • jgv says:

    Every source I have, meaning everyone who I've ever heard use the term redneck (pejoratively, not meaning apologists of your stripe) means just about what Rev Matt said at #10 and I've been saying consistently.
    Why does the circle of people you happen to know get to redefine the term? If I took my definition of "liberal" or "Democrat" from the people I grew up with, it would also be piled down with bad connotations completely irrelevant to the actual definition of the word. "Redneck" has been used as a putdown for poor southern whites since long before racism was considered the bad thing it is, and if all the poor, white, southern racists (and there are lots of them) suddenly saw the light tomorrow, the term "redneck" would still be applied to them, only with one less optional connotation.
    And what's with being so bothered by a single word that it concerns you in the complete absence of any actual racist behavior or speech from the guy? Whatever your personal definition of the word, you must know that many, if not most, people in the country have a different one. Armstrong being from Texas, I'm thinking his personal definition isn't automatically negative.

  • bikemonkey says:

    How are bigots a powerless group that is being "scapegoated", Isabel? A scapegoat is an innocent party being made to pay the price for the transgressions of others. I make it quite clear that I define rednecks as those who express bigoted attitudes and behaviors for which I hold them to account, pure and simple.
    if all the poor, white, southern racists (and there are lots of them) suddenly saw the light tomorrow, the term "redneck" would still be applied to them
    by you maybe.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Take a guy who never had a racist or misogynist or homophobic thought or act in his life and I don't care how many rows he hoes or how dusky red his neck might be, nobody but nobody calls him a redneck.

    Only because the set of "guy(s) who never had a racist or misogynist or homophobic thought or act in his life" is by definition empty.
    Otherwise, that fellow down the road whose pickup truck has a gunrack, who has more cars on blocks in his front yard than most folk ever own? You don't need to talk to him first, you know he's a redneck and all your other stereotyping does is conclude that he therefore must also be a bigot.
    Just like all the other stereotypes -- you justify your prejudice post hoc.
    Ask yourself: were the Joads rednecks? Damn straight they were. The very poster children.

  • bikemonkey says:

    You don't need to talk to him first, you know he's a redneck and all your other stereotyping does is conclude that he therefore must also be a bigot.
    Whether I stereotype someone on the basis of incomplete information is irrelevant to the connotation of "redneck". As you point out in this scenario, I would be concluding something about the attitudes and behavior on the basis of other information and therefore applying the label. NOT applying the label because of the observable indicators.

  • El Picador says:

    Geez, who knew that self-identified rednecks were such wilting violets?

  • prelevent says:

    Where exactly are you from?
    I am not a redneck, but I live in the deep south, prime redneck country (I moved out here several years ago from a place where rednecks exist only in movies and on TV, and I was shocked to find that not only did they exist, but that they were everywhere). While racists, misogynists, and homophobes are found in astonishingly high numbers and densities here, I don't think that these traits are definitional of a redneck. On the other hand I also don't think that "rural white poor" always fits with the common usage of the word, even if the etymology of the term has its origins with a cultural/ class distinction and some groups would use it in this way.
    One of the things that I have noticed is how the term is used by different people. The poor and the middle class here will use it in an offhand jokey kind of way to describe the people who drive beat-up pickup trucks, worship guns, drink cheap beer, and are quick to get into fights. The upper-middle class and upper class use it pejoratively to describe the ignorant, loud and rowdy, underclass.
    You have the belief that the term redneck most likely includes the three categories of bigotry that you mentioned (racists, misogynists, and homophobes), and that a person who is called a redneck would also be a racist, misogynist and a homophobe. I have lived here long enough to meet many people who are most definitely rednecks, but are not racists, misogynists or homophobes. Hell, in most parts of the country the southern accent alone is enough to brand someone a redneck.
    However, the fact that this bicycle rider being dubbed "The Redneck" by his teammates is enough for you to preemptively suspect him of being a racist/misogynist/homophobe is frakking hilarious. Have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode "The Soup Nazi"? Did you suspect him of being an anti-Semite?
    Garrison Keillor said bigoted things. Mel Gibson said bigoted things. Chris Horner was given the nickname "The Redneck" for reasons I do not know, and unless you are holding back important information, you do not know.
    If you actually fear that this might be true, why don't you write to him and ask some probing questions? Or better yet, write to the two people who gave him the nickname, and ask what their motivation was... were they covertly trying to inform the world that he was a bigot?

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Whether I stereotype someone on the basis of incomplete information is irrelevant to the connotation of "redneck".

    As you yourself put it, you're leaping from the label ("redneck") to a conclusion that the person in question is a bigot. That's the same "logic" behind concluding that someone with dark skin is ignorant.
    And, like all bigots, you're most vehement when your prejudice is called out.

  • Isabel says:

    "Why does the circle of people you happen to know get to redefine the term? "
    This is Jim Goad's point in a nutshell. It goes against all your usual anti-racist anti-whatever beliefs.
    Yours is also a circular argument, or a tautology maybe? not sure what to call it exactly, but what you are saying is that you feel superior to these so-called rednecks, because you are offended because their label implies that they feel superior to other groups, a practice you've deemed wrong.
    As far as powerlessness, I think we can agree, that whatever else "redneck" implies, it implies rural and lower class. Not exactly at the top of the socio-economic hierarchy. Furthermore, if all "rednecks" saw the light tomorrow, would racism, sexism and homophobia disappear?
    No one here has any excuse for not reading Goad's book. It's hilarious, extremely well-written, not too long, inexpensive and nearly every line is quotable.

  • Isabel says:

    "Furthermore, if all "rednecks" saw the light tomorrow, would racism, sexism and homophobia disappear?"
    I forgot to add a line: If all the "rednecks" saw the light tomorrow, would you no longer look down on them?

  • bikemonkey says:

    As you yourself put it, you're leaping from the label ("redneck") to a conclusion that the person in question is a bigot.
    I suggest you try reading for comprehension rather than verification of what you imagine I am saying. Bigoted acts and attitudes are the defining characteristic of redneck. I have not made the leap that you claim. This is the same logic as concluding that someone who demonstrates willing ignorance is willingly ignorant. to put it your way.
    ke all bigots, you're most vehement when your prejudice is called out.
    While I have many prejudices I doubt that you are very close to landing on any of them yet because you are obsessed with misunderstanding what I am actually saying. Here's a hint- focus on behaviors and attitudes that I might find abhorrent and you will be be getting warmer.
    It's hilarious, extremely well-written, not too long, inexpensive and nearly every line is quotable.
    Is that that "You just might be a redneck" bathroom book? yeah, I didn't think that was funny.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    but what you are saying is that you feel superior to these so-called rednecks, because you are offended because their label implies that they feel superior to other groups, a practice you've deemed wrong.
    see, now this is what happens to your mind when you go mess about over at G-Lad's blog Isabel. it has a larger effect size than does smoking dope...

  • Isabel says:

    HaHaHa, DM. This is why I'm glad a number of articulate voices are doing a better job than I possibly could over here at the moment.
    Bikemonkey WTF?
    http://www.amazon.com/Redneck-Manifesto-Hillbillies-Americas-Scapegoats/dp/0684838648
    CPP, it's on your reading list too, btw, so you may as well take the opportunity to get started.

  • Alex says:

    Seems to me that if you want to criticize somebody for being racist you could just call that person a "racist" or a "bigot." Most people react pretty defensively when characterized as such, suggesting that those terms are plenty offensive enough.
    Now, the term "redneck" might be used by some only to denote bigotry rather than class, but it also has a history of connotating class as much as anything else. Moreover, comedian Jeff Foxworthy is famous for his routine of trying to reclaim the insult with his "You might be a redneck" jokes, and in all of his work he focuses on class and culture. Clearly, the label seems to denote something about class and culture, and has a lot of that sort of baggage attached to it. I would thus say that using the label as synonymous with "racist" implies some negative assumptions about people from that class and cultural background.
    Having established that the term "redneck" has a ton of class and cultural baggage, I think that internet tradition dictates that those who use it as an insult be called out on privilege, or something, but I'm not experienced enough in that particular internet tradition to know how to go about it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have lived in Mississippi and Minnesota (and quite a few places in between) and I have raced Bicycles since the late 80's. This redneck moniker from Lancey-poo deserves comment.
    Hence, one possibility (regarding Horner being a redneck) could simply be enjoyment of atypical non-cyclist (stereotype)recreational activities. Rather than be like GQ George Hincapie, he might be more like Ted Nugent out hunting wildebeast or something. Maybe even, he used to have a (awesome I might add) Laurent Brochard mullet when he was in high school and lance saw a picture and won't let him live it down....

  • kevin says:

    bikemonkey: Bigoted acts and attitudes are the defining characteristic of redneck.
    me: The defining characteristics of redneck include poor, white, rural, and often southern.
    Wikipedia agrees with me, not you.
    The first several links on google "redneck definition" agree with me, not you.
    The first definition of merriam webster's definition matches mine. The second is ambiguous.
    But to be fair, after hunting a bit, I found dictionary.com's definition to match yours.
    So at best, you have to agree that there is pretty wide variation in the connotations for redneck, and it's not clear that your reading of it is the one the vast majority of people use. Or even most people use. Or, most importantly, the one Armstrong uses.
    Remember when Tiger (ah, Tiger) called himself a "spaz"? A whole bunch of people, myself included, learned that day that spaz doesn't just mean the way your little brother behaves when you snatch the candy out of his hands. Context matters.

  • David says:

    the closest thing I could find for an explanation of why he got the nickname is this: "He also owns another truck and three cars, prompting Armstrong to nickname him 'Redneck.' " from
    http://stanford.wellsphere.com/biking-article/astana-s-chris-horner-heals-and-hopes-for-call-to-tour-de-france/728444
    if that's the explanation, then it seems the nickname has more to do about prejudice against people who like cars and trucks (a supposedly lower-class southern thing) than about any undesirable attitudes or behaviors on Chris' part. Does anybody know any different?
    A couple years after I moved to the south, I attended a lecture from a visiting northerner, who tried to complement our institution by calling it "an island of learning in a sea of southern accents." You could feel the icicles forming in the air - more than half the PhDs in the room were from in-state, and had southern accents.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Ambiguous my ass, Kevin. What you've found is that both of our definitions are dictionary valid and as usual wkipedia is a limited resource. Whoopee.
    David, I'm going to cling to that so far as Horner is concerned- go 'Shack!!!!
    So whaddaya think peeps? Are we making any progress seeing the way things look to someone not ourselves? Getting down the road on what PalMD tried to express? Or are we still fixated on our personal victimhood as being the only valid one?

  • becca says:

    Judging from UrbanDictionary, "redneck" implies "racist" to about the same degree as "redneck" implies "Nascar fan". Poor Dr. Isis.
    "Take a guy who never had a racist or misogynist or homophobic thought or act in his life and I don't care how many rows he hoes or how dusky red his neck might be, nobody but nobody calls him a redneck."
    False. Well, I'm not sure there's anyone who has *never* had a racist or misogynistic or homophobic thought or act in his life. Let's just settle for "has less racist/misogynistic/homophobic thoughts/deeds than bikemonkey". Take that guy. If he's poor, lives in a trailer, watches Nascar, voted for Bush, is a born-again Christian, likes pigroasts and lives in a red state, he's been called a redneck. Heck, we used to call people rednecks just for driving pickups (karma has already kicked my ass for this one, so nobody needs to tell me how stupid it was, I already know).
    Anyway, over at Casaubon's Book, the conversation about the brain drain away from rural areas got me thinking. A couple of people chimed in with "yeah, but it's not that farming isn't valued ergo smart kids are told to get the heck outta dodge. It's that the smallminded bigotry drives out any reasonably enlightened person". I caught myself nodding along. I like the *idea* of rural life in many respects, but do I really wanna raise my kid out in the boonies where the KKK used to be the law?
    Yet on what *evidence* do I base this belief that it's so bad there, compared to places I've lived? Yeah, in rural areas of the country more people probably voted for Bush or identify as born-again Christian. But living in central Pa., I've learned that plenty of those people are actually extremely good neighbors. They aren't necessarily sensitive to tone and connotation in the way I am, but they are extremely kind to people of all sorts.
    Also, people who use 'faggot' typically believe they are critiquing immoral behavior. Believing that doesn't make them decent people, and I'm not sure believing that calling someone a "redneck" = criticizing racism actually keeps you from being a jerk if you use it to describe people.
    Look, if you're saying "somebody calling themselves a redneck makes me wonder if I want to publicly identify myself as their fan", I understand and somewhat feel the same way. That said, I know that in my own case a small part of that is likely due to class prejudice. I'm also not sure I'd want to publicly identify myself as a fan of someone who was defining their identity as "white trash" or a "ghetto chick".
    More to the point, it's doesn't have to involve anything as ugly as class prejudice as such. It can just be that I don't *like* conservative Christianity, right-wing Republicanism, flag-waving pro-America 'patriotism', pickup truck driving and Nascar. I'm afraid of being identified with any of those things, and would be even if none of them were at all associated with racism. They are just icky in my book. So it's hard to determine every possible source of my revulsion to redneckism.
    "see, now this is what happens to your mind when you go mess about over at G-Lad's blog"
    harsh man, fuckin harsh.

  • Isabel says:

    "Having established that the term "redneck" has a ton of class and cultural baggage, I think that internet tradition dictates that those who use it as an insult be called out on privilege, or something, but I'm not experienced enough in that particular internet tradition to know how to go about it.
    Posted by: Alex | January 5, 2010 9:20 PM"
    This is a great suggestion, Alex. My understanding is the "internet tradition" is that the person who used the insulting term apologizes and "cops" to their privilege, or something like that.
    The snag is that around here, class and cultural privileges are not considered real privileges, and even those who grudgingly admit they exist generally refuse to discuss them.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    So whaddaya think peeps? Are we making any progress seeing the way things look to someone not ourselves? Getting down the road on what PalMD tried to express? Or are we still fixated on our personal victimhood as being the only valid one?

    Projecting or something, BM? Personal victimhood never showed up above. All I see is people objecting to your leaping from "redneck" to "bigot I don't want to be associated with" when we know damn well that's nothing but prejudice.

  • Matt Carmody says:

    I stopped paying attention to anything Armstrong did and stopped buying Sheryl Crow's music when they visited the last war criminal we had in the White House at his faux ranch in Texas.
    The people a man associates with define him or at least provide a clue of his beliefs or lack thereof. Armstrong's work in promoting cancer research will never save as many lives as the number of innocent men, women, and children we've already killed and will continue to kill in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan.

  • Sometimes the obliviousness of people around here disgusts me. Ping.

  • DSKS says:

    Maybe Lost Academic is right that their's some regional misunderstanding here.
    I hear the term "redneck" used frequently in good ol' Missourah, but in six years I've never heard it used in a manner intending reference to a person's level of tolerance for ethnic and cultural diversity. In fact, it's rarely even used in the traditional sense of slurring somebody's personal wealth anymore. Shit, just go down to the lake of the Ozarks in the summer and marvel at all the thoroughly self-styled rednecks sailing 40ft yachts through the E. coli. Among these folk, "redneck" is a term of endearment, and I don't doubt they have like-minded countrymen in Texas, too.
    In St. Louis city, redneck is a fairly broad term used to refer to the white folk from "the counties" that tend to jam up the metro on game day and Mardi Gras; again, there wealth and tolerance is irrelevant. If people want to rip on the poor white folk (e.g. those in the southern parts of the city), "cracker" is the pejorative of choice, and that isn't used to define racists either.
    In contrast, the predominantly Italian neighbourhood on The Hill is notoriously racist but the occupants are hardly rednecks.

  • bikemonkey says:

    nobody said bigotry was only to be found in people that one would call redneck holmes.
    Isis- you slay me. here I was all ready to make nice and you go and do that....

  • DSKS says:

    Am I mistaken in thinking that the central theme of the post was the idea that you felt less for Armstrong because you believe he used the term "redneck" to infer that his colleague was backwards and racist? Because that's what I read into it.
    Given the wide use of the word by large parts of the country in a manner that rarely touches on the economic interpretation of the slur, let alone bearing connotations of "racist", haven't we established that perhaps you're over reacting?
    Now, if you have evidence that Lance grew up in an area in which "redneck" = "racist confederate-loving skinhead", then you might be onto something.

  • bikemonkey says:

    no, DSKS, this is not about Lance. This is about how some people feel when faced with the consideration that someone they follow in professional entertainment might express beliefs and actions that are abhorrent. Just like Pal was trying to communicate.
    Of course, comment threads being what they are, the post is now also about defenders of poor whites and their typical inability to get past their obsession with their personal alleged social/cultural handicaps to understand the experiences of others.

  • Rev Matt says:

    @bikemonkey I thought your point came across perfectly clearly, but as you note some people obsessed over a term rather than the context of it's usage and went nuts. The core point you and Pal are making still stands as instructional.

  • DSKS says:

    Alright, fair play and mea culpa. I was conflating the original post with BMs later comments (e.g. #3, from where the topic was derailed into a defence of a very rickety personal definition of "redneck").
    As it is, the Armstrong example was a v. poor pairing with Keillor's clear broadside on non-Christians. The Mel Gibson example is much more fitting.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    the post is now also about defenders of poor whites and their typical inability to get past their obsession with their personal alleged social/cultural handicaps to understand the experiences of others.

    You might want it to be about that, but that's you writing the lines for others.
    Prejudice is prejudice: there aren't any good flavors, it's all shit. As soon as you make it OK to stereotype one group, nobody is safe.

  • bikemonkey says:

    Oh, I think it has been made quite clear in this thread, including the reference to online dictionary definitions, and Isis' post that this is more than just a rickety personal definition, DSKS. Perhaps a minority view around these parts but isn't that the larger point? Minority viewpoints and coming to appreciate the same?
    DC, you and Isabel make your point quite clearly. You feel as though "redneck" is a categorical slur based on poverty, appearance and geography. Since I made it quite clear that I do not use and was not using it this way, what's your beef?
    I fully grasp your position vis a vis socioeconomic privilege and how those who think of themselves on the butt end of the term redneck deployed as such a slur feel. I simply don't happen to agree that being from a poor, white rural background (even if you are a New Atheist or pick your faked up discriminated minority) puts you on an even footing with what is faced by blacks, a few other tanfolk and Jews.

  • Isabel says:

    "Given the wide use of the word by large parts of the country in a manner that rarely touches on the economic interpretation of the slur,"
    It is always understood to mean lower class and rural, or having those roots. And the racist part is largely projected. THEY are racists. WE are not. It's called "othering" - ever heard of it folks? When used within the group and affectionately 'redneck' can mean many things, like having simple tastes, not liking to dress up, or as in this case having a few cars or pick-up trucks. Or living life "their way" and so on, not what they see as controlled by the govt., which has not been the friend of rural people. When used outside the group it is usually used pejoratively. And it is an incredibly hypocritical term for self-proclaimed progressives to use. Unless you are using it in an affectionate in-group manner.
    Read Goad's book and let's all meet back here in a week and continue the discussion okay? You can even read some of it online with the link above.
    "people obsessed over a term rather than the context of it's usage and went nuts. "
    This NEVER happens around here! HAHAHAHA
    Isis, YOU are disgusting. Hey everyone, go look at all the cherry picked pics of rich powerful white toothless rednecks on Ice-Ass's blog! Have a good laugh at their expense and leave feeling more enlightened (and superior of course).
    OR you can read Goad's analysis of the use of the words "nigger" and "redneck". He did his own search with some pretty interesting results.
    Ice-Ass wants us to sympathize with the brown people who hear a white person referred to with a stereotypical slur that particularly refers to low class rural white people who are so ignorant they supposedly hate anyone who's different. Those targeted with the slur do not deserve our attention because they clearly deserve it. They are the Other.
    All upper class (i.e. classy) whites know stereotyping and racism is bad, and they never do it! Racism is the fault of and is practiced by only ignorant rednecks! If it weren't for ignorant rednecks, there wouldn't be any racism. HAHAHAHAHA. Good luck with that philosophy BM is all I can say.
    Hey Ice-Ass did you ever fill out that privilege meme?
    You are all babies afraid to read Jim Goad's book. Wimps!

  • Vicki says:

    OK, I'm missing something here. And it's not just that "redneck" can apparently mean several different things.
    My question is, why is Lance Armstrong's offhand reference to someone as "the redneck" sufficient for you to condemn that person? If it's "Chris 'the Redneck' Horner gets a blog," wouldn't the obvious thing to do be to look at the blog and see if there's evidence that Horner is racist or otherwise prejudiced? Maybe Armstrong is using the word differently than you are, or maybe he thought it was funny to call someone a redneck whether he is or not.

  • becca says:

    "Since I made it quite clear that I do not use and was not using it this way, what's your beef? "
    Well, you don't *think* you are. I attempted to point out that it's easy for classism, or just disagreements over *taste* (smugly: or lack thereof) can sneak in under the radar when it comes to feeling skquiked out about this particular word.
    "I simply don't happen to agree that being from a poor, white rural background (even if you are a New Atheist or pick your faked up discriminated minority) puts you on an even footing with what is faced by blacks, a few other tanfolk and Jews."
    No oppression Olympics around here. Nope. Not at all. This is also borderline strawman when addressing D.C. (although it is par for Isabel's arguments).
    Though Isabel's point makes me wonder. How many people are self-identified rednecks and self-identified progressives?

  • Isabel says:

    "Since I made it quite clear that I do not use and was not using it this way, what's your beef? "
    You were using the term to mean "racist-sexist-homophobe like those ignorant low-class rural whites."
    You do not get to pick the terms that define other groups of people. As was asked above why not just say "bigot" or "racist"?
    And Is-ass'post proves nothing except that she's a simple-minded, entitled and hypocritical ass herself.

  • bikemonkey says:

    My question is, why is Lance Armstrong's offhand reference to someone as "the redneck" sufficient for you to condemn that person?
    since you are apparently incapable of reading for comprehension the first time, let's try a more hands on didactic exercise. Find me the quote where I "condemn" Horner. Or hell, even Lancie-poo for the act of calling Horner "The Redneck" for that matter.

  • Funky Fresh says:

    Isabel, you're a real dumbass. You do understand that "redneck" was not used here as a slur or pejorative, but apparently a term of endearment?
    I mean, surely your reading comprehension skills are at least that good.

  • As the guy who escaped the deep south after many years I must say we use redneck to denote someone who acts in a foolish manner and has close minded ideas at least if they are note prejudice too! But leave NASCAR out of this, I spent many a weekend at Darlington and Charlotte speedways. The nickname does give the guy the connotation that he is the Larry the Cable Guy of bike racing though. So if he wants to attract the Bubba Army or Confederate flag t-shirt wearing folks keep the moniker but I think I'd rather shrug it off.

  • Isabel says:

    Get lost Fucky Face you idiot. The post is about bikemonkey's interpretation of the word.
    I see over at Isis' place Zuska has helpfully informed us that some nudnick comedian has totally "re-branded" the word and it now means "a white person who is sneakily reveling in white pride" - along with all the horrors that implies. Thanks Zuska!
    Now the wimps around here won't have to actually educate themselves or read Goad's book.

  • bikemonkey says:

    So if he wants to attract the Bubba Army or Confederate flag t-shirt wearing folks keep the moniker
    Crap. you had to go there, didn't you? See, I love this sport. I'd like to be able to get good coverage of the races on the teevee. I'd like to see an active velodrome in every major city and, hell, while I'm dreaming, perhaps a professional track circuit?
    all this would require broadening the sport to a larger audience than it currently enjoys. If I was a guy like Lance Armstrong who seems very aware of promoting cycling...damn straight I'd try to Bubba* up the perception of cycling if this was my only agenda.
    *From what I can glean from my Euro colleagues the funny thing is that pro cycling is considered a blue collar sport over there. Any euro people have an additional read on that?

  • Very eye-opening blog post and comments. I had no idea that some people thought redneck = bigot.
    For my two-cents, I'm a white girl who grew up in the South, and we would call someone a redneck for any of the following behavior: driving a big truck; speaking with the Southern rural dialect (not just having a Southern accent, but using improper construction such as "I ain't no redneck"); having an affinity for guns, hunting, and/or taxidermy; having old cars on blocks in the yard; or having fond ideas about the southern confederacy. Being racist or bigoted isn't on that list. Being Baptist or born-again Christian isn't on that list. Being Republican isn't on the list. Being poor or rural isn't on that list. Because if the definition of redneck also included racist, bigoted, Baptist, Christian, Republican, poor, and rural people, it would include almost everyone in the South, and then it's no fun anymore to call someone a name if you fall into that category, too.
    Maybe you should do a poll, bikemonkey, and do a cross-correlation study of who associates redneck with what. I suspect that white Southerners are more along the lines of my definition, a suspicion supported by the comments in your post. (Lance, by the way, is a Texan, which is close enough to being Southern that I suspect he's with me on this one.) I'm curious as to what demographics positively correlate with redneck = bigot. Anyone who hasn't spent time as a white person in the South? Anyone who isn't white?

  • Isabel says:

    I just checked this amazon link to see how much of the book is avaliable online
    http://www.amazon.com/Redneck-Manifesto-Hillbillies-Americas-Scapegoats/dp/0684838648
    and though it's not much, it does include most of the redneck/nigger internet word search analysis I mentioned above, which makes a nice counterpoint to Ice-Ass' post.
    (keep in mind he was doing this internet searching in relatively ancient pre-google times, which helpfully kept his results of a manageable size at least).

  • BM if you want to make cycling popular you have to get kids into it at a young. Such is what happened with the soccer phenomenon in the 80's/90's as my parents handed me a set of cleats, set me loose on the field, and told me not to embarrass the family.

  • Isabel says:

    "Being poor or rural isn't on that list. "
    Samantha,
    A number of items on your list indicate a person who is poor (or surely someone who is at least lower-class) or rural.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I just rescued DSKS' comment now at #21 from the spam filter and was struck by something.
    People need to be careful not to get there foot caught in the stirrups when they set about riding that high horse.
    Now I don't usually get all getoffamy lawn with the Internet Age youngsters but are you freaking kidding me?
    You take a one-definition online teaser dictionary entry and that's good enough for you? That suffices for a citation?
    Even going to an only slightly more expanded online dictionary for "redneck" and you find something about being a bigot listed in a variety of dictionaries.
    This is the dumbest sort of quote/link mining DSKS (et al.) because it is so easily falsified.
    Another important point. Wikipedia sucks ass as a sole reference. Really. Some entries may be the best encylopedic entry in the world but others can be really, really incomplete.

  • Wikipedia is absolutely fine if you are looking for simple matters of fact: Who was the coach of Nebraska when they won the Rose Bowl in 190fuckever? When you are looking for answers to questions that require judgment and/or scholarship, it is worthless. And if you are looking for a sense of consensus social understanding of something, it is less than worthless.

  • Funky Fresh says:

    Isabel, you're adorably defensive when you realize I am right.
    It is not at all about BM's interpretation of the word. It about him wondering what others who self-identify as that word mean. If you want the real answer, go read Zuska's comment on Isis's post. Looks like Isis has had it right all along.

  • DSKS says:

    Alright, calm down, I didn't put that out there as the Last Word, I was responding to the suggestion made in several comments that "redneck" was widely and clearly considered a definitive reference to bigotry. In which case, appealing to references reflecting the general views of the public on meaning, such as dictionaries and publicly editable encyclopedias, to challenge this isn't off base at all, especially in a blog rather than peer-reviewed literary journal. Besdies others had already responded with academic references.
    Besides, an agreement has since been made - at least I think it was - that the bigot interpetation of redneck is probably a minority view. BUT I agree also that this isn't necessarily a reason to dismiss that interpretation.
    Ultimately, this whole thing really kicked off as a result of the comments taking on a life of their own as of #2, after which it all became an issue of the definition of "redneck"; the main point of the post being to simply explore the theme of fallen stars inspired by the Keillor article.
    It just would have been easier to have emphasised the Mel Gibson example

  • Katharine says:

    I'm white and female and from the North and when I call someone a 'redneck', I am calling them an uneducated racist misogynist homophobic freak.

  • bikemonkey says:

    DSKS, I'll cop to being slightly over the top in asserting the bigotry definition as the only one.
    I think you are off-base in considering it a binary definition though. I think what you mean is that the majority definition is the all-encompassing one that includes a suspicion of increased, but not inevitable, bigotry as part of it. Along the lines of "yeah, he doesn't even own a pickup, but he's still a redneck". I.e., a person doesn't have to hit on all diagnostic characteristics and yet the majority might still consider those characteristics to be part of the super definition.
    And I will go so far as to assert that many people have a limited subset of characteristics which, to them, are class defining but may not be so for others. You can see this in this thread and in Isis' discussion. Poverty, rurality, lawn ornamentation...

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    I'm white and female and from the North and when I call someone a 'redneck', I am calling them an uneducated racist misogynist homophobic freak.

    But will they come when you do call them?
    When you hear someone else calling someone "redneck" would you bet the farm that they mean the same thing you do?

  • Isabel says:

    Fucky Face you are a complete idiot.
    Is-ass' thread, like her, is revoltingly offensive and I already commented on Zuska's irrelevant comment. Go over there to read one judgemental comment after another. Such wonderful, superior human beings, all patting themselves on the back....hilarious!
    Why are people arguing about Wikipedia of all things rather than about Jim Goad's definition?
    You don't get to decide the definition!
    There has been no response to the fact that two people on this thread feel the connotations of lack of privilege are reason enough to not use the term as a synonym for bigot in the online forums. You have not even shown the slightest evidence that the group you are referring to is any more bigoted than anyone else on the planet. Good luck with that.
    More of the usual laughable sanctimony on ScienceBlogs.

  • Who the fucking fuck is Jim Goad, and why the fucking fuck should anyone give a flying fuck?

  • Funky Fresh says:

    I don't think anyone gives two fucks about this Goad guy.
    Is it a hard life to always be so oppressed, Isabel?

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    You don't get to decide the definition!

    Of course you do. The problem is that you can't stop everyone else from doing the same, and they don't have to use yours.

  • Isabel says:

    "Who the fucking fuck is Jim Goad, and why the fucking fuck should anyone give a flying fuck?
    Posted by: Comrade PhysioProf | January 6, 2010 7:44 PM"
    Read the thread. Why should I repeat everything six times? See #33, #40, #52 and #62 above.
    You are all too wimpy and too deluded to handle Goad though I think.
    Stick with Jeff Foxworthy. After all, he's a friendly comedian who has single-handedly re-branded the term!

  • You're the one who's all fired up the we need to pay attention to this Joad choad. Your loss.

  • Isabel says:

    Nope, actually it's YOUR loss and pathetic that you don't realize it.

  • What's so fucking great about this Choad dude that I'm missing out on?

  • Funky Fresh says:

    HA HA HA! Goad Choad!!!

  • Isabel says:

    Try clicking on the link. You can do it CPP!
    He's a fucking great writer for one thing.
    Also, he's on your reading list, as I mentioned above.

  • ginger says:

    "My question is, why is Lance Armstrong's offhand reference to someone as "the redneck" sufficient for you to condemn that person?
    since you are apparently incapable of reading for comprehension the first time, let's try a more hands on didactic exercise. Find me the quote where I "condemn" Horner. Or hell, even Lancie-poo for the act of calling Horner "The Redneck" for that matter. "
    I am going to rephrase this question, because I think it's an important one - why would you bypass Horner's Twitters and blog (last para of your original post) because Lance Armstrong calls him "the redneck"? Do you know whether Horner accepts, much less likes, the nickname? Lance Armstrong is a brilliant athlete and big into his cancer charity, but he's by all accounts also an egotistical dick. (Admittedly, pro cycling is full of those.) It's not wholly unimaginable that someone on his team may put up with a loathsome nickname just because it's Lance who tagged him and Lance is King of Everything.
    If Lance had nicknamed him "N----rlover", it would say a lot more about Lance than about Horner; why assume that this isn't about Armstrong being a dick, too?

  • bikemonkey says:

    I am going to rephrase this question, because I think it's an important one
    If you really think this is so important than why are you trying so hard to fail to comprehend the original phrasing and to fail to read subsequent refinements of my position in the discussion?

  • MonkeyPox says:

    I'm thinking that all these rednecks should chill the fuck out. Why all the offence? If someone is keeping you down, fight the man, go about your business like it ain't no thing. No one can keep you down less you let them.

  • becca says:

    Isabel- I checked out Jim Goad. I read snipets of his book on Google books since it's not in a library I have access to right now.
    You know what? He's right. The racism problem is enormous. Yet it's still dwarfed by the classism problem.
    Indeed, if we can get over our own US-centricity, and look at things worldwide, the problem is even more obvious.
    Ultimately, there will be no true equality until blacks and whites (and every other color) band together and throw off the chains of rabid capitalism.
    Let's be honest, people pretend inequality = racism (or inequality = "racism, misogyny and homophobia") to actually avoid having to take the insanely difficult road of REAL change. Getting outraged and sickened by Obvious Racism (google "Luis Ramirez" for the kind of stuff that I've spent energy being outraged and sickened by) is actually an *easier* way out than getting outraged and sickened by, say, all the children living in poverty in this country (which is obviously a race issue *and* a class issue). I say this because knowing how enormous a problem childhood poverty is makes fixing it seem really HARD (and, although I am *intellectually* outraged and sickened by it, I don't have enough fortitude to muster up the emotional response it probably deserves. Basically, the problem is paralyzingly ugly to me. Though if anyone has suggestions on something I can do...).
    So Isabel, are you ready to join the Socialist Party USA to actually change class disparities?
    Are you willing to marry someone of another race as the most essential aspect of eliminating race as a concept so that we can stop getting distracted by it?
    Are you willing to spend your life trying to cure malaria, because as awful as poverty is in this country, the fact that any human is poor enough that $1/day medicines are too expensive is one of the most shocking and outrageous problems on earth?
    Because if you're not willing to do those kinds of things... Well... then I'd be inclined to think you think all this complaining about discrimination is a muppethugging carebear teaparty that you just have to get in on, and you don't really want to change anything.

  • Isabel says:

    "So Isabel, are you ready to join the Socialist Party USA to actually change class disparities? "
    Becca,
    You were doing great up until this point.
    Why does pointing out the hypocrisy of pretending all will be well and we'll all be "equal" when we stop being racists (or when we get the "whites" or the rednecks to stop being racists) and its attendant attacks on individuals by PC police require that I also join the socialist party? Why are you only holding MY feet to the fire when it comes to action?
    btw, you and others keep saying I'm complaining about discrimination, when my main complaints have been about hypocrisy and scapegoating.
    And why do you assume I am not doing some of those things? (I am). For example, I have spent 1000's of hours, mostly volunteer, working with disadvantaged children, which in my current geographical situation means black and latino children. Whatever. I've been there, and they're all just kids to me.
    I'm increasingly afraid that what we are going to have to do is learn to accept inequality. If we ever grow up, that is. Goad's response is to become completely cynical, but I haven't reached that point quite yet, though I'm coming to the depressing conclusion that when human societies achieve a certain level of population density they gradually, but inevitably, adopt a stratified social insect level of organization. And anyway, haven't socialism and utopianism failed? What is left?
    I try to at least look at what is going on honestly and with my eyes open. Sorry if that is not enough for you.

  • Isabel says:

    "Isabel- I checked out Jim Goad. I read snipets of his book on Google books since it's not in a library I have access to right now."
    Although this highly regarded book is in something like its 6th printing, is incredibly popular (see the endless pages of enthused reader reviews on the amazon site) and even required reading for some college classes, I have never found a library with a copy of it.
    It's cheap though, and worth buying (you can always pass it on). Practically the entire book is quotable.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ha, Jim Goad - wow, I haven't thought about him in years and years. Sorry. I lived in Portland in the 90s. His screeds used to fit nicely in the throbbing-forehead-vein section of stream-of-consciousness.
    Anyway.
    "Trying so hard"? I asked one question. Which you are not so much answering. You maybe have me confused with someone else.
    Look, it's a shame when it turns out someone you admire for his/her athleticism (or humor writing or finely shaped hands) is revealed to be a bigot, because bigotry pretty much trumps accomplishment. But I still think you're blaming the wrong person here, and you're concluding bigotry based on a nickname.
    "Redneck" is pretty much an insult, in my experience, largely because it connotes bigotry (well, and ignorance and poor hygiene and sister-diddling). I think it's a pity the interviewer didn't do a little probing to find out why Horner's The Redneck. Is it about Horner, or is it about Armstrong? Is it because Horner has a suthun accent, or because of his politics, or because he likes
    (I admit I am dickishly skeptical where Armstrong is concerned - he's an absolutely brilliant, once in a century phenomenal physical and mental talent, and an inspiration to people with cancer and their families, but that doesn't make him a nice guy. And he didn't show any interest in cancer until it was literally his own balls at stake.)

  • ginger says:

    That was me. Sorry.

  • ginger says:

    Please to disregard unfinished sentence. Assume it was supposed to end with something like "hoppin' john".

  • All American Asshat says:

    It's cheap though, and worth buying (you can always pass it on). Practically the entire book is quotable.

    Unless you're poor and white and can't afford it.

  • Isabel says:

    Purusing Ice-Ass' post's comments this morning I kept shaking my head at the rampant hypocrisy. However the last comment bears repeating here. Sums things up nicely:
    So in response to Make in #67, only an ignoramus would make the assumption that all "rednecks" are bigoted. Making the assumption that all rednecks are racists is not different than making the assumption that all blacks are criminals or all hispanics are illegal aliens. Of course for all 3 groups some are, but that does not mean that all are.
    Posted by: Mike | January 7, 2010 12:14 PM
    I mean, what difference does it make what someone's definition of redneck is? I can't believe this is being seriously discussed, complete with references to inbreeding, ignorance, Deliverance, the whole shebang- all by people who are stereotyping and looking down their noses at the group being mockingly analyzed. This is also a powerless group, at least a lot less powerful than the academics having the discussion.
    Hey bikemonkey, you never answered my question - do you think racism will disappear if all the rednecks see the light?

  • Mike says:

    I see my comment was moderated. What was my horrible comment that must not be seen by others? That only an ignorant person would make the assumption that all rednecks are racist.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I see my comment was moderated. What was my horrible comment that must not be seen by others?
    Was it here? I didn't delete anything and I don't see it in the spam filter. Only PP and I (and the overlords) have comment editing privileges at DM so I doubt it was anyone else..

  • DSKS says:

    BikeMonkey,
    "I think you are off-base in considering it a binary definition though. I think what you mean is that the majority definition is the all-encompassing one that includes a suspicion of increased, but not inevitable, bigotry as part of it."
    Yes, that's more where I was going with it. At that point I was addressing the off-topic issue of whether it was legitimate to suspect something dark in the appropriation of this term by two professional sportsmen; so I was simply appealing to the majority view to suggest that this was unlikely an indicator of sinister sentiments.
    However, after thinking about the term and its current use more deeply (much like Pascale describes over on the Isis blog), it's hard not to conclude that there is a kernel of white conservative pride skulking at the root of the matter; not so much the consciously covert form, but more the indirect and unconscious consequence of certain contemporary political realities.

  • However, after thinking about the term and its current use more deeply (much like Pascale describes over on the Isis blog), it's hard not to conclude that there is a kernel of white conservative pride skulking at the root of the matter; not so much the consciously covert form, but more the indirect and unconscious consequence of certain contemporary political realities.

    *EPIPHANY*

  • becca says:

    Because if you *don't* join the socialist party, you are the big smelly hypocrite. Joining the socialist party would be living your principles, if your principles really include giving a d*** about poverty.
    And really, if you don't give a d*** about poverty, why on earth would you even bother pointing out hypocrisy? If I say I like the color blue, but I buy a red shirt, are you really going to give me a hard time and assign me a reading list for my edification? If so, just go play with CPP, he seems to like arguing for argument's sake.
    Look, either you're a small minded obsessive freak who can't help but point out when somebody wants to buy a red shirt, OR you think there's actually a problem in the way poor people in this country are treated. If it's the later, join the socialist party, don't attack people who are trying to break down racism.
    "And anyway, haven't socialism and utopianism failed? What is left?"
    Bullshit. Now, "utopianism" will fail, by definition. Utopia means, literally, "no place". It is an impossible-to-totally-achieve-ideal. That's what it means.
    But socialism != utopianism. It just doesn't. To a degree, we already have a socialized system. Europeans tend to have a much higher degree of socialism, and Scandinavian countries even more so. It does not fail. It is real. It works.
    *Here I mean equality of opportunity not some kind of mockable strawliberal of everybody is exactly the same. Capitalism obviously does a piss-poor job at dealing with e.g. childhood poverty. That is injustice; it is clearly a lack of equality of opportunity; it must be opposed.

  • Funky Freshabel says:

    This is also a powerless group, at least a lot less powerful than the academics having the discussion.

    Oh dear. The irony.

  • Isabel says:

    "Oh dear. The irony."
    yes the irony.
    Becca, go to hell. You are telling me to shut up. The people trying to do something about racism are not just ignoring class issues (itself a monstrous omission) they are doing it with an annoying holier-than-thou attitude.
    You seem to like arguing too. And oh I see you married a half-black man! Wow! You must be so enlightened! No wonder you suggested it to me!
    What a joke!

  • becca McSnarky says:

    Oh, so it's "you're a small minded obsessive freak". Very well.
    Actually we aren't married. I might propose to him if the country legalizes same sex marriages though. I'm *that* enlightened. /insufferable smugness.
    Alright izzie dear, NOW you should shut up.

  • cashmoney says:

    they are doing it with an annoying holier-than-thou attitude.
    blink. blink. *blink*.....BWAAHAHHAAHAHHAHAAAAAHAHAAAA!!!!!!!!!

  • DSKS says:

    #96
    Not quite an "I WINZ TEH INTERNETZ" situation, unless you're referring to the "epiphany" that there was some confusion as to who was talking about what here.
    Besides, as link mining goes, my humble efforts were put firmly in the shade by that sublime trawling expedition through Google images 😉

  • Isabel says:

    Becca,
    You are missing the ENTIRE point. No one here is trying to break down racism, at least not any harder than I am.
    They are busy blaming it on someone else, on people who are not even in power! But gee, racsim=power! HAHAHA. Do you not see the exquisite irony of upper-class people (the ones in power) blaming racism and bigotry of all sorts on lower--class people?
    Are you really surprised that the lower class people do not respond like meek little angels?
    So Becca, what are you doing here? trying to bring down racism? Exactly how?
    And shouldn't people against unearned inequality be just as passionate as I am on the subject of classism?

  • becca says:

    "So Becca, what are you doing here? trying to bring down racism? Exactly how?"
    Here I'm actually more trying to bring down classism. That's the funny part. I'm 'on your side'.
    I'm trying to do so by deconstructing my own redneck revulsion.
    I'm also hoping to withdraw some of the social capital I have hopefully built up (granted probably not with bikemonkey, but probably with D.C. and Isis) to try to get some people to see that fear of rednecks is all wound up with classism (or at least tolerance thereof), and identifying as redneck is all wound up with racism (or at least tolerance thereof). There are severe and deep (but not inevitable) societal problems here, and frankly I'm glad there was finally a meaningful segue into discussing them. For that, I have to tip my hat to bikemonkey- typically, bringing up classism is legitimately viewed as derailing, but 'redneck' allows us to discuss both classism and racism.
    Now if we could all just get over ourselves and our oppression olympics, maybe we could get into actually working out what to do about those things...

  • bikemonkey says:

    Oh becca. You know perfectly well that every time you take the piss outta DM and CPP you are building up social capital with me. You have plenty banked by my estimation.

  • Funky Fresh says:

    Are you really surprised that the lower class people do not respond like meek little angels?

    You might not be lower class if you stopped playing on the internet all day and got a job.

  • Isabel says:

    "Now if we could all just get over ourselves and our oppression olympics, maybe we could get into actually working out what to do about those things..."
    Who are you talking to here? Who is playing oppression olympics? How is it exactly that things are not going the way you'd like? I thought we WERE having a discussion and you started getting on my case about me not joining the socialist party and telling me I should marry a black man like you did etc etc. WTF??? That shit has no place in the discussion. Attacking me, who at least has fought pretty valiantly around here to get people to even consider the subject of class, and has suffered for it (no I don't enjoy being ridiculed and called loony for insisting class should not be left out of discussions of inequality). Jeez. I do my part, believe me.
    Notice how bringing up class regularly, though by no means constantly or in unusual amounts, leads to me being called (including by you) obsessive; when I argue that it is part of a situation being discussed I am screamed at for trying to make it all about class, or saying it is worse, or saying it is just as bad, when I have said nothing of the kind. it's a fear reaction, I understand that, but I do not enjoy it.
    However, this has helped me to organize my thoughts and sharpen my arguments. In any event, I wish you would stop judging me please Becca. I think I've been judged enough.
    "typically, bringing up classism is legitimately viewed as derailing, but 'redneck' allows us to discuss both classism and racism."
    I think discussing class here HAS been viewed as derailing. I think that was the point of Isis' post among others.

  • " typically, bringing up classism is legitimately viewed as derailing"
    Only by people who think racism can be considered as a spherical cow.

  • becca says:

    I have never seen a purple cow, I never hope to see one. But I can tell you here and now, I'd rather see, than be one.

  • Isabel says:

    You may be...
    If you don't stop to consider your words and how they may be heard by the intended listener. If, when it is pointed out to you that the words you use may mean something in particular to the listener, you insist they are wrong because you "meant" something else.
    If a listener tells you how they feel about your behavior and you tell them they must have misunderstood.
    Posted by: PalMD | January 25, 2010 12:24 PM

  • bikemonkey says:

    I am now full on board with how you feel about my concept of redneck, Isabel. Are you grasping how I feel about the RedNeckLabelTM?
    And can our mutual understanding do anything to alter the society-wide detrimental impact of the bigoted, racist and anti-progress elements that abound the poor white class of folk? Because I don't see where your arguments about poor whites really addresses anything. How are your impassioned pleas getting that population focused on the real enemy, which in your book is the oligarchy I take it.

  • Isabel says:

    How is the "poor white class of folk" causing "the society-wide detrimental impact" of ANYTHING?
    Everywhere else we agree that racism in the US is nowadays primarily "institutional" right? So how the hell do we then turn around and blame it on the lower classes? Do they control the institutions, in your mind?
    My feeling is if we stopped scapegoating, as much fun as it is, and started getting specific, we might figure out where that society wide impact is coming from.

  • Isabel says:

    Also, I have said this before but it bears repeating here, if you want to get a group of people on board with anything, the first thing you do NOT want to do is call them insulting names, tell them they are stupid and the cause of all of society's ills, and then inform them how you want them to think and behave from here on in.
    Some supposedly intelligent people have a real hard time understanding this.
    They are lower class, but they are not stupid. They've been shit on all their lives, and they've got hugely overgrown bullshit detectors.

  • Isabel says:

    Oh, and it works both ways. You need to find out what THEIR concerns are and then take those concerns seriously.
    For example, white working class income has stagnated since the 70's. Millions of jobs have been lost. The democrats have not helped them when they have been in power, nor have the progressives with their push for more immigration (which hurts working class incomes).
    Meanwhile progressives have replaced populist ideals with vague ideals of diversity and multiculturalism.

  • bikemonkey says:

    How is the "poor white class of folk" causing "the society-wide detrimental impact" of ANYTHING?
    because they vote. good god, do we have to inch through this in babysteps? Are you seriously trying to pretend that you are talking about some tiny insignificant minority that has absolutely no voter impact?
    We do not by any means agree that all racism is "institutional". The right wing oligarchical chattering class probably isn't even personally all that racist, they just know that by pandering to the racism and bigotry and fear of a certain segment of the US population they trick them into voting against their own interests and in favor of the right wing oligarchical interests (see tax policy that favors the top 0.01%).
    if you want to get a group of people on board with anything, the first thing you do NOT want to do is call them insulting names, tell them they are stupid and the cause of all of society's ills, and then inform them how you want them to think and behave from here on in.
    ok, fine. You tell me what evidence there is that patient, high minded intellectual discourse results in assclowns stopping their clownery and changing their attitudes and behavior. Tell me how that is superior to what amounts to public shaming and a consistent drumbeat telling them that no, their mysogyny or racism or homophobia is just not acceptable in polite company thank you very much. Explain to me how we go to the point where a black guy could be elected president of the US by any means other than a decades long fight to tell public racists to sit down and shut up.
    Really, I'm all fucking ears.
    ps. The goal is not to convert entrenched idiots. The goal is to head off the creation of new ones.

  • Isabel says:

    "that patient,"
    sorry, sounds condescending
    "high minded intellectual discourse "
    sounds classist
    I think you missed comment #114.
    Also please be specific as to how they are voting against their own interests. How have the Democratic administrations looked out for the interests of working class Americans in the last 40 years?
    How do you know those oligarchs are not racist? And I don't even see how they are pandering to racism although I've heard the charge 100,000 times at least. And if they are isn't that Racism with a capital R since they are the fuckers in power?
    It maybe a bit irrational, but understandably human for people to vote against a party that makes it clear they hate and look down their noses at them, and that scapegoats them for every problem of society.
    We have the same enemy.

  • bikemonkey says:

    We have the same enemy.
    No, we don't. We may have somewhat similar goals but we place blame and responsibility for fixing in different places. You act as if the people, the voting masses, are all just ineffectual tools of the vast monied conspiracy. I don't agree with the "ineffectual" part. If dumbasses would stop listening to dumbass fear-mongering and anti-community splitting on the part of the right wing political element of the US we'd be doing a lot better.
    The reason the Democrats didn't do much more than they did over the past 30 years (and they've done lots of things for the poor and downtrodden) can be laid in large part to rest at their lily-livered capitulation to the political memes laid down by the Repubs- stretching from the reaganites to the bushrovian disaster we've just departed.
    If your beloved redneck class decided en masse tomorrow to start voting for tax policy, health policy and numerous other things that were in *their* economic and situational interests we'd be one hell of a lot better off. Even though corporate dollars talk loudly, they are only a means to votes when it comes to politicians, my friend. The trick is to get voters to stop being such willing tools of corporate interests.

  • Isabel says:

    "The reason the Democrats didn't do much more than they did over the past 30 years (and they've done lots of things for the poor and downtrodden)"
    First of all, I said 40 yrs, and I am not necessarily talking about the poorest and 'downtrodden'. The working classes do not want handouts, they want good jobs and a chance at upward mobility and a better life for their children.
    And everyone around here is so quick to make excuses for the inaction of the dems that my bs detector is going wild.
    "The trick is to get voters to stop being such willing tools of corporate interests. "
    And I keep patiently trying to help you with this part, and you refuse to listen.
    And you need to work on your assumptions of racism in the working classes (and funny how the 15% professional class is left out of the equation when the left is talking isn't it?) I grew up in a non-racist home, and no higher beings had to enlighten us first.
    Did you read Thedanka, as was recommended in the other thread?

  • Isabel says:

    http://archive.uua.org/ga/ga99/238thandeka.html
    Why Anti-Racism Will Fail, by Thandeka
    btw Thedanka is black, if that matters....looking forward to your response to this...

  • bikemonkey says:

    Do you really expect anyone to take this ridiculous straw argument seriously Isabel?

    took one of these workshops and read the accompanying material. As a result of these experiences, I learned three things:
    One. All whites in America are racists.
    Two. No blacks in American are racist. They're prejudiced just like everybody else, but they lack the power of institutional resources to force other racial groups to submit to their will. Thus they can't be racist because racism in this conceptual scheme is defined as prejudice + power.
    Three. Whites must be shown that they are racists and confess their racism.

    You can bring something better that that tired drivel. (and yes, tired drivel is tired drivel no matter the race of the person spouting it)

  • bikemonkey says:

    and just btw, Isabel, in all you defensive blather about how I am not getting you and how I am blaming the wrong people and all that tripe you have yet to answer the question.
    why do your favored poor whites continue to vote for the political party that turns right around and kicks them in their economic behind time after time after time?
    You have not explained this, nor connected the dots to upper middle class liberal disdain for rednecks.

  • Isabel says:

    You are clearly not reading my posts and I hate repeating myself.
    To recap
    1. Stop blaming
    2. Start including
    I tried to help you.
    You are clearly not budging so it's a waste of time.
    Result = more disasters.

  • bikemonkey says:

    You still have not answered the fundamental question. I suspect your continued evasion is because you cannot answer it save by admitting that I am right.
    1. A large swath of the voting public in the US consists of lower socioeconomic whites.
    2. The embody a great deal of bigotry and racism toward other fellow US citizens who they do not consider to be like them.
    3. The right wing political element preys upon this bigotry to drum up political fear.
    4. The right wing then uses this political capital to support economic policies which are directly against the economic interests of the poorer and less educated white citizens.
    5. Said citizens then continue to vote against their own economic interests because it makes them feel a clubbish security in that despite their situations sucking quite a bit, "at least we ain't black, gay, atheist or pointy-headed librul elites"
    Result = continual disaster for all, thanks to entrenched bigotry.

  • Isabel says:

    You are NOT right. You are especially revealing your unsubstantiated prejudices in numbers 2 and 3. I have brought this up a number of times. Where is your proof?
    You want to BE RIGHT.
    I want us all to work toward understanding each other. There is a lot at stake as you well know.
    This is a huge topic, and I may have to start my own blog to create a place where it can be discussed rationally. It is never going to happen around here, sadly.
    For example, to briefly touch on a few points: my point about the over immigration which is keeping people down. Or their anger over NAFTA, which they blame on Clinton, which contributed to outsourcing. And yes, the progressives do seem to be attacking and mocking their religion, while elevating other religions. And with all the disasters in the world, and the fact that many people have no jobs or hope for their futures, instead of focusing on these problems they are called bigots for not supporting more "inclusion" and "diversity" and "gay marriage" etc. Deep down they are probably as accepting as anyone, maybe more so, as working class people are more fair-minded and unpretentious than upper middle class in my experience. And NO ONE seems to care about their concerns. This leaves things wide open for other parties. It is so predictable. That is why I blame the liberals and progressives - for being so fucking stupid! It's psychology 101.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    And everyone around here is so quick to make excuses for the inaction of the dems that my bs detector is going wild.

    Huh. As far as I can tell, that refers to bikemonkey talking about "their lily-livered capitulation to the political memes laid down by the Repubs- stretching from the reaganites to the bushrovian disaster we've just departed." That's hardly an excuse. In fact, it reads rather like a condemnation.
    Of course, Isabel, I don't expect much more, particularly considering you like to point people at Thandeka but don't seem to have a clue that she's specifically criticizing a small movement, led largely by upper-class whites, to make racism go away by holding encounter groups on the subject. And I don't mean groups at which blacks and whites actually encounter each other. I'm talking about meetings at which whites grovel and feel absolved without taking any action to fix things.
    bikemonkey, can I assume your position would be a bit more nuanced if you weren't trying to hammer a point through a very thick skull?

  • Isabel says:

    Get lost loser. You think I am going to capture an entire issue with one comment on some dudes blog post? I tried to read a couple of threads over there at your boyfriends blog recently. You are one sick mama. If she's in BM, I'm outa here. Good Luck.

  • bikemonkey says:

    "deep down"?? I care about what people say, how they act and above all else their political behavior. Who gives a flying fig if somehow deep down they are really torn up about all the unnecessary pain they foist on the rest of us?

  • Isabel says:

    "about all the unnecessary pain they foist on the rest of us? "
    oh please. Scapegoat away.

  • Cashmoneyd says:

    You are the R.P. of the science blogosphere Isabel...Stay strong sister, stay strong.

  • anonymous says:

    Human communication or dialogue has an intrinsic element: the word as the fundamental expression of the human brain to reflect and act. A persistent separation of the two (reflection:action) makes our words unauthentic. Words consistently deprived of action become verbalisms and the absence of reflection turns our words into sheer activism. In either case, our dialogue becomes infertile because it is losing its essential ability to transform ourselves and the world we live in.
    I did not invent it. This and much more can be found in: Pedagogy of the oppressed
    by Paulo Freire.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Isabel, whether or not I'm a "sick mama" (1) is all a matter of your opinion and (2) has no bearing on the fact that you're arguing dishonestly and misrepresenting your sources. I have no intention of going away. Classism is one of the things I care pretty strongly about, and you keep trying to make the fight against it look bad.

  • Isabel says:

    How can I make something look bad that doesn't exist you mindless toady?
    Dishonest???? You're the fucking liar! Now get the hell out of here. Or stay. Nice job at ending the discussion. That helped.
    Well never mind, BM was fixated on picking his scabs anyway.
    Yeah, Bikemonkey too bad we can't just somehow eliminate all the racist sexist homophobe lower class White Americans and replace them with rainbow people. Then we won't have to deal with their concerns, I mean who gives a fuck anyway?
    Of course we'll keep the saintly Jews and the Hispanics whites like Ice Ass. And maybe the atheists. We just need to kill off all the Christian whites. Maybe Katherine can be in charge of that, it's her style. Then the people of the world will live is joyous harmony!

  • angel says:

    I just like redneck jokes but when some one makes me mad I put up my southern flag with my other flag..

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