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Redneck means something different to everyone

Katherine Snyder, Winfield High School

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A lot of people think West Virginia is the home of the rednecks. Being a redneck is part of our geographical area's history and continues to be a factor in many young people's lives.

But how do you know you're a redneck? Or what does it mean for a person to be a redneck?

According to dictionary.com, a redneck is an uneducated white farm worker, especially from the South. But history buffs might tell you otherwise. During a dispute between the United Mine Workers of America and mine owners, the people involved would tie red bandannas around their necks to show their loyalty to the union; they were called rednecks.

Those are some definitions of what society might call a redneck, but what do teens think the term means? Several Scott High School students gave their opinions:

"They ride a four-wheeler, go hunting and have tobacco with them. They say 'by god' a lot," said senior Thomas White.

"You think you can fix everything with duct tape, you have chew [tobacco] in your mouth, you say 'by god' a lot and wear stupid boots. You wear camo all the time, you go hunting, you wear rebel flags," said sophomore Shawn Estep.

"To have a very closed mindset on global issues and to cling to the beliefs of your ancestors, no matter how ignorant and racist you may be," said sophomore Gage Eddleman.

"To break a lot of stuff and to cuss really loud. Don't forget the tobacco," said junior Keaira Hager.

"You have to say 'by god' every sentence," said senior Mackenzie Ford.

"I think you personally don't care what other people think about you. You typically use some type of tobacco product, you wear boots, you don't care if your clothes are muddy or what people think about you. You're usually very scruffy looking and have somewhat of an accent," said senior Matt Walls.

None of the teens asked thought that they would be considered a redneck.

Now that you have seen what other teens think is a redneck, what do you think? Is a redneck a good 'ol country boy or an uneducated hick who cusses and chews tobacco?

What is the distinction at your school? Is it the same or completely different? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.


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