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Rednecks & Westies

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 13, 2003

In Reply to: Rednecks & Westies posted by ESC on December 13, 2003

: : : When someone is rigging something poorly, I've heard people say, "Well, you sure are an Afro Operator."

: : : There's another term along those lines.

: : In the previous comment, Lewis used the term 'Rednecks'. I've only ever heard this to be an American term. I assumed that this describes someone of a presumably lower intellect, perhaps from a lower socio-economic group. My partner disagrees saying that he thinks it refers more to an attitude, quoting when the 'rednecks' belted the proverbial out of the Easyriders. Although I'm not sure how that makes his view of rednecks different to mine.

: : So what exactly is a redneck? Is there a particular geographical area that they are confined to and how did this originate?

: : This sounds a bit like our term 'Westy'. In Melbourne and Sydney the western suburbs have traditionally been the working class suburbs. As a result, there's a certain 'attitude' that evolved from these areas, that has now generically been termed 'Westies'. Historically, Westies wore checked flannelette shirts, opened all the way to reveal dark blue singlets, and they wore ugg boots on their feet. That's changed now as you can spot a Westy even without that attire. They also speak and behave a certain way. As a result, because it's now an attitude rather than simply a location, a Westy can be found anywhere in Australia.

: : Is that similar to a Redneck?

: Sounds like it to me.


I've read dozens of explanations for "red necks," and I'm not in a position to vouch for any of them. But in my agricultural youth it was thought that "rednecks" got that way from conspicuousl differential exposure to the sun. These were farmers who, quite sensibly, wore hats. In fact, the hats were more often on the model of the ruined fedora than the straw hat. Not only did these farmers have red necks, but they had very pale foreheads, and sometimes pale faces and upper necks, while often there would be a sudden change (in front) where the shade from the hat ran out and there would be a red strip at the top of the open shirt. The farmers designated redneck mostly worked hard, and there was certainly a lot of residual resentment of blacks from the era of Reconstruction. Lillian Hellmann portrayed rednecks and white trash as pretty much the same, as vicious people with few redeeming virtues in "The Little Foxes," a play very popular in its time. SS