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Vol. 1, No. 2: Winter 1995

A Short History of Redneck: The Fashioning of a Southern White Masculine Identity

by Patrick Huber

Arkie, clay-eater, corn-cracker, compone, cracker, dirt-eater, hillbilly, hoosier, lowdowner, mean white, peckerwood, pinelander, poor buckra, poor white, poor white trash, redneck, ridge-runner, sandhiller, tacky, wool hat. . . . And this, of course, does not exhaust the list. Rural poor and working-class white southerners have endured a broad range of slurs throughout U.S. history, many derived from geographic regions, dietary habits, physical appearance, or types of clothing. Epithets aimed at urban poor white southerners are fewer and tend to focus on cotton-mill workers: cottonhead, cotton mill trash, cottontail, factory hill trash, factory rat, and linthead, for example. A few of the rural class slurs, especially redneck and hillbilly, are also applied indiscriminately to southern white migrants working in factories in Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, and other midwestern cities.

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
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