Thought Catalog
January 27, 2014

22 Important Differences Between Southerners And Rednecks

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Rednecks and Southerners both like biscuits and gravy. But only idiots don't like biscuits and gravy. Shutterstock
Rednecks and Southerners both like biscuits and gravy. But only idiots don’t like biscuits and gravy. Shutterstock

Please get it straight: Not all Southerners are rednecks. In fact, true Southerners have serious disdain for rednecks for giving us a bad name. There’s a reason why we capitalize “Southerner” but not “redneck”. But still, bless their hearts.*

Below is a list of distinctions to aid you in figuring out whether you’re dealing with a Southerner or a redneck:

  • Southern: Eating honeysuckle
  • Redneck: Chewing tobacco
  • Southern: Playing barefoot outside with your friends as a kid
  • Redneck: Going to the grocery store barefoot
  • Southern: Liking food Paula Deen would cook
  • Redneck: Liking Paula Deen
  • Southern: Having a truck
  • Redneck: Having any of the following on your truck: a lift kit, a Confederate flag, or any sticker that talks about guns, has the word “pussy”, or actually labels you as a “redneck”.
  • Southern: Food with a lot of butter
  • Redneck: Food with a lot of mayonnaise
  • Southern: Common family nicknames include “Junior” and “Sissy”
  • Redneck: Common family nicknames include “Bubba” and “Buzz”
  • Southern: Cracker Barrel
  • Redneck: Golden Corral
  • Southern: Elvis, Johnny Cash, The Allman Brothers, Lynard Skynard
  • Redneck: David Allan Coe, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins
  • Southern: Having pecan pie crumbs on your mouth
  • Redneck: Missing teeth from your mouth
  • Southern: Having at least one relative (even if distant and you’ve met them once) who owns horses
  • Redneck: Having at least one relative who’s had sex with a horse
  • Southern: Having an innocent crush on one of your cousins as a kid
  • Redneck: Doing literally anything about that crush
  • Southern: Having known a kid exactly like “Honey Boo Boo” in school
  • Redneck: Being that kid
  • Southern: Tailgating before a game
  • Redneck: Tailgating without having tickets to the game and watching it on a TV in the parking lot
  • Southern: Sweet tea
  • Redneck: Mountain Dew
  • Southern: Drinking moonshine borderline ironically on special occasions like weddings or weekend trips to the mountains
  • Redneck: Consuming moonshine regularly like it’s not even a thing 
  • Southern: Calling your grandmother’s purse a “pocketbook”
  • Redneck: Calling designer handbags “pocketbooks”
  • Southern: Loving the South without ignoring or apologizing for the shitty parts of our past. Like, slavery happened, racism is still a big problem, but the South is still amazing, so let’s be honest about our past so we can move towards something better.
  • Redneck: Being overly defensive about Southern history, sweeping slavery under the rug, and boasting about you “proud heritage” which might as well be code for “I hate black people and I miss the days when it was acceptable to say that out loud.”
  • Southern: Wearing cutoff jeans and tank tops during the summer because it’s too unbearably hot to wear real clothes
  • Redneck: Considering cutoff jeans and tank tops to be “real clothes” and wearing them places that are decidedly not casual like church or court.
  • Southern: Wearing camo when you’re actually hunting
  • Redneck: Wearing camo any other time so that people know you’re a person who goes hunting. Double redneck points if you wear camo all the time and don’t hunt ever.
  • Southern: Wedding attire for men is linen or seersucker. That’s it.
  • Redneck: Wedding attire varies, but might include camo, denim, and probably more than a handful of people walking around the whole time with beer koozies.
  • Southern: Acting classy because you have pride.
  • Redneck: Talking a lot about “pride” to compensate for having no class.
  • Southern: Preferred method of telling you what a horrible, disastrous, piece of trash human you are: “Bless your heart” and nothing more. (And trust – once you understand what those three words truly imply, that’s enough to properly shame you.)
  • Redneck: Preferred method of telling you off: Lots of profanity, yelling, maybe fighting, and actually saying “I’m gonna tell you off.”

Note: I acknowledge that this list is mainly based on the experiences of white people in the South, and that while much of it might be applicable to Southerners of other races, they also definitely have their whole own thing going on. I grew up as a white person in the South, so as much as I don’t want to marginalize or exclude the experiences of others, and as much as I grew up happily alongside and closely familiar with black southern culture, I don’t want to arrogantly attempt to give voice to experiences that aren’t mine. If you want to write about your non-white Southern culture, get at me. I want to hear it. TC Mark

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