East Texas is an area of the country in which “red necks” and “good ole boys” live, along with most of the deep southern states. I know some of them and I suspect that you do as well. Most people think that the “red necks” and the “good ole boys” are one in the same. They are mistaken as there are notable differences. I will list a few of the differences here.
We might begin by defining what a “red neck” person is. The term dates way back to the early 1800s when uneducated white people worked in the fields all day. Their skin, particularly the neck area, would take on a reddish hue due to sun exposure. Thus, they were called “red necks” by the upper class folk. They usually lived in small, rural towns, were known to drink a lot, and were offensive in other ways.
Around 1920 the use of the term was popular in the coal producing states of West Virginia and Kentucky. Striking coal workers usually wore red hankies around their necks to reflect their position to management. Thus they were called “red necks” by non-union people.
Jeff Foxworthy has given us a number of ways to describe a “red neck”. You might be one if:
You think loading your dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.
You cut your grass and find a car.
You think the stock market has a fence around it.
Your stereo speakers used to belong to the drive-in theatre.
You own a home-made fur coat.
The Salvation Army rejected your mattress.
Birds are attracted to your beard.
Your school fight song was “Dueling Banjos”.
You keep a can of Raid on your kitchen table.
The tail light covers on your car are made of red tape.
Good Ole boys, on the other hand, are the sons of Red Necks, usually from eighteen to thirty five years old. Good Ole Boys are normally from the Deep South and they like cheap beer, NASCAR, football, professional wrestling, hunting and fishing, and country music. They usually carry a personal spit cup on their person while chewing their tobacco.
They are not necessarily bad persons, but occasionally are portrayed as racist, though many could care less, aside from cracking a racist joke with his buddies. Good Ole Boys are generally all about having a good time. They may speed to impress a girl they’re taking on a date, but won’t hit and run. They may have a few beers to impress her later at the bar, or even get in a fight there, but won’t get so drunk that he can’t drive her home.
Good Ole Boys most often drive a rusty muscle car or a four-wheel-drive pick up. They are not looked upon as a bad person, in fact most are pretty good natured guys. He is a Southern-born boy who is country to the core and proud of it. He likes to hunt and could not be prouder of his gun collection. He carries one knife in his pocket, and another one in his boot, in case the one in his pocket gets confiscated. The Good Ole Boy is a hard working, honest gentleman who prefers the simple life and is just looking for a girl he can take shooting.
As one single country girl put it, “On our first date, he showed me a picture of him pulling a bullet out of a deer’s heart. He said he keeps it on his desk.”
So, there you have the low-down on the difference between a Red Neck and a Good Ole Boy that perhaps you had never thought about. Are you personally acquainted with any of them?