Racism, rednecks, and if only these were brains

Lisa Pryor has written an article (‘Flying the flag for an upside-down kind of patriotism’, Sydney Morning Herald, January 6, 2007) decrying racism, in particular that which she assigns to ‘rednecks’: the kind of people who — in addition to despising “Lebs, wogs, chinks, do-gooders, elites and hippies” — allegedly dream that, one day, “Every child will grow tall and white on a diet of chicken nuggets, cordial and potato gems. There will be baby bonuses for all, to be spent on smokes, beer, video-shop fines, expensive surfwear and a big telly for the lebensraum [‘living room’]”.

Rednecks

I’m not sure if Pryor realises it, but the term ‘redneck’ is not even Australian. So, where does it come from? My dictionary says the term refers to “a working-class white person from the southern US, especially a politically conservative one”. Another source states, in what I think is a reasonable summary:

In modern usage, redneck predominantly refers to a particular stereotype of whites from the southern United States. The word can be used either as a pejorative or as a matter of pride, depending on context.

The redneck stereotype:

The term redneck is seen by some people to be both racist and classist, as it was originally used to describe a person of pale skin that has been sunburned doing outdoor work or field work, and disproportionately applies to the poor. Today, a redneck is a stereotypical southern United States socially conservative, fiscally liberal, rural, working class white person with northern [? or just plain] European ancestry.

The popular etymology says that the term derives from such individuals having a red neck caused by working outdoors in the sunlight over the course of their lifetime. The effect of decades of direct sunlight on the exposed skin of the back of the neck not only reddens fair skin, but renders it leathery and tough, and typically very wrinkled by late middle age. Another popular theory stems from the use of red bandanas tied around the neck to signify union affiliation during the violent clashes between United Mine Workers and owners between [sic] 1910 and 1920.

Some historians claim that the term redneck originated in 17th century Virginia, when indentured servants were sunburnt while tending plantation crops.

In other words, if my parents had been born in the southern United States, rather than rural Victoria, they’d have been considered ‘rednecks’. And in an angry outburst ten years ago, Jim Goad wrote The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies Hicks and White Trash Becames America’s Scapegoats:

Culture maverick Jim Goad presents a thoroughly reasoned, darkly funny, and rampagingly angry defense of America’s most maligned social group — the cultural clan variously referred to as rednecks, hillbillies, white trash, crackers, and trailer trash. As The Redneck Manifesto boldly points out and brilliantly demonstrates, America’s dirty little secret isn’t racism but classism. While pouncing incessantly on racial themes, most major media are silent about America’s widening class rifts, a problem that negatively affects more people of all colors than does racism. With an unmatched ability for rubbing salt in cultural wounds, Jim Goad deftly dismantles most popular American notions about race and culture and takes a sledgehammer to our delicate glass-blown popular conceptions of government, religion, media, and history.

Well, something like that. It’s been quite a few years since I read the thing, and while it has its flaws, it’s an entertaining and frequently informative rant about matters often — as the publisher’s blurb suggests — left unspoken by ‘mainstream’ (corporate/state) commentators. Of which, Pryor — in her well-meaning but, I think, ultimately misguided attack on Australian working-class (‘redneck’) racism — is merely a very recent example.

Rednecks (with guns)

The story of the other ‘rednecks’ — armed UMW members who in the 1920s fought police and scabs — is also a fascinating one, with an equally obvious class dimension, and constituting an equally neglected episode in working class resistance to oppression:

Despite being the second largest armed insurrection in American history (exceeded only by the Civil War), the Battle of Blair Mountain [August, 1921] is one of labor’s most neglected episodes. Robert Shogan, author of The Battle of Blair Mountain, blames the neglect on what he calls a “dominant middle-class” perspective that “discourages attention to struggles to achieve economic and social justice, if they threaten the sanctity of property values and the maintenance of law and order.” The author concludes, “As a result, the significance of class conflict in the making of America is overlooked and misunderstood.”

Though happily, the miner’s struggles have been also been the subject of a terrific film, Matewan (1987), written and directed by John Sayles:

“You want to be treated like men? You want to be treated fair? Well, you ain’t men to the coal company, you’re equipment. They’ll use you till you wear out or you break down or you’re buried alive under a slate fall and then they’ll get a new one, and they don’t care what color it is or where it comes from.”

(See also the equally terrific North Country (2005); West Virginia’s Mine Wars.)

Upside-down flags

Generally speaking, flying a flag upside-down, especially on a ship, is intended to signal distress. (Well, that appears to be the popular understanding. For an interesting discussion of the meaning and significance of this practice, see Timberwoof.) Anarchists and other radicals, as well as ‘ordinary folk’ (shit, maybe even that bloke at the Meredith Music Festival Pryor refers to in her article), have done so in order to register protest and dissent. In July of last year, for example, a woman in the US was reported to have done so after her son, an Iraq War veteran, committed suicide upon his return home:

Terri Jones lost her son Jason Cooper just over a year ago. He was an Army Reservist in the Iraq War. On July 14, 2005, four months after returning home to Iowa, he hanged himself.

He was 23.

Since then, Jones flies her American flag upside down, though someone came on her property once and turned it right side up, and another person stole it…

(‘Mother of Iraq War Vet Who Committed Suicide Flies Flag Upside Down’, Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, July 18, 2006; also ‘Arrest, Death Threat, for Farmer with Upside Down Flag’, Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, July 19, 2006.)

Besides

Besides, while I may be a vegetarian, I don’t surf (even though I live in Torquay) and I don’t own a big television… I like potato gems, I’ve been known to drink cordial, I smoke, I drink beer, and I’m always returning videos late!

Fuck racism.

Arm the poor.

Smash the state.

No war but the class war!

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  1. This Lisa Pryor is a complete f—wit!

    In reference to her mediocre article, she does nothing more than blatantly attack white, working-class Australians. She fails to note the revenge attacks in which people were discriminately set-upon by large groups of thugs looking to ‘bash Aussies’.

    …Let’s break down her article for a clearer analysis:

    There is a certain kind of [patriotism] with a bold vision for the future of our country. A future where all the Lebs, wogs, chinks, do-gooders, elitists and hippies [can] rack off, so that the true Aussies who are left can breed a master race of rednecks.

    Yeah, typical of a nutcase, ignoramus, lefty, one only capable of one perspective on racism: the sterotype that whites are the only group who are capable of discrimination.

    In this paradise, every baby will be named Montana or Dakota. Every child will grow tall and white on a diet of chicken nuggets, cordial and potato gems. There will be baby bonuses for all, to be spent on smokes, beer, video-shop fines, expensive surfwear and a big telly for the lebensraum.

    Please, will someone package this short-sighted b—- as dog meat!

    Redneck patriots are sporting a distinctive accessory this season. You may have seen it while waiting in traffic: a bumper sticker with a picture of the Australian flag. Below the flag it says: “If you don’t love it, leave[!]”

    …and that’s how many Australians feel about the thuggery that is going on in our communities after hours.

    They whinge about [the supposed] whingers but in doing so became whingers themselves. They profess their cultural superiority and demand that everyone speak English, yet fail to spell basic words such as “vehicle” correctly.

    …or maybe you are, in reality, talking about the lower economic status of white, southern communities.

    Let’s face it, most of them are life’s losers.

    That’s funny, because I am almost among the group you decry in that below-par article of yours. However, achieving an OP3 wouldn’t exactly put myself in the ‘losers’ category now would it?

    What to do about the redneck problem? Should we deport this troublesome minority who [do not conform] with the values of mainstream Australians? Should we lock them up and charge them with anything, just to send them a message?

    Well, it seems that the multi-cultural [advocates] would sing praises if that happened.

    Conclusion: mediocre article, lacking insight on present issues regarding racism. My criticism: very short-sighted on social issues affecting those in the working class. Advice: please Lisa, do not write another article like this again.

  2. Lisa Pryor writes exactly what she is told and paid to write.
    She is a press whore after all.

  3. F—wit, nutcase, b—-, whore.

    Not very nice, and published only to give an indication of the level of hostility directed towards the author; hostile remarks seemingly generated by her article, but no doubt informed by other concerns…

  4. Andy: “Not very nice, and published only to give an indication of the level of hostility directed towards the author; hostile remarks seemingly generated by her article”

    Andy, she wrote an article attacking White, Working Class Australian’s [sic]. The response certainly isn’t going to be a positive one on the part of the readers.

    Andy: “but no doubt informed by other concerns…”

    Please, explain?

  5. Mick,

    Pryor wrote an article — intended to be humorous — attacking racist, xenophobic attitudes on the part of white, working-class Australians (no apostrophe); attitudes, she argues, that are synonymous with a class of people she refers to as ‘rednecks’, and who allegedly suffer from appallingly bad taste, not only in politics, but in diet and lifestyle as well. I’ve responded to her article above, and haven’t needed to refer to her by such epithets in so doing. The response on the part of her readers is, I presume, quite varied…

    By ‘other concerns’, I mean racism. In other words, racists such as yourself dispute her characterisation not on the basis of its inaccuracy, but as a function of their commitment to a broader political project: the re-institution of a White Australia. And, as I’ve also stated above: fuck that.

  6. http://images.google.com.au/images?hl=en&q=rebecca gomperts&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
    Check out Rebecca Gomperts. Does she look “Ontologically Exceptional” in any way ? Her religious Meme tells her that both she and her fellow believers are. Gomperts and most Jews look like any other European. This does not accord with the religious Meme that demands to be a people morally and visually separate from others in every way. So, what better way to become, from a visual perspective, identifiably exceptional than to deracinate and disfigure the “look” of other Europeans by encouraging them to mate and have children with other peoples.
    In this way, the Jewish Memetic Symbiote manages to acquire, through the destruction of others, a look of its own. This still does not accord with the demands of its Symbiote, which calls for a bipolarity of races. Jew and Goyim. Goyim will still exist as Asians, Africans, Indians and others. The newly enracinated Jew will use his wiles of deception to continue the deracination of others until there are only Jew and Goyim. The disfigurement of ManKind will then be complete.

    DeRacination. A Jewish Imperative.

  7. KinkyBoy.

    Wow.

    Nasssty joos… they wantsss the preciousss…

    ParanoidDelusion and ObsessivePreoccupation. Some AnonymousWanker’s Imperative.

    Honestly mate, see a therapist.

  8. @ndy, you seem to get one racist nutbag using a different name every time they comment. That’s a great big clue that there’s so few of them that they need to inflate the impression of their numbers to absurd levels. Typical Arselick of Krapgard type shite.

    Claims of anyone being ‘anti-white race’ is nothing short of code for the claimant’s real position- “I’m a deeply insecure racist and a conspiracy theory loving moron with an IQ figure approximating room temperature in Celsius- laugh at me loud and long, so I hear you chuckling at me in my dreams.”

  9. Cheers Weez.

    As one of yr fave Brazilian punk bands — RATOS DE PORÃO — sang (‘Real Enemies’, just another crime… in massacreland, Roadrunner, 1994):

    YOUR FUCKING SKIN IS WHITE
    BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT
    TO KICK YOUR TRASH ON ME

    YOU FUCKING NAZI PIG
    TAKE HOLD OF YOUR STUPID PRIDE
    AND STICK IT UP ON YOUR ASS

    YOU MUST FIGHT AGAINST OUR ENEMIES
    YOU BETTER FIGHT
    TO BE ALIVE

    INSIDE MY NASTY BRAIN
    I WANT TO EAT YOUR HEART
    I WANT TO GET iNsAnE

    I HATE YOUR RACIST SMILE
    I’M GONNA CUT OFF YOUR HEAD
    YOU BETTER RUN AWAY

    YOUR FUCKING SKIN IS WHITE
    SO WHAT?!!!

    http://www.ratos.com.br/

  10. Howse ya going there ScatWeezil. Bin up any revolutionary ratholes lately ? On hearing you Wheeze another ingratiatingly, PhiloSemitic Whine about IQ being a measure of integrity, I just had to take the GoyBait.

    Some of the shiftiest pricks around have “high” IQ, whatever that is. Some of the nicest folks I know are not “White”, some of the nastiest pricks are. Most nicer folks I know tend to accumulate around the “lower” echelons of society. The reason’s simple. Certain members of society have a self esteem which is proportional to their perceived number of subordinates. They love to dictate terms to others. It’s a type of intellectual self abuse.
    The Jewish Meme has this concept codified as a religion. Its a matrilinearly defined, racial (racist ?) creed that demands subjugation of others. Goyish idolatry in any other form that diminishes the self adulatory magnificence of so called “Jew”, ie the removal of ones focus away from the light of the Jew and his G_d Head, is generally punitively dealt with. When he has the power to do so of course. Other monotheisms are open to everyone and are not racially defined. We all have access to their God, without an earthly intermediary, if we choose to participate.

    Biologically defined races took thousands of generations to develop. Confected, classist ideology can be concocted for all sorts of purposes in a tiny percentage of the time.

    The true “racist” seeks to debase the ordered results of “evolution” with his classist ideology. He despises the inherent order in it. This nihilist must despise the rest of the ordered universe as well. A more appropriate name would be a “deathist”, hence the preoccupation with abortion and the ability to circumvent what might have been.

    “God” has been honest with us. Physical principles of time and motion that facilitate space travel and technology in general are predictably repeatable.

    I read somewhere that the intelligentsia of the Anti-Fa demand that the working classes be armed. Some of us are already. What should we do now?

  11. An Aussie citing Jim Goad. Well done. The Redneck Manifesto is brilliant. Should be compulsory reading for every stupid wannabe-elitist Aussie journo who uses words like ‘redneck’, ‘hillbilly’ etc to the point of pukesville. He’s coming back to OZ again soon to do a movie. Did you catch him on Saffran’s show last time he was here?

  12. I don’t know what the film is, but he said he’s playing either a drug dealer or rapist(what else?). His thing with Saffran was originally going to be about the Cronulla riots, but they filmed it before he got here…so he did the sex/violence thing instead.

    I only ever got one copy of Answer Me! back in the day, but he has re-released them all but nowhere in Sydney has them(Polyester in Melb probably has them).

  13. Yeah. I borrowed my copy of the Answer Me! compilation, the Manifesto AND Shit Magnet off a mate — he’s a bit of a fan! (And yeah, PolyEster usually has copies.)

    Shit Magnet was OK — if a bit repetitive — but I couldn’t help asking myself ‘If Goad’s sooo smart… why he’s always find himself in shit situations?’ Seems like a contradiction to me.

    As for the Manifesto, parts are great — and a welcome remedy to the constant denigration of po’ whites — but other parts… I think he even cites National Alliance or National Vanguard as a source at one point. Plus, a lot of the historical material he draws from may be new to a popular audience, but historians — particularly labour historians — have documented the struggles of — for example — po’ folks from Appalachia fairly extensively.

    In general, Goad seems reluctant to draw too many political conclusions from his work, a product, I think, of a more general contempt for politics as a whole, as well as his not wanting to risk his status as a ‘truly’ iconoclastic thinker. Would’ve been interesting to hear his take on Cronulla: he’s such a cranky Yanqui.

    So… yeah. Dodgy politics, but still a good writer; like an Anti-Dworkin in some ways.