Over the past month or so, I’ve seen some version of the following with alarming frequency: “I’m just a dumb redneck.”
The number of references seemed to skyrocket with the birth of the controversy over reality show Duck Dynasty and its star’s racist and homophobic comments. The inference, of course, was that the speaker (or writer) was simply too limited to look beyond the silly antics of the show to the deeper issues at hand, and thus should not be held responsible for putting their stamp of approval on the star’s backward thinking.
It was a cop out, plain and simple. Which is bad enough.
But the “dumb redneck” claims aren’t just bothersome because it’s easier to feign ignorance than it is to stand up for something worth standing up for.
It feeds right into every stereotype of small town life and small town citizens that the rest of us are trying to fight. We may have been raised in towns full of so-called “rednecks,” but are far from dumb. We don’t need some city slicker to come in and tell us how to run our lives because we have been doing just fine, thank you very much, and with that there newfangled electricity and running water, to boot!
This is a war I’ve been waging for much too long to simply let folks undermine it with an easy out.
More From Inside Out: Raise Your Kid in the Country (They’ll Thank You Later)
I was raised in the country, and I’ve lived in a city and suburbia both. I chose to return to a small town and all it had to offer, chose to raise a child here, rather than there. That is not a limitation on my mental capacity but a choice, plain and simple. My priorities are not better than those of a city dweller, not worse; they are different.
I want green grass to call my own and a post office where the clerk knows me by name and box number both. I want a corner store that knows my usual and a park where I can sit and ignore my kid for long stretches of time because nothing bad is going to happen.
I have them all.
They have yet to diminish my brain capacity.
I’m still smart enough to know that beneath the “golly, gee, shucks” routine are minds capable of making smart decisions, if only they’ll stop playing the village idiot for long enough to prove themselves able.
What do you think of “dumb rednecks?”
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