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Used either as a pejorative or as a matter of pride, the term redneck refers to a (typically male) person having a red neck caused by workinging 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 the skin, but renders the skin leathery and tough, and typically very wrinkled by late middle age.

Redneck is often used to refer to the stereotype of a southern U.S rural lower-class caucasian. A stereotypical redneck has a beer belly, lives in a trailer, drives a pickup truck and enjoys hunting. In the 1960s, Jerry Jeff Walker composed an anthem to the breed with his song "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother." Many people would also assume that a redneck was an anti-negro racist although this meaning may not be generally understood.

In South Africa the name redneck (Afrikaans- rooinek) was applied to the British soldiers who fought during the Boer War because their skin was sensitive to the harsh African sun. The phrase is still used by Afrikaners to describe English speaking white people. Ironically, the term is used by the English to describe very conservative Afrikaners

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy, himself a southerner, native to the Atlanta area, has written several best-selling books about the stereotype, including Games Rednecks Play and the You Might Be a Redneck If series.

Author Jim Goad wrote a book titled "The Redneck Manifesto" that explores some of the socioeconomic history of this word and the people is leveled at.