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 is 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 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 1910 and 1920.
Some historians claim that the term redneck originated in 17th century Virginia, when indentured servants were sunburnt while tending plantation crops.
A redneck is usually typified in popular culture by a straight male with a beer belly that consumes cheap American beer such as Busch or Miller by the case (Pabst Blue Ribbon in more traditional settings) as well as Jack Daniel's. They are generally distrustful or dislike anyone not like them or the government. The stereotypical redneck lives in a trailer, and drives an old, large, beat-up pickup truck with a gun rack in the rear window. He generally wears a stained, sleeveless t-shirt, blue jeans, and a trucker hat.
Their hair is generally worn in the mullet style, and they favor long sideburns. Personal hygiene is a lost concept with the stereotypical redneck, and what teeth they have left generally show the complete anthology of the stages of dental caries. Their favorite activities include hunting, shooting at road signs and lights, professional wrestling, NASCAR, monster truck rallies, car engine repair, collecting junked cars and large appliances on their lawns, having way too many children and dogs, participating in domestic disturbances, and waiting around for their welfare checks. Country and Southern Rock bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd figure in as their preferred genre of music.
Stereotypical redneck females have similar characteristics and interests on a feminine scale. They are most often seen barefoot, pregnant and wear Daisy Duke shorts with stiletto heels.