I'm just going to jump right in here and explain what's wrong with the way this supposedly liberal writer used the term "redneck". In a letter that Mitchell S. Gilbert wrote to a Tennessee politician who has been engaging in homophobia, he said,
"Why do southern red-necks open their mouths and advertise to the world how incredibly simple, bigoted and foolish they are?"
The term "redneck" is a lot like the term "cracker" or "honky". Sure, it's perfectly okay for people to use those terms about themselves, but it's certainly not okay to use them as pejoratives that are then applied to others.
My daddy is proud to refer to himself as a "black redneck". Anyone from here knows that "redneck" really describes a rather decent way of life. My daddy views it as a capitulation every time he has to buy fish from the store for dinner. My daddy saw the raccoon that got trapped in our garbage can one night as a boon from the good Lord. My daddy made sure that every girl under his roof knew how to shoot a gun, before she moved out. Like a good redneck, he thinks that women should leave the cooking to men. My momma hasn't cooked dinner in over a decade and he hates when she gets in the kitchen and moves stuff around. My daddy kept skinned rabbits in our deep freezer. He worked outdoors most of his life and when his first wife left him, he raised his eight kids all by himself for many years until he met my mother. From then on he raised his 8 plus her 4, without a single complaint about it.
Using the term "redneck" as if it's something to be ashamed of is really low and more than a little bit prejudiced. I'd like to see folks stop looking for labels that they can use to denigrate those who belong to a different way of life. I readily identify as queer. However, if I walk down the street and someone says, "Look at that queer!" you and I both know that they are using it as a slur. It's the same thing when you use the term "redneck" in the way that the author did. It's rather irritating when people in the LGBTQIA community see nothing wrong with slurring an entire group of people, just because they don't like what an individual did. It's disgustingly hypocritical.