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How to know the difference between “White Trash” and “Rednecks” (a beginner’s guide)

Updated on January 31, 2013

The Beginners guide to recognizing the difference between "White Trash" and "Rednecks"? And why I call myself a "RECOVERING" Redneck........

Have you ever been embarrassed because you referred to someone as “white Trash” only to be corrected by your peers that they were indeed “Redneck”? Oh the SHAME! Don’t be caught in this faux pau again! Here is your study guide!

My friends and I (back before I was married with kids and actually had TIME on my hands) used to sit around and make jokes about rednecks. My roommates were generally the ones I had the most discussions with this about. We were big fans of Jeff Foxworthy and he was of course our inspiration for many an “intellectual” conversation.

(The following is purely my opinion nothing more)

Definition of a Redneck...
Definition of a Redneck... | Source

How to know the difference between “White Trash” and “Rednecks” (a beginner’s guide)

First of all the main reason it’s so hard to tell the difference is because so many of these people end up having “mixed marriages”. Ever heard the term “shot-gun wedding”? Well some believe that initially originated from a “White Trash” marrying a “Redneck”. It was a sight to behold I’m sure. Imagine it, the bride in all her splendor, wearing her oh heck just watch the video below you’ll get the idea.

Redneck Wedding

Hillbilly Math!

How to spot a Hillbilly (Hicks):

These guys are easy to spot. Just think of the “Beverly Hillbillies” if you aren’t sure of the difference. These folks are mainly located in what’s known as the “boonies” which is usually in the middle of “no-wheresville”. They most likely live somewhere that has no paved roads, either down near a body of water that nobody in their right mind would live near (ie: a toxic land fill or swamplands carrying West Nile Virus and who knows what else) or up in the hills far away from any kind of civilization you can imagine. (Hence the name "Hillbilly"). Their home consists of several pieces of mismatched plywood slapped together with very little effort and an outhouse in the backyard. (Think uni-bomber) If they have any electricity it would come from a generator that works only when you kick it. And they most likely pump their water from a well and haul it to their house (shack). You’ll most likely see several bloodhounds on the front porch and chickens running loose everywhere. Ma will be wearing a Moo-moo that could substitute as a circus tent and Pa will be wearing the one pair of overalls he owns with his faded salmon pink long-johns underneath.

How to spot White Trash Folk

This is where most of us get confused is differentiating between the White Trash and Rednecks. In general the majority will reside in the Southern states, however growing up in Idaho I’ve seen my share of both. Typically White Trash can be distinguished by the way they dress and act. For example most women will be seen wearing halter tops with fat rolls hanging out and daisy duke shorts and these are the women in their forties and fifties even! Men will generally be seen wearing “wife beater” tank tops as they have acquired that name because of the type of men who wear them are usually White Trash and unfortunately beat their wives from time to time. These folks generally reside in single wide trailers in a very trashy trailer park. Meth labs and marijuana farmers are quite prevalent in these areas. When a White Trash woman is pregnant it’s not uncommon to see her hanging out at bars smoking and drinking with a T-Shirt that says “knocked Up”. If you're wondering who is abusing the bulk of the welfare system than the White Trash Folk is who your dealing with. Furthermore if you’ve ever appeared on Maury Povich to either admit to or find out who the “real father” of your child was…you might be White Trash Folk!

a real redneck wedding

How to spot a Redneck:

As I’ve stated above, Rednecks are prevalent in the Southern states, but truthfully they can be found just about anywhere in the U.S.

Rednecks come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Typically Caucasian, but other ethnicities have evolved through mixed marriages. Most Redneck women attire fits no specific fashion standards. Wal-Mart & K-Mart specials and whatever they can find in the local thrift store is typically what they will outfit themselves in. It’s usually way to baggy or too tight depending on how good the sale was. Men can be seen outfitted in anything from overalls to cowboy shirts and sporting those well worn wrangler jeans topped off with either cowboy boots, hiking boots or worn down sneakers. Plaid is a favorite color scheme of most Redneck men and even women. You’ll also see them sporting their favorite T-shirt acquired by the local truck or tool dealer that gave them out at the fair years ago. A Rednecks favorite event to attend is the Monster Truck rally, the Tractor pull, and of course any Rodeo of any size. The a-fore mentioned are also considered acceptable places to take your wife or girlfriend out on a date or even to celebrate their anniversary. A Rednecks favorite beverage is typically cheap beer, but don’t be surprised if you see them knocking back the occasional wine cooler to impress the “ladies”. Now, unless you’re dealing with a good ‘ol boy who doesn’t drink, then his favorite beverage might would be Pepsi or Mountain Dew. The Rednecks I grew up around may seem a little uneducated, and slightly ignorant to y’all, but they really would do anything for their neighbors and even a complete stranger.  These guys would literally give you the plaid shirt off their back!

Why I call myself a “Recovering Redneck:

Many people have asked me to write about my user name “RecoveringRedneck”, As I mentioned before I grew up in Idaho, in a small rural community outside Blackfoot, called Wapello. I’ve lived in a lot of different cities and states, and to this day, the nicest people I know are from Idaho. Where I grew up there were not many opportunities to learn about art and culture. In fact, in my high school I recall seeing maybe two students that were African-American. The only other ethnicities I grew up around were Native-Americans, and Mexican-Americans. This does limit your knowledge and understanding of other cultures I believe. So as I traveled and moved around I self-educated myself and discovered the big world I had missed out on, and learned how to speak so that others didn’t think I was a complete ignoramus for that matter. In my parent’s defense, they both were very stern about using correct grammar so I didn’t sound as ignorant as most Rednecks. I am in no way ashamed of where I'm from.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for my “Redneck” upbringing.

So there you have it folks, your complete edition of

The Beginners guide to recognizing the difference between "White Trash" and "Rednecks"? And why I call myself a "RECOVERING" Redneck........"

Hope you enjoyed it. Keep in mind this was all in fun, and not in any way meant to be “politically correct” or offensive to anyone.

See all y’all later.


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    • profile image

      Pappy Scratch 3 years ago

      You want funny, go to and read up the book: "The Hick Stick Instruction Book". It's funny and full of good back acre spoofing. Best of all, it treats hicks the way hicks should be treated -- gold varnished.

    • profile image

      why'd u even write it 4 years ago

      Look let's get one thing straight u wanna call ur self a redneck and then say bad things about em white trash are who we get classified with but we aren't that at all redneck hillbilly hick whatever you call em if u ain't one don't say things u don't know to b true because a lot of the stuff u said is complete and utter bull crap.

    • profile image

      Wow 4 years ago

      @Kurt J: No offense, but New Orleans is not a cultural center, lol. Now, I used to live in Western NC. Talk about white trash! And speaking of that area, we now must throw any another species of white trash - hillbillies! Rednecks are not trash AT ALL. Hillbillies-check!

    • profile image

      Kurt J. 4 years ago

      @Recoveringredneck......Liked your article! Idaho is a very beautiful state,(so is most of the Pacific northwest for that matter- I lived in Washington State for 4 years when I was with the U.S. Navy), you should be proud to be from there! I live in southeastern Louisiana and we have lots of "rednecks" and the "white trash" types around here in spades! New Orleans is really the only cultural center in this state!

    • profile image

      Sally 4 years ago

      Nothing wrong with being poor of any color or working hard trying to make ends meet. White trash is easily identified because there usually with black trash. Don't get me wrong, there's good blacks but white trash often seek out the trash (criminal) blacks.

    • profile image

      Bill 5 years ago

      In my years as a redneck I think the main point you forgot is this. Rednecks are hardworkin and hard playin,loyal and very family oriented. White trash are very lazy, generally don't work, or if they do it's something that doesn't break a sweat(drug dealing, stealing, fraud) and they are usually squabbling amongst themselves. Ya can't judge a person Redneck or white trash by what they wear, drive or drink. That's all superficial stuff. Redneck/white trash is a state of mind.

    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      People used to strive to be better. Nowadays people seem to just give up and then say they are proud to be sloppy, fat, poor or whatever. Its just lazy.

    • recoveringredneck profile image

      Tonia L. Clark 6 years ago from Idaho

      Oh my that's too funny!

    • Timetothink profile image

      Timetothink 6 years ago from Ballarat, Victoria Australia

      Love it. I'm originally from Yuma AZ, and born a hog farmer's daughter, and yes we had a water pump in our back yard. My first date was at the Monster Truck show at the Yuma County Fairgrounds and second at the Roping Roundup, (also at the fair)' and my Dad and Brother built a buggy for hunting that looked like the Beverly Hillbilly's buggy on steroids.

    • profile image

      kim hazelwood 7 years ago

      ha ha.... so funny!!~ i'm total trailer park white trash. complete with the occasional shelter, tornado and road trips with psychos! lol!

    • Christopher Floyd profile image

      Christopher Floyd 7 years ago from Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

      I used to use the term hicks as an all-inclusive descriptive. In Oklahoma that's what we called them. Or each other. Then a friend came back from the Navy imbued with the term "Whiskey Tango." White Trash abbreviated in the phonetic alphabet. I've adopted that one. Me, I'm a Southerner who had to spend the first few years of his life in the Midwest. I'm about to move to southern Louisiana and am now going to have to get used to the all-inclusive and surprisingly non-racially motivated term Coonass.

    • Montana Farm Girl profile image

      Montana Farm Girl 8 years ago from Northwestern Montana

      OMG too funny and too sad at the same time!!! Your description fits a lot of what we see here in Montana too!!!! lol.......

    • recoveringredneck profile image

      Tonia L. Clark 8 years ago from Idaho

      Lisa Hw, I see your point, Brittney Spears would fit in that category in my opinion. I figure trash like her get enough publicity, why add to it? I have very little respect for most hollywood types like her frankly

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Humorous and fun Hub, although I do think you overlooked the seemingly large portion of the "white trash" population who appear as "Hollywood types" with wealthy clothing and lots of other expensive "stuff", but who - under the clothing and outside the setting of expensive homes - are essentially white trash in disguise. A few fairly recent newsmakers who haven't managed to hide their "white trash-ness" do come to mind. :)

    • recoveringredneck profile image

      Tonia L. Clark 8 years ago from Idaho

      I'm glad you all have enjoyed my Hub! Thanks everyone!

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      This is hilarious! And extremely accurate!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      Fascinating insight on rural America. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and the first time I saw a person with skin color darker than a Native American was when I was around ten. Your point of view gets pretty skewed when everything's monochrome! I wish you best of luck on your continued recovery!

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      very, very funny, thanks!

    • dineane profile image

      dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina

      good stuff! Your ideas about the differences are pretty similar to mine - and I'm in eastern NC. Sometimes it's hard here to tell the difference...White Trash occassionally infiltrates our redneck circles :-)

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 8 years ago

      We have plent of both right here in Ohio, including me. LOL I have 3 basset hounds

    • recoveringredneck profile image

      Tonia L. Clark 8 years ago from Idaho

      Christa Dovel Those redneck wedding cakes are hilarious! Very detailed too!

    • recoveringredneck profile image

      Tonia L. Clark 8 years ago from Idaho

      Thanks blangrehr, I haven't been called a "Yankee" in years! Gotta love it!

    • blangrehr profile image

      blangrehr 8 years ago from Spartanburg SC

      I was born in the hills of western North Carolina and raised in North Western South Carolina; I enjoyed your article. It was fun and surprisingly accurate for a Yankee. I look forward to more fun.

    • Christa Dovel profile image

      Christa Dovel 8 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      I love the Hillbilly Math video! My kids were watching with me, wondering which way is the correct way to do math... I'll hafta learn 'em rite later!

      Here is a link to some red-neck wedding cakes: