Red Neck Month

Posted on March 15, 2021


A few weeks ago, Black History Month (February) ended, and March 1 ushered in Women’s Month.

Less you be uninformed, February also celebrated: National Fasting Month, National Enrolled Agents Month, American Heart Month, An Affair to Remember Month, Canned Food Month, and Creative Romance Month. In March we celebrate: National Breast Implant Awareness Month, Asset Management Awareness Month, Irish-American Heritage Month, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Brain Injury Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and National Cheerleading Safety Month.

And that list above only includes a few of items listed in the National Day Calendar.

My first question is: who does all of this? My second question is: why? And my third comment is also a question. If we celebrate “National Cheerleading Safety Month,” why not something more historical?

All of these days, weeks, and months we celebrate, many of which I have no idea about, “National Enrolled Agents Month?” and some which seem plain silly, “National Celery Month,” seem to divide rather than unify us as a people.

In the spirit of giving every aspect of our lives some recognition I would like to suggest “Red Neck Month” to memorialize, remember and, dare I say it, propagate the red neck tradition in our national culture. I know this will sound like white trash talk, filled with sexual innuendo, white supremacy, systemic racism, and redolent of people in sheets doing awful things (and many did, truth be told), but it also is about “fly over” country, that wonderful term invented by some politically privileged progressives (the three “p’s” kind of like the movie The Three Bandidos which I peeked at a few weeks ago) to describe the Americas outside of New York and California. However, red neck really belongs to the South, the South of Daytona and Charlotte and Anniston speedways, fast cars, fast women, and mostly white (but not all) drivers who like going 200 mph down the track to win with a roar of not only the cars, but also the crowd. Nothing like watching as they roar by, faster than my old airplane could even go in a controlled dive.

Red Neck Month. It has a nice sound and look to it, like “Southern Raised” emblazoned on the rear window of a pickup. Some will tune in because they are part of it, even if just remotely. I flew small planes and drove motorcycles, not quite as fast as they would go, but at least 100 mph to see what it felt like on my big Honda. Or they live in a part of Red Neck country, where hunting deer and quail is as much a part of their lives as those playing ice hockey in upstate New York, next to Canada which is about as far away culturally as Africa or Argentina to Red Neck country.

Country music and the gospel sounds are also very much part of Red Neck Culture. Here’s an mage of the iconic Dolly Parton and a short video of “Because He Lives” by Alabama or “Will the Circle be Unbroken” by Johnny Cash. These are genuine American sounds, the real thing, like the blues and jazz. Let me make one thing as clear as possible. Red Neck America is just a part of the wonderful whole, from the Chinese of Chinatowns to the Chicanos working the lettuce fields of Florida and California, to the Scandinavians of Minnesota, the oil patch workers of west Texas, and you get the drift.

Maybe that’s the reason we celebrate all these crazy days, months, and years from the silly, Canned Food Month, to the really serious where attention needs to be drawn to, like American Heart Month. We are in fact, as is often noted, a nation of immigrants from all over the world, or globe if you prefer in today’s argot. Some, like my father’s family, came over from England in the eighteenth century. And some, like my mother, born in Chile, was a naturalized American. I was born in New Jersey and my brother and sister on a sugar plantation in northern Peru, but we all three are as American as much as those of you whose descendants came off the Mayflower in 1620 or stepped off a jet from Africa or Asia a few years ago.

National Immigrants Day (you knew there had to be one!) is next October 28, 2021), preceded by Immigrant Heritage Month in June. No one is forgotten from the celery eaters and coffee drinkers to those with serious maladies and diseases. Perhaps the theme of all this is that we are a diverse people, and better for it.

Today’s ideologues like to divide us by color, race, ethnicity, sex (many different sexes these days), national origins, and maybe the color of our eyeballs. They are all wrong. We are all the same, with variations on the human condition that produce a diverse people. Don’t judge people by all the conditions above, but by what they say and do. That’s good Bible teaching by the way. Now I need to check: do we have a National Bible Month, Week, or Day? Probably all three.

Published as “Special months, days show strength of nation’s diversity” in The Tuscaloosa News, Sunday March 14, 2021.