With the world connecting into a single civilization, the ability to understand how others view the world becomes imperative and one of the best ways to understand people around the world is to first look at how people in our own backyard view issues. Consequently, the best way to understand people from other cultures is to comprehend how those people reason as doing so will give an individual the ability to better communicate with those who have fundamentally different views. As such, being able to communicate with a subculture within our own Country, such as Rednecks, is helpful in teaching us how to deal with people from around world who are fundamentally different or have had entirely different experiences.
A friend of mine once told me that George W. Bush was the first true Redneck president. Incidentally, this friend is undoubtedly a Redneck. Personally, I have always felt George W. seemed like he would be a decent person, someone you could talk to one-on-one and hang out with at a pork roast, or some other kind of event. Then again, I have been well prepared for the frustration that comes from dealing with the Redneck demeanor as I am from Crawford County, Pennsylvania and I have been surrounded by Hicks and Hillbillies my entire life. Unfortunately, this includes half of my family. I can, therefore, sympathize with politicians, academics, and journalists, like Dan Rather, who would have done anything to remove a Redneck like George W. from the White House before he damaged this Country. After all, people, who are extreme Rednecks, are the most difficult breed to sway when it comes to issues that they belief they understand, especially when they are blatantly wrong.
One of the most interesting things about the Redneck culture is that to any non-Redneck being called a Redneck is an insult, but to actual Rednecks, the title is the greatest honor you could possibly bestow upon them, with exception to labeling them Texans. Hailing from the South and rural areas across the country, from white-trash Rednecks to blue-collar middle class Rednecks to aristocratic Rednecks, their culture is very diverse and surprisingly influential. Most of them can be seen driving the largest truck they can possibly afford, whether that is a bid rig, a full size pickup, or a cargo van that they treat like a truck. Unless of course, they’ve fallen from grace; in which case, they will be found driving an early1990’s to late1980’s technicolor sedan which probably looks as if the cars that make up the Frankenstein auto came out of the factory rusted and caked in body putty. They like to brag about their hunt’n’ and fishin’ expeditions, even if they are not particularly good at either while they are firmly seated in the notion that the only real work for a true man is in manufacturing, the outdoors, or a garage.
In general, Redneck personalities are friendly but patronizing, until someone corrects them on one of their many subjects of “expertise,” then they spend hours repeating the same flawed argument over and over again as if you eventually agreeing with them out of sheer desperation will make their beliefs correct. Meanwhile, they tend to act quite self-confident while socializing with their friends and a case of their preferred beverage, anywhere from Papst Blue Ribbon to Old Milwaukee, even though one sharp cutting jab can send them into a baby-fit. Most unfortunately, like George W. Bush, once they are convinced of an argument, nothing with sway them. Furthermore, they are quite prone to over simplifying issues and over generalizing solutions so they can apply them to problems those solutions cannot possibly solve. On the other hand, there are many other cultures and groups in the United States, as well as around the world, that share limited views of the world like Rednecks, making it difficult to communicate with such groups, and thus, reach any kind of consensus on everyday issues.
One of the most difficult aspects of communicating with someone from another culture is in understanding what leads them to their conclusions. It is much more difficult to sway someone when your reasoning is different from that person’s understanding of events; therefore, the ability to understand how someone reasons makes it easier to comprehend what has lead that person to the conclusions they hold, and thus, convince them different perspectives are valid. Furthermore, people reason with different methods, focusing on different types of information and extending their thinking to different situations. Once someone understands basically how someone else reasons, communication becomes much less difficult. I have personally found that describing methods of reasoning in terms of universal logic, universal rationale, personal logic, or personal rationale helps better shape my arguments in such a way that individuals who reason differently can understand my arguments.
In academics, the goal of reasoning is to develop a universal logic that can be applied to new situations in order to assess information in an objective manner. Individual who tend to think in terms of universal logic draw on scientific data and focus on arguments that can be extended beyond current circumstances to form a consistent understanding of the world. For example, someone may personally believe homosexual behavior is immoral and marriage is a sacred religious institute, but because there is a legal component to marriage that same person will support civil unions for homosexuals as the law must equally protect and serve everyone. People who tend to think in terms of universal logic form opinions that are fair and consistent outside of personal likes or dislikes.
Universal rationales involve personal assessments of various personal situations being extended to unfamiliar situations. With this reasoning method, there is a huge chance of personal bias shaping someone’s views of the world. People who tend to reason in terms of universal rationales will assess some aspect of their lives, such as the need for gun ownership in modern times, and extend that understanding to the rest of society; everyone in the Nation owns a gun because they want and need it. On the other hand, there is also personal logic which involves a reality very much disconnected from the rest of the world. For example, one might say a wealthy person is more likely to win the lottery than a poor person because the rich always get richer and the poor always get poorer even though anyone playing the lottery has an equal chance of winning. Another example would be to believe a murderer must be innocent because he was a priest and a nice guy. A person who tends to reason by this process has a consistent view on the world but that view does not match up with reality.
Meanwhile, the extremist Redneck is someone who only reasons in personal rationales. Under this process an individual interprets information based on their own personal experiences or on those of others without a consistent and equal application to every situation. As an example, such a person will say smoking does not cause cancer because they knew someone who smoked their entire life and never had cancer, yet someone else they knew had never smoked but ended up having breast cancer. Basically, scientific discovery and universal logic have no significant meaning unless it supports the person’s predetermined notions.
The truth is that everyone from time to time reasons by all of these various processes. People like Rednecks have a greater tendency of understanding the world through personal rationales; therefore, when Rednecks believe they understand an issue, it becomes almost impossible to convince them of an opposing viewpoint because they do not reason in such a way that objective information can influence their beliefs. In order to communicate with a Redneck, a person must be able to relate to the Redneck by drawing on analogies to personal experiences of the Redneck Above all, this is accomplished by listening to their reasoning before contradicting their beliefs, but do not expect the same consideration in return. Rednecks are not stupid people; however, their knowledge and reasoning differ from non-Rednecks. Because personal rationales limit the infusion of new beliefs and information, an individual could spend hours successfully demonstrating the validity of their point just to have the Redneck instantly revert back to his or her original ideas. Moreover, gaining the respect of a Redneck is the most important aspect to communicating with one, because even if you never convince them your perspective on a single issue is more correct than theirs, they will support you if they respect you and they feel you respect them.
Finally, Rednecks are certainly not the only ones who tend to reason in personal rationales or other limited reasoning processes. After all, there is much more to the Redneck culture than reasoning and there are plenty of other groups that fail to broadly understand issues. Overall, if you are successful at reasoning with familiar cultures like Rednecks then you are more likely to be successful when dealing with other cultures, but it starts with the ability to understand how others reason.