Shelburne ditches 'redneck' competition for 'country event'
Some locals worried Duck Dynasty connection tainted event with anti-gay ideas
A Nova Scotia town planned to hold a redneck competition as part of Founders' Days next weekend, but the name got the axe after some people worried it was racist and/or homophobic.
The redneck competition will go ahead, but now it will be called the Shelburne County Country Event.
Ed Cayer, a resident Shelburne, voiced concerns about the word redneck because he says it has dual meanings. He said a redneck can mean a person who loves fishing, hunting and four-wheeling.
But he said it can also refer to someone who holds racist ideas.
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines a redneck as "an uneducated working-class white in the southern U.S., especially one holding reactionary political views," or just as "anyone holding reactionary [conservative] political views." It describes the term as derogatory.
Cayer also took issue with the event hosting a look-a-like contest where people emulate the bearded stars of TV's Duck Dynasty.
"And the connection of course to the kinds of religious intolerance, homophobia and racism I saw emanating from the lead character in that program," said Cayer, referring to Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson.
In 2013, Robertson was briefly suspended from the show for anti-gay comments he made in a magazine interview.
Shelburne's anti-discrimination and racism committee met this week to discuss the controversy. That led the town to ditch the redneck name in favour of the Shelburne County Country Event.
And the contests "inspired by the country lifestyle" will still award best camouflage fashion, best duck call, and feature country humour and a "TV personality look-a-like contest."
Coun. Roy O'Donnell said he didn't see race as an issue with the term redneck. "It was a discrimination of poor people working in the fields, basically. It had nothing so much to do with black and white," he said.
It could be tricky judging the "TV personality look-a-like contest," as O'Donnell told CBC News he's not on that committee and doesn't know which star people are now supposed to look like.
Cayer is pretty sure the contestants will bear a strong resemblance to Duck Dynasty.
"It's glaringly obvious to anyone who's prepared to be reasonable that some people will interpret it as that link," he said.
"It's kind of ironic that weeks after the opening of an incredibly touching facility dealing with Black Loyalists and the heritage of the black community here in Shelburne, all in a positive environment, that we should then make this other connection that is the antithesis of what we're all about."