“Redneck”, “woolhat”, “hillbilly”, “clodhopper”, and “white trash” are some of the terms that used to derogate the southerners. The movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby shows us the typical American stereotypes on southerners and the French.
Even in 2006 (which is the year the film was made), it shows the ignorance of Americans, particularly the southerners. Towards the end of the movie, Bobby’s best friend, Cal who wins the race does not know what ‘Diablo’ is. The lack of knowledge and curiosity are common among the Americans. President Jimmy Carter argued that too many Americans were “empty and without purpose” and “self-indulgence and consumption”. The Americans believe they are living in the best country in the world, as exclaimed by Cal: “America is the greatest country on Earth”. Majority of the Americans are proud to be Americans compared to other countries. “Three-quarters of Americans say they are proud to be Americans; only one-third of the people in France, Italy, Germany, and Japan give that response about their own countries”. And they believe the things they have are unique, sports like American football, NASCAR and NBA (NBA courts are larger, and the basket rims are higher than usual basketball courts). We do not see Americans drivers in F1 races, as they have NASCAR. We also do not see American basketball players playing in European league or Australia league. As they believe they are living in the best country on Earth, and have the best things they could have, as a result, they lack of interest in anything else. This leads to the laid-back attitude, spending their time partying and disinterested with anything else outside their country.
The southern part of America has an economy based on agriculture. The term “Redneck” is a slang that used to describe uneducated southerners, often working in farms. Many southerners from the older generations do not see the need for education. They will pass down the necessary skills for their children to carry on their living relying on agricultural products. Hence, they do not see the point of education in their children. In Talladega Nights, Bobby’s father who is a “white trash”, who is a drug addict said, “this is not education,” showing that southerners from the older generations do not believe in formal education. They have their own beliefs and often these beliefs will pass on or influence their children. In the movie, Ricky grew up believing what his father had said to him before he was chased out by the security, “fastest will get laid,” and “if you are not the first, you are the last”. With these two inspiring statements from his father, in Ricky’s first race, he got into the third place despite starting in the middle of the race and in the last place.
The southerners are also being stereotyped as being untamed. They are hostile, bad mannered and sex craved. In the movie, Bobby and his children are ill-disciplined, using crude and foul language. Ricky kisses his wife in front of his children and they cheered for him. His children, Walker and Texas used vulgarities and even scolded their grandfather, when he is trying to educate them. The southerners are mainly farmers and they are rude and ill-mannered. These characteristics were portrayed in Ricky and his children. However, as more southerners are moving to the north, the working class southerners adopted better manners and buried their hostile lowly origins. Eventually Ricky’s children were “tamed” at the end of the film, speaking in a clear and well-manner pace which enacted modern southerners that received education should speak in this manner. Furthermore, southerners are well known for their literature works. Both Walker and Texas are satirised to speak poetically after they are ‘tamed’.
On the other hand, southerners are also stereotyped as having...