As I stated in an earlier rant, I'm not a racist. That said, I do have my prejudices, and one of them is jocks and another red-necks, or worst of all, the dreaded red-neck job.
First off, someone who grew up in the boonies is not neccessarily a red-neck, I'm not a red-neck, I'm a hick. I grew up hunting, fishing, and hiking in the woods. The nearest mall was about 12 miles away, an unimaginably far distance to me in those days. We didn't farm, but we did garden. So I grew up knowing that my food came from one of my neighbors farms, those eggs didn't come from the back of the Safeway, nor did the meat I eat. It was a steer on the hoof in the not to distant past. Annoying insects are to be dealt with, for I am one more predator in the ecosystem and the "lets annoy the human" gene might not get passed on. Not mind you, that a lot of this was concious.
So, what's the difference between a red-neck and a hick? A hick is ignorant, and aware of it, a red-neck is ignorant and proud of it. Willfully ignorant, and resistant to education. Books are for them weirdo's, you don't need no book learning (I once pointed out to a red-neck kid I grew up with that if his Greek ancestors heard him say that they'd be spinning in their graves). Different = bad.
There is no doubt in my mind that the reason I took such a huge ration of shit from the red-necks and jocks I grew up with was because I was smarter then they were, and they knew it just as well as I did. Smart = different, different = bad. From about the start of my sophomore year till early in my senior year, I'd yarf up my breakfast everyday before going to school. (Wonder why I have dental problems, there you go) I kept expecting to get jumped by a group of them, but the whole time, I had one fight that lasted less then 10 seconds, nothing even got exchanged before the bus driver broke it up. Something that didn't dawn on me till many years later, was that I'm a big guy, and that counts for a lot in some ways. Not only was I intellectually intimidating (on more than one occassion I gave a potential Moe a comeback worthy of Calvin, but I was bigger than the Moe's in question. Sometimes dawn breaks slowly over marble head, on other occassions, much faster).
So, why the fear? Why the loathing? I never understood it, mostly I wanted to be left alone to read my books, play frightfully Munchkinly AD&D with my friends, and put in my time till I could get away to college. So, (and here's the part where naudiz gets a chuckle), I think I understand more now. The difference is, I could think rationally, I'm an NT - a rational thinker (if you're not familiar with Myers-Briggs personality profiling, go google it, read up on it, and come back. I'll wait. As a matter of fact, I bet the Wikipedia has a nice short entry.). Most people are feelers, perceiving feelers at that - "if I can't see it, it's not really real" types. I don't live in that word, I live a lot inside my head in a world full of abstracts. Algebra is hard because it's all about A -> B -> C->..., I don't think like that. I go from A-> to Z in one step, somewhere deep below the concious threshold B->Y are dealt with because the higher functions have more important things to be thinking about, like trying to figure out dating (which still alludes me. Thank God I'm married, the thought of singleness is frightening.) It drove my math teacher nuts that I could produce the right answer about 85% of the time, but not know how I did it. He was sure I was cheating because I gave the right anwer, but I got docked points for not showing my work. A couple of times he'd put stuff up on the board and make me solve it, but I couldn't show him the work. I knew the answer was right, that was all. The bizarre world of theoretical physics? Easy stuff, but Euclidean geometry, God help me, I could barely do the a^2+b^2=c^2 thing. I was the only one in my class to ace the non-Euclidean geometry section. I loved it, it made sense in a way the Euclidean never did. Different = bad, for all values of different.
I didn't date in HS, or Middle school for that matter. I used to be terribly shy, and besides, the girls I liked by that time all had boyfriends, and as kisadabear will tell you, I'm picky as all Hell as to who I'll date (if I had a dollar for everytime he said that, I'd go get sushi for lunch). So, I got called fag a lot, because that was pretty much the nastiest thing they could think of. After all, I wasn't chasing some girl (partly because there was a lack of chaseable girls in my opinion, but mostly because I had no clue as to how one went about pursueing one in the first place),and I didn't obsessively talk about them. I knew who was gay, but nobody believed me when I told them who it was. They had girlfriends, they couldn't be gay. (It wasn't until a lot later I heard the term "beard"). I think the cincher for them though, was that I wasn't into sports, and I thought cars were boring. If you didn't think rolling around on the ground with another guy was manly, something was wrong with you. The roots of the aforementioned 10 second fight may have something to do with my mentioning how ironic it is that since I'm not into rolling around on mats with guys, people call me fag, but the guy who's into putting his arms around another guy is a manly man. I have a big mouth, but I've learned control. Different + smartass = punch.
I'm a believer in magnet schools, let the smart kids go to school with their own. My freshman dorm was co-ed every other room, and only two types of freshman got in - athletic scholarships and Honor's Program students. They roomed one of each out of some misguided idea that the 'good points' of each would rub off on the other. Personally, I think that if I put my cleaner hermits in with my mantis shrimp, it would teach the hermits the value of intelligence, and maybe the mantis would learn to clean up detritious in my tanks. Or maybe, just maybe, the mantis would split the hermits shells wide open and devour them like the tasty treats they are, but I digress. I wound up with a baseball jock who's friends tried to give me crap, and failed. The days of quietly ignoring the taunts where over, and if they wanted to start something, go ahead. I'd made a deal with God when I became a Quaker - I get 5 minutes of violence towards my fellow man, and I am going to make each and everyone of those seconds high quality. They backed off PDQ. There's an original series Star Trek episode where they get sent off to evil parallel universe of bearded characters, the Spock of the original notes, at the end of the episode (yet another series where feeling is better than thinking, but that's another rant for another day) he says it was easy to spot the parallel universe Kirk and company because, while a civilized person can act like a barbarian, it's much harder for a barbarian to act like a civilized person. Or in this case, a feeler to understand a thinker. I could understand them, but they couldn't understand me, therefore, I was a threat.
Or, maybe it's because a lot of nerd/geek types aren't buffed up enough to defend themselves, and being a bully is fun and easy, with few social consequences. It was lethran who pointed out to me that during her education to be a teacher, she was told that if a student was being bullied, it was their own fault. Much like women get raped because they have vaginas, now they wouldn't get raped if they didn't have those, now would they? (For the record, I'm willing to devote a whole 3 minutes to these people. High. Quality. Minutes.) I got a lot of social harassment, but little physical, as I said before, it never really dawned on me how big I was. At the time, I was about 5'11 and weighed 220lbs (I'd give a kidney to be that thin again), and most people guessed my height at closer to 6'3" or so.
I recently read about a girl who got suspended from school for saying that while she didn't approve of what happened at Columbine, she understood it. If I was in school I guess I'd get suspended too.