Country, Southern and redneck are three very different terms to describe people. One has a better connotation than the others, but many don't understand that. So I'm going to tell you a little bit on my take of the things.
Southern always has a better sounding in my eyes. Country (unless you're talking about music) is always followed by a word that seems derogatory. Ie: Southern charm, Southern Belle vs Country bumpkin. See what I mean there? But calling someone a redneck can be straight up insulting.
I'm from the Southern Georgia, live off of a dirt road and have hay fields in my front yard. People call it a rural area. Which in ways it can be, but by my definition I am in no way country, redneck ,nor want to be called that. See southern just sounds prettier and the connotation isn't that negative.
Redneck reminds me of Honey Boo Boo. I'm sorry but that show was offensive to me as a Georgian. Not everyone in Georgia acts that way and the entire country made this family famous for basically laughing at them for what they portrayed. I hear redneck and think of the Martina McBride song, even though I love blasting it. I think of Christmas lights on the front porch the whole year, people missing teeth, and basically people living out in the back woods waving confederate flags and having no room to learn from others and hear their beliefs.
See country is when people make moonshine out in the woods, wear Georgia Boots with gym shorts or literally only own clothing in camouflage. I hope this doesn't offend anyone, it's just my take. Sure I know how to fish and bait my own hook, I've been hunting before. One thing I promise though is you will never find me playing a game of mud volleyball.
Southern is classy and elegant. There isn't a stigma in it, I love being called southern it reminds me of Southern Belles and Gone with the Wind.
Knowing the difference between these I think is very important, just because it can be very offensive to a person. There is a big difference