Generation and Class

Two final categories of distinction with regards to sentiment about the Confederate flag are generation and class. These two categories seem to me somewhat less influential in people's ultimate decisions about how they feel about the flag, but they are nevertheless noticeable blocks of opinion.

First let us deal with the issue of class. Within in the circle of supporters of the Confederate flag, there seems to be two different sets of ideas about the flags place in society. It goes without saying that the Daughters of the Confederacy support the flag in a much different manner than does the Ku Klux Klan or the driver of an old beat up pick up truck sporting a Confederate flag in the back window. Returning to the example of the Southern Rock band, Black Oak Arkansas, Black Oak envokes the flag for the purposes arousing passionate, often violent sentiment about good 'ole backwoods Southern culture. On the other hand, upper-class groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, say or a serious group of historical re-enactors would prefer to reserve the symbol as a solemn memorial to those who fought bravely and loyally for the cause they thought was right. These upper-class groups were the keepers of the flag during the first half of the twentieth century when the flag was not such a part of popular culture, and grimace at its widespread misuse in their opinion.

Along these same lines comes the distinction of age. As was stated earlier in the section on regionalism, the Confederate flag is a somewhat ambiguous symbol of resistence to any sort of authority. Thus, the flag is naturally appealing to hot-blooded youths who wish to rebel against the forces which they feel are trying to control them. Black Oak Arkansas (a bandmember rebel is shown at the left) also appeals to this crowd. The younger and lower class blocks are generally one in the same, though no doubt with some degree of separation. These are the areas of division I can see that most clearly that have influence on people's definitions of what the Confederate flag means to them. Ambiguous as the flag is, everyone has their own opinion about it. But, as a consequence, any true meaning of the flag is impossible to pin down.