Don't Tread On Me

[By Lexicon, Vikrum - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,]

So, before today, did any of you know that Gadsden owned slaves?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is gathering information to determine whether the iconic Gadsden flag is racist and punishable under federal workplace harassment regulations.

The impetus was a Jan. 8, 2014, complaint brought by a black federal employee who was upset by his coworker’s hat, which bore the flag.

The individual who filed the complaint did so because the flag is allegedly an “indicator of white resentment against blacks,” specifically tied to the tea party movement, and that its creator, South Carolina statesmen Christopher Gadsden, owned slaves.

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who specializes in First Amendment issues and runs a blog for The Washington Post, wrote that the case includes no evidence that racial epithets were ever uttered — though some details of the case are not revealed due to secret proceedings — and the EEOC acknowledged that Gadsden created the flag “in a nonracial context” prior to the Revolutionary War.
How likely is it that someone displaying a Gadsden flag knew that Gadsden was a slave-owner if we didn't? I would like to point out that the word "slave" doesn't appear anywhere on the Wikipedia entry for the Gadsden flag. I therefore reason that your average American displaying the flag probably isn't thinking of race or slavery. They're thinking of rebellion against an overweening government.

And that's downright American. It's the core of what America is all about.


Tom said...

I had no idea.

This idea that the Tea Party movement is about white resentment against blacks, though, has gained some currency in some circles. Paul Krugman made that claim in the NYT somewhat recently.

ColoComment said...

Well yeah, don't you see how the Tea Party's generic refrain of "free markets, personal responsibility, and smaller government" morphed into white resentment against blacks? You don't? Neither do I.

I sure am getting tired of the ever-present "tail" of someone's personal "microaggressed" interpretation of some historic item wagging the "dog" of our society's usual and customary understanding of same.

My default is that it's fake, it's pursued by the self-proclaimed "offended" simply for the social upset that's innit, and that at some point someone has to yell, "That's stupid! Stop it already!"

Ymar Sakar said...

Slavery 3.0 is great. Far better than when slaves in 2.0 thought they were slaves. Now the slaves believe they are free.