The ‘Ban It’ Crowd Strikes Again
Without their facts straight, leftists target another flag as racist
Having successfully redefined the display of the Confederate battle flag as racist, regardless of context, the forces of political correctness are now targeting the Gadsden flag, the Revolutionary-era yellow flag emblazoned with a coiled rattlesnake and the words “Dont [sic] Tread on Me.”
Last week it was revealed that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered an investigation into the Gadsden flag as a possibly racist symbol. It is latest in a long line of symbols of American history to be challenged by the emotionally fragile and politically correct masses.
The EEOC is clearly stating that the First Amendment is only as strong as liberals’ thin skin.
Illustrating the ultra-fine, often nonexistent, line between the desire for racial sensitivity and the desire to censor elements of Western history and culture, the EEOC’s ruling notes that the “complainant stated that he found the cap to be racially offensive to African-Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a ‘slave trader & owner of slaves.'”
News of the EEOC’s ruling came only days after it was announced that Yale had formed the Orwellian-sounding “Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming” to discuss renaming its buildings, after a very public but ultimately failed attempt by a group of radical students to rename Calhoun College.
Evidently a building honoring John C. Calhoun, one of the most important and influential American statesmen of the 19th century, is problematic because Calhoun owned slaves. But if the Gadsden flag is racist because its designer owned slaves, and a building is racist because its namesake owned slaves, what then is the Declaration of Independence, whose author owned slaves, or the Constitution of the United States, given that a majority of its signatories owned slaves?
Speaking of the Founding Fathers — in 2015, students at both the University of Missouri and College of William & Mary, launched petitions to remove statues of Thomas Jefferson at their respective universities. That same year, students at Princeton demanded the university remove Woodrow Wilson's name from any and all buildings due to his support for segregation.
The all-out assault on American history seems to have picked up steam after the successful crusade against Confederate imagery which began after a shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. But if the Confederate flag and Gadsden flag are racist, then surely it would follow liberal logic that the American flag is also racist. Indeed, this is exactly what the Left believes. In March 2015, a few months before the Charleston shooting, students at University of California, Irvine voted to remove the U.S. flag from campus.
The Gadsden investigation stems from a 2014 work complaint, in which a black government worker alleged discrimination after a coworker wore a baseball cap that depicted the Gadsden Flag rattlesnake and motto, "Don't Tread on Me."
As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh points out, the EEOC's decision could influence businesses to impose speech restrictions on their employees for fear of harassment and discrimination lawsuits. "Would you [as a business] feel pressured, by the risk of a lawsuit and of liability, into suppressing speech that expresses such viewpoints?" Volokh asks rhetorically, writing for The Washington Post.
Equally disturbing are the implications of the EEOC's reasoning behind its decision. "In light of the ambiguity in the current meaning of this symbol, we find that Complainant's claim must be investigated to determine the specific context in which C1 displayed the symbol in the workplace."
The EEOC is not only asserting the existence of the right not to be offended, but also suggesting that this right takes precedent over the right to free speech. The EEOC is clearly stating that the First Amendment is only as strong as liberals' thin skin.