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Freedom of speech is once again under attack.  This time the federal government is reviewing your ability to where the Gadsden Flag on a hat.

The Gadsden Flag has emerged over the past few years as the symbol for the Tea Party.  But fact is it stems back to the Revolutionary War.  As shown in the picture, the symbol is a coiled snake atop the words “Don’t Tread on Me.”

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the government body that oversees “hostile work environment” harassment claims against federal agencies, the Gadsden Flag potentially represents racism.

According to Fox News, in early 2016 the EEOC received a complaint from a person using the alias name, “Shelton.”  Apparently, he is an African American, and he finds the Gadsden Flag racially offensive.  He claims his employer, which just so happens to be the federal government, subjected him to racial discrimination when a coworker  was permitted to “repeatedly wear the cap with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag.”

Shelton claims the hat is racist because the guy who designed it in 1775, Christopher Gadsden, was a slave owner. Furthermore, he says today the insignia represents “white resentment against blacks stemming largely from the Tea Party.”

Although the EEOC acknowledged that the Gadsden Flag did not originate with the Tea Party movement, and was created centuries ago “in a non-racial context,” it did find that it could be “interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts.” It’s basis for this finding was a 2014 incident that included white supremacists who draped Gadsden Flags over the dead bodies of two murdered police officers.

The EEOC concluded that the claim “must be investigated to determine the specific context in which [the hat-wearing coworker] displayed the symbol in the workplace,” and called for the gathering of “evidence that would illuminate the meaning conveyed by [the coworker’s] display of the symbol.”



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