Famous Sayings #156 — ‘Don’t Tread on Me’

July 14, 2019

As the flag says, ‘Don’t tread on me.’ If you try to attack me, I will strike, just like a rattlesnake.

Gadsden flag

This famous saying is somewhat controversial, based on who you ask because it has been connected to racists and reactionaries. However, the slogan dates back at least 245 years.

What Does ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ Mean?

In a general sense, the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me” serves as a warning to people who want to take advantage of someone else or violate their autonomy (Xavier). In short, the slogan means, “Would-be oppressors beware.” If someone tries to hurt someone else, that second person will fight back and won’t back down.

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Why It’s So Hard to Talk About Racism

racism, Jane Elliott, experiment, society, Write Anything Wednesday
Jane Elliott is a person who understands how insidious racism is. In fact, she created an exercise to help others understand, as well. (Taken from a screenshot.)

Why is it so hard to talk about racism no matter where you are? The answer is complicated, but I want to take the time to list my observations on the matter and connect older posts I made which only broached the subject.

Let me start by showing sharing a video. CalicoJack shared this on one of his posts, but I have a different angle to show you.


Think about this video for a moment because I will get back to the premise of that experiment later.

Originally, this post was going to be an open letter to racists. I had already put down a number of thoughts a year ago, but I couldn’t post it.

I didn’t really know how to start or finish the letter, let alone how I wanted to organize my thoughts on the matter.

Also, I know much of what I had to say would only fall on deaf ears.

Additionally, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to make certain thoughts public.

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What I Think About the Black Lives Matter Movement

Black Lives Matter, Jesse Williams, race relations
In 2016, actor Jesse Williams gave an impassioned speech about race relations. He specifically praised the Black Lives Matter movement.

I agree with the message Black Lives Matter espouses, but I’m not in agreement with the overall movement.

This was the position I took for the most part, although this movement was started nearly 4 years ago. I rarely looked into news items involving BLM. So, I couldn’t really know how I felt until I did some much-needed research.

How do I feel about the Black Lives Matter Movement now? It was not an easy question to answer, but I have always taken exception to criticism of its overriding message and the overall movement.

For example:

On April 9, 2016, I came across an article by Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria. The article was entitled, “Why Bill Clinton Is Right About Black Lives Matter.” I didn’t really care for the article, but some of the comments it garnered were even worse.

Originally, I had planned on pulling a few passages from the article and discussing them. But instead, I made a list to give myself time to gather my thoughts on the issue. Unfortunately, I never made the time to start writing about my thoughts until now. But I did go back and examine the one-year-old article, here.

One reason I wanted to make this post (and series of posts, starting with a review of the 1994 crime bill) was because of articles like the one from Romeyn-Sanabria. I feel that the content and the comments left under the article were dripping with ignorance and obfuscation.

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Griffin and Maher: A Week in Comedic Infamy

comedic, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher,racism, controversy, donald trump
The week of May 28-June 3, 2017 is one that will go down in comedic infamy thanks to Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher. Composite image of the two comedians. Left image taken in September 2011; uploaded by gdcgraphics [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. The image on the right was taken in September 2010 and uploaded by Angela George [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Last week, two comedians came under fire for decisions they made. On one hand, we Kathy Griffin pulled a “comedic” stunt many will agree went too far. On the other hand, Bill Maher used a term many consider to be the worst in the English language.

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My List (Write Anything Wednesday)

For this Write Anything Wednesday, I don’t have much to say. I will just use this time to quickly address something. This is not an easy subject to address and it might be uncomfortable for those who read this, but I need to get this off my chest.

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Let’s Just Get a Few Things Straight About Using the N-word

N-word, Booker T, Hulk Hogan, racism
Booker T accidentally used the N-word during a WWE promo for Spring Stampede 1997. (Taken from a screenshot)

How do I feel about people using the N-word?

Before I delve into this topic, I would like to reveal something about myself. I identify as a black American. I have never been comfortable calling myself an “African-American” because, frankly, I’ve never been to Africa and I know I have a mixed ancestry. I suppose I should look into doing a search into my ancestral background some time, but for all intents and purposes, I’m a mutt.

Every now and then, I will hear or read the N-word. Even if it’s not being aimed directly at me, I find it offensive even if uttered by other people who identify as black — and they usually say it with an “a” at the end of it (as opposed to –er), which I find it less offensive in those cases, but wrong still.

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