Last Name “Offensive” on License Plate

Filed under:Language Barrier,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on September 24, 2007 @ 8:01 am

The Udinks of Oregon, father, mother, and son, have had their three license plates, Udink1, Udink2, and Udink3, invalidated by the state for being “offensive.”

I had to check my calender to make sure it wasn’t April 1.

“DINK has several derogatory meanings,” wrote panel member Yvonne Bell. She said it also can be a racial slur, especially toward Vietnamese.

House said the “U” in the front could be construed as “You.” It seems unreal to Mike Udink, whose name is Dutch. He says it is a common name in The Netherlands.

I think we used to call people “dinks” when I was in junior high. I always assumed it had some vague connection to “dork,” which I’ve also read has a vulgar sexual connotation. Did you guys know that when you were calling people “dorks” in high school? Because I never got the impression we knew or cared, it was just an acceptable non-cussword to call people. Wikipedia. Urban Dictionary. While the Wiki doesn’t mention the sexual slang, even the UD has many more connotations other than that. So based on the complaint of some dirty-minded concerned citizens, a family has their surname branded as “offensive” and loses the fun of having personalized license plates. Which is the state’s right, certainly, but doesn’t make it any less silly:

House said the state has the right to censor license plates, because the state owns them. Family names, it appears, are not immune.

“When people drive down the street nobody knows your name,” House said.

“We know some people have names that match something. We’ve also had a lot of references to ecstasy that we’ve pulled back in the past five years, because it became a nickname for a drug,” he said.

Implies they have “a lot” of people whose names either “match” or suggest the word “ecstasy,” doesn’t it? A search of three different forms of that word on Yahoo! people search turned up no people in Oregon.

Questionable action. Dumb justification. Welcome to Oregon.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace