Winnipeg Man Has Vanity Plate Referencing Star Trek Recalled Over Complaints Of How Racist It Is

from the resistance-is-futile dept

Here in North America, because 2016 just had to become the most infuriatingly stupid and polarizing year in the history of the multiverse, far too much oxygen was spent on debates over both how much racism was okay on one side and exactly what qualified as racist on the other. It’s one of those frustrating contests with nobody to root for, as half of the population proclaimed that racism was dead and everyone was too stuck up about it while the other side managed to find racism everywhere, introducing into the popular lexicon terms like “privilege” that mostly make me want to put my head in a vice and get to rotating that lever.

Still, this isn’t a debate that should be totally ignored. After all, at its heart is the matter of free speech, not just as a legal framework but also as an ideal that the West tends to claim to hold in high regard. Strangely, one of the beacons of this debate shall now be on the subject of vanity license plates, with a heavy dash of nerd culture thrown in just to make it extra fun. For this story, we go to Winnipeg, where a Star Trek fan received the following vanity plate for his car.

The plate, owned by the unfortunately named Nick Troller, will be instantly recognizable to Star Trek fans, particularly those of us that go back to The Next Generation. The Borg was an alien race that assimilated other races into its hive-mind whatsit and traveled around in big grey cubes, because, you know, aliens. They often communicated such witticisms as “Resistance is futile” and “You will be assimilated.” I imagine to those that are not fans of the series, the vanity plate would probably register as a curiosity. For some in Canada, apparently, it was a racist mantra.

If you’ve existed at all in the modern day political climate you’ll understand how some people who are—rightfully—sensitive to the rise of normalized racism, saw Troller’s plate as problematic. Seeing the plate as a problem some people complained and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) told Troller he had to get rid of it. Troller has since relented to the pressure and gotten rid of the plate for one that says “COLECTV”—the plate still has the bracket sporting the “resistance is futile” saying.

Now, in this hyper-partisan time where everyone is either a racist or an SJW and we all hate each other with the burning passion of eight pissed off suns, it’s no wonder that Troller’s license plate has become an issue and that people on both sides have seized upon it. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is known for taking people to court for denying anti-abortion activists a voice and other free speech issues, now—after advocating for Troller initially—may be taking the case to court.

Ok, let’s just get this out of the way. The license plate isn’t remotely racist and anyone apologizing for some people freaking out and complaining of its racism should stop. Stop and never do that again. For those of us that care about combating actual racism, these hypersensitive offense-magnets are getting in our way and impeding progress, acting as an example for some why real racism is dead. It’s lame and it isn’t to be apologized away.

But it’s also worth noting that something like a vanity plate is plainly a form of speech and having a government strip a citizen of that speech simply because other people are wrong about that speech is flatly insane. Particularly when you have to work really, really hard to convince yourself that the license plate above is racist, and when the acceptable alternative — “COLECTV” — I could easily argue is racist as well were I so inclined. Collecting? Collecting whom, you racist! See?

We can all certainly have an argument over what the current levels of racism are and how they impact our culture or not, but it should be plain that this was a clear case of a government overstepping its bounds.

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Comments on “Winnipeg Man Has Vanity Plate Referencing Star Trek Recalled Over Complaints Of How Racist It Is”

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91 Comments
Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: So Friendly...

By that standard you’d also have to include the US. Like the others it has constitutional protections that can’t be overridden by government. And like the others those rights are nevertheless often overridden. Often based on the scare topic of the day.

(Just this morning I read a story about cartoonist Mike Diana, the first artist in the US to receive a criminal conviction for artistic obscenity. Among other punishments the court barred him from drawing for three years.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: everywhere

“This’s reverse rascism.”

I know you’re being sarcastic, but that phrase really bugs me. Reverse racism is not being racist. The term racism refers to prejudice against a person because of their race, and it applies to a black man being prejudiced against a white man as accurately as it applies in the reverse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: everywhere

The validation of “reverse racism” lies in the inherent and automatic assumption that if someone is accused of being racist they must be white. Reverse racism connotes whites as the target of the racism.

The massive problem with all that is that, in my experience growing up in the northwest US, whites are the least racist.

Also, assimilation is about culture, not race. Two VERY different things.

OA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: everywhere

Reverse racism is not being racist.

The idea of reverse racism has "pure racism" as a major component.

The term racism refers to prejudice against a person because of their race,

Completely wrong. Bigotry is the closest term to what you’re poorly describing. Prejudice is a process of mind, bigotry is social, racism is SYSTEMIC which manufactures the social and state of mind aspects (that’s why it so destructive and reviled).

and it applies to a black man being prejudiced against a white man as accurately as it applies in the reverse.

This is a nonsensical "straw man". When a specific "black man" suffers from racism his response can be composed of any combination of things except he can NOT be racist. The system does not permit that outcome. He would be exposed to very little if any social pressure towards racial dominance attitudes, but there would be plenty of "self-loathing" pressures. And he could not be easily raised to adulthood to take on that mind set.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 everywhere

I have often been told that without the power to oppress, bias against someone on the basis of race cannot be racism. And since black people don’t have the power to oppress, they can therefore never be racist.

Seriously.

So what happens if you have a wealthy, politically connected African-American who has a real hate on for some poor white trailer trash somewhere? Is he racist?

I sometimes bring that out to watch SJW’s brains melt.

OA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 everywhere

I have often been told that without the power to oppress, bias against someone on the basis of race cannot be racism. And since black people don’t have the power to oppress, they can therefore never be racist.

Bias, prejudice, bigotry, racism (and its mirror, "privilege") are real, disparate phenomenon with real disparate effects. You are trying to take the presumption of bigotry and call it racism, I imagine because racism is a powerful term that is useful to co-opt… "I have often been told that 2+2=4".

So what happens if you have a wealthy, politically connected African-American who has a real hate on for some poor white trailer trash somewhere? Is he racist?

No, that’s not what racist means. This example scenario isn’t very good (What is the nature of this hate? What triggered it?), but it doesn’t matter. Possessing some other positive does not make the racial negative not exist. This wealthy AA has to use wealth to partially "work up to zero". Relative to the AA, the "white trailer trash" starts above zero ("privilege" is the mirror to racism), but is harmed by different but related realities.

Phalen (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 everywhere

No, that’s not what racist means

Literally every dictionary disagrees with you.

It’s fine to make up your own definitions for words, but don’t be surprised when people don’t understand what you’re talking about, and don’t be surprised when you get called out on your ignorance. You are describing institutional racism. No single human being can be institutionally racist because, surprise, humans aren’t institutions.

Human beings can be active racists though. It happens all the time. A black man stabbed a white man in my neighborhood for being white. How do I know? He said as much when he did it and when he was arrested. He set out to target a white person that day. He was racist. Full stop.

Is your position that the Korean people who run black people out of Koreatown aren’t racist because they’re even more of a minority than black people (who have no power according to you)?

What about Chinese/Japanese racism? Is it only racism when a Japanese person is racist in Japan and vice versa for a Chinese person?

Your argument is that a person’s particular latitude and longitude position determines whether they’re racist? A white man in China hates Chinese people, but he can’t be racist in that instance according to you. Yet! If he jumps on a plane for about ten hours and arrives in California, and nothing about his mental state has changed, you’re arguing that he magically became a racist as he entered US airspace?

If a white person is attacked on the street by a group of Hispanic people, is that racism? Is it not the group of people who wield the power in that encounter?

Your definition requires way too many qualifiers. It’s obvious that it’s an obfuscation, although to what end I cannot imagine. Can you enlighten why only white people can be racist individuals without invoking institutional racism?

Individuals are racist.

The United States is a country with a history of institutionalized racism.

See? One qualifier required for me to discuss systemic problems, all without dismissing and belittling the experiences of individuals who have suffered through racist violence.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 everywhere

“Completely wrong”

No, completely right. I’d check a dictionary out if I were you.

You’re referring to institutional or cultural racism, which is a different thing. Individuals can sure as hell be racist without another structure helping them.

“This is a nonsensical “straw man”.”

You should definitely read the dictionary more. You’re misidentifying logical fallacies as much as you’re misdefining words.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: everywhere

Political Correctness should be buried, asap. This’s reverse rascism.

Confirmed correct. Political correctness is a product of the New Left and is designed to divide by "othering" non-white Anglo Saxon Protestants on one side and presenting everybody else as an easily-offended cat on a hot tin roof with a hair-trigger temper. I am perfectly capable of being respectful to my bretheren (and sisters) of colours and creeds that differ from my own. And for the record, nobody ever bothers to consult the "protected people to ask how they prefer to be described. I’ll spare you the rant because it would go on for years…!

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As far as I can make out, the understanding is that it’s being portrayed as telling immigrants to ‘assimilate to the local culture’.

Which, as a British guy in the state of GA is bollocks. I’m teaching people how to make proper hot tea, how to spell correctly, what actual manners are etc. And I’m aided by other Brits in the area. muahahaha. Someone will assimilate, and if you’re going to name a state after a King of England, you’ll jolly well behave like an Englishman.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As far as I can make out, the understanding is that it’s being portrayed as telling immigrants to ‘assimilate to the local culture’.

Nope. It’s about the forced assimilation of the aboriginal population. The residential school system was a big part of it. Created by the Department of Indian Affairs and administered by Christian churches for the purpose of removing children from the influence of their own culture and assimilating them into Canadian culture.

Being church-run, today those schools are known for their common sexual and physical assault.

More prison than school, the kids suffered from malnourishment and harsh discipline that would not have been tolerated in any other school system. Parents were often not allowed to visit, or were required to communicate with their children in English, which the parents often didn’t know.

It was all about assimilation – that was the word often used – with physical violence for speaking their own languages or for practicing their own faith or culture.

Jeff Patterson (user link) says:

By this logic, anyone with a Darth Vader-related plate (or t-shirt, or lunchbox, or cosplay) is an apologist for the murder of all followers (including children) of one specific creed.

This court case SHOULD consist of a judge laughing his or her ass off uncontrollably for several days, but it won’t, because touchy people cannot be held accountable for their ignorance of decades-old pop culture references.

Rekrul says:

The plate, owned by the unfortunately named Nick Troller, will be instantly recognizable to Star Trek fans, particularly those of us that go back to The Next Generation.

I go back to The Animated Show in 1973. 🙂

Well, technically I go back six years before that, but that’s the oldest Star Trek show I can claim to have watched when it was new.

Anyway, I’m at a loss to see how his plate was in any way racist. Were the people who complained even asked to provide an explanation?

Anonymous Champion says:

trek is dead

its sjwed to death now and cbs paramount are fuc.wits that wont let fans do shit they want…so middle finger and who cares

this is the kinda shit storm stupid our govt is up too….

another example is my doctor actually said the exact phrase in front of another doctor

“Due to the political climate would YOU mind taking ten less of your pain meds hits month and ten less next month”

I replied “what? What the hell you mean ….?”
So its not about what is ok for me what helps me get buy in life its about some political agenda in Ottawa about bullshit.

welllllll i had enough i went and posted a video showing a cartel farmer thanking the canadian and american govts for doing the above bullshit which, “ten years ago all we sold was weed , there was no money in this ( heroin ) “.

Which i take a weak form(percacet) which your more apt to die from the aceteminaphine in it cause you need to many( eats away at your stomach) which i have faithfully quit taking for a week of every month for the past 16 years and have had no problems with the law….

So hte policy of canada atm is to legalize weed and hand the drug dealers all us whom were getting prescription medicine long term to drug dealers WHO btw may or may not spike your drugs with an extremely deadly form a pain medicine known as fentanyl which could kill you….

FUCK THE AMERICAN AND CANADIAN GOVTS

This is 100% bullshit and it needs ot get addressed quickly

YOU ALL ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYONE ON OF US THAT IS IN SUCH PAIN WE NEED RELIEF….

Mind you the american system is not same as canada you already dont care about your people enough….who cares if some people in pain die ….

OH and the drug they want to replace my meds that ive had no issues taking for 16 years…

one thats first two side effects i read are :

SUICIDE or EXTREME AGRESSION

its a nerve pill
fucking with my brains….

well what do you think im feeling mikey

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: trek is dead

“its sjwed to death now”

It always amuses me when so-called Trek fans start bitching about this. Yes, the show that started with racial and sexual equality in a utopian Earth society where we’ve overcome all our own petty differences is now problematic because of people fighting for social justice. The show that became infamous for the first interracial kiss on TV is now worthless because they put a non-white female in charge for the new TV series. You tell yourself that.

If you ever actually watched the show, you missed a lot of the things that made it in the first place.

“OH and the drug they want to replace my meds that ive had no issues taking for 16 years…”

Well, the current one clearly isn’t working any more. I hope you get the help you need.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re: trek is dead

I don’t really ever recall Trek being “infamous” for that. It might have caused a minor uproar for a few moments 50 years ago. It was long forgotten by the 70s by the time Trek was nearly dead the first time around.

Some people are starting to confuse Trek with a religion and building up a mythology over it.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 trek is dead

Nonsense. I was around in the early ’70s. An interracial kiss was still a big deal even years later. Putting a Russian – in the age of anti-Soviet fears – on the bridge was a big deal. Let alone a black woman and an Asian as senior bridge crew.

Even Spock being interracial got pushback from the studio. I recall an interview with Gene Roddenberry where he described a studio exec telling him that having an alien on the show was expected, "but you wouldn’t want your sister to marry one." Roddenberry realized that "he had created a whole new form of intolerance."

20 years later in 1986, Star Trek: The Voyage Home showing an east Indian starship captain was a big deal. It seems silly now, but back then a visible minority shown in in a command position – science fiction or otherwise – was a milestone for Hollywood.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: trek is dead

Your post is precisely the problem. I see a bunch of JJ nonsense in the new trailers and pretty much every mistake made in the last 30 years of Trek. It seems completely divorced from the original Trek. Fan films seem like a better alternative.

Then you’ve got the genius that decided this should be an exclusive of a single channel network streaming service.

The owner of the franchise is even attacking parody works.

The “identity politics” surrounding the captain is the LEAST of that show’s problems.

Your attempt to turn this into an “identity politics” issue is is just more of the same current liberal nonsense and complete abdication of personal responsibility. “It’s someone else’s fault. And they’re racist”.

Anonymous Champion says:

p.s.

the equiv of amount a heroin i take is about .65 a gram

so if i have to go to a dealer in canada

A) i wont be able to by this in pill form at my 5 mg level
B) it wont be covered by a drug plan or ohip this costs me cash
C) you cant by .65 of a gram you need to by at minimum a gram
D) i dont use needles before so wtf time to learn?
E) Justin trudeau is a idiot….im not alone they are doing this massively to people as they get ready to legalize pot and shove all these gang guys at selling me and others our new medicine …heroin from someone whom may just kill you one day buy dropping in a grain a fentanyl on you.

/end rant

Anonymous Coward says:

Kill the Indian, save the man

FYI, assimilation was real. You know, like that old chestnut the Dawes Act. It may mean nothing to you, but the history of assimilation policies in North America is not so old yet that everyone has forgotten. There are surely people still alive who had their language beaten out of them at an Indian school.

So, the thoughtful analysis is that while it is understandable there are people who would be bothered to see such a license plate, the licensee has clearly taken steps to identify the wholly unrelated meaning of the plate. Thus should the response have been.

Although, despite the Borg having more screen time on Voyager, citing it as the inspiration for the plate is just wrong.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Kill the Indian, save the man

There are surely people still alive who had their language beaten out of them at an Indian school.

Native Americans are a very different case from present day immigrants – remember THEY were the indigenous people WE were the immigrants. The people who should have assimilated were the european immigrants.

There is always a duty on the incomers to respect the way of life of their hosts and to make concessions to it – not the other way around.

The fact that the european colonists in the Americas failed utterly completely and abysmally in this still doesn’t invalidate the principle when they are the established community.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Kill the Indian, save the man

Why the First Nations moniker, when they are just as much immigrants as anyone else?

What makes one immigrant more special than another? What makes one born in region more special than another born in that same region?

We are all human, we have the same colour blood running through our hearts, we breath the same air, we have the same colour palms and soles, so why are we making these distinctions?

Regardless, we are all made in the image of God, fallen that we may be. He came and died for us, to save our stinking miserable lives so that we can have hope for a greater future. He thinks of us highly enough, precious enough that He would do everything needed to give us the opportunity to choose Him above all else. He made sure that there was no difference between us, no male and no female, no free and no slave, no Jew and no Gentile. Just sons for the Father God of all.

When we make these artificial differences between us, we head down road to conflict and strife. Hatred has been with us from the beginning, Cain hated Abel and killed his own brother over a what he felt was a slight. We carry this on today – those in power hate those over whom they have power. Race, religion, politics, economics, science, education, medicine, city, country are all avenues that are used to bring about strife, when it is not meant to be so.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Kill the Indian, save the man

“Why the First Nations moniker, when they are just as much immigrants as anyone else?”

Well, were they the first immigrants, who were murdered and subjugated by newcomers long after they had settled their culture, or were there other humans before them? If they were the first, you have your answer.

“religion… are all avenues that are used to bring about strife”

While the full phrase is certainly not untrue, I found the inclusion of religion amusing after you just spent several paragraphs of religious preaching.

Especially since reason why the First Nations people are finding the term involved here so offensive is because of what the religion you’re trying to proselytise did to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Kill the Indian, save the man

While the full phrase is certainly not untrue, I found the inclusion of religion amusing after you just spent several paragraphs of religious preaching.

You’re making an assumption that the "religious" groups who did the subjugating are followers of Jesus Christ. Not every who calls Him Lord are actually His. He warns of this and the consequences that follow.

Secondly, religious preaching is done by many who are secularists and atheists. Everyone has a god, including every single atheist, humanist, communist, capitalist, hedonist, spiritualist, pagan, etc, etc, etc. Your god is what or whom you serve foremost, what or whom you worship and bow down to. When someone says that they do not have a god, you can talk to them long enough and you’ll be able to find what god they worship.

There are many who purport to worship one god and in their hearts they worship another.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Kill the Indian, save the man

“You’re making an assumption that the “religious” groups who did the subjugating are followers of Jesus Christ. Not every who calls Him Lord are actually His. He warns of this and the consequences that follow.”

Ah, straight into “no true Scotsman”!

“Secondly, religious preaching is done by many who are secularists and atheists.”

Then into “it’s OK for us to be despicable human beings, because those guys do it too!”

“When someone says that they do not have a god, you can talk to them long enough and you’ll be able to find what god they worship.”

Oh, and then “if people say they don’t think like my people, they must be lying!”.

It’s like a chocolate selection box full of misdirection and logical fallacies. Delicious.

The only honest thing you’ve stated is that religion is a source of many of the problems with the world. You’re just not honest enough to accept that this applies as much to your chosen religion as it does to everyone else’s. But, you’re too far gone to understand that life without organised religion is possible. Let me guess – you’re part of one of those protestant sects created 1800-1900 years after Christ died, but you’ll claim that it’s nevertheless the one true faith that he demands you follow?

Discuss It (profile) says:

It's about the meme

These days, it’s all about the meme.

A food and history poster to YouTube posted about a dish called “Orange Fool” from George Washington’s time. Many thought it was a critique of President Trump. It wasn’t. Yet that didn’t keep the “rip and tear” fanatics from disapproving or approving.

Yet it had nothing to do with politics today. Indeed, it was a desert dish. Nothing more, nothing less. It almost forced the poster to stop posting at all, he was so heart broken over those that had harsh words to say. He may yet still stop posting. That would be a shame.

I think the cause of politics has become not “What’s best for all of us” to “How can I grind your face in the dirt”.

That is not helpful.

Life is the art of finding what works for all of us. It’s not about “winning” or “losing” – it’s about how we live together and work together.

I don’t consider it a “win” for me if you are not included. It’s not a “win” for you if I’m left without a reasonable voice.

Realize that Colbert or Alex Jones are not news reporters. They are entertainers. Don’t take my word for it, explore the metadata. They’ll tell you they don’t report the news.

The most dangerous thing is to stop thinking. The worst outcomes are from not listening.

Stop. Think. Listen. Think more.

Thinking is hard work. It’s easy to let someone else set the tone and outcomes. But they don’t have your interests to heart. They only want ratings to sell ads.

DarkKnight (profile) says:

BS

Anyone who think this license plate is “Racist”, is reaching for into the realm of “I need drugs”. It’s about the BORG. Nothing else. Actual racism is something else, entirely. All this bloke has to do in court is show one clip from the Star Trek Next Generation TV show of the 90’s, to make it clear that this plate is NOT racist. Done. Over. Onto something else to complain about that isn’t likely to be racist….

Keith says:

Meanwhile in Nova Scotia...

While this version of the issue seems fairly open-and-shut, there’s a more difficult and nuanced version happening on Canada’s east coast that I haven’t seen Techdirt reporting on.

In summary, a man named Lorne Grabher got a vanity plate with his surname printed on it. The problem, of course, is that when “GRABHER” is spelled out in all-caps, it starts to look like an exhortation to re-enact one of Donald Trump’s most infamous boasts. Police ordered him to remove his licence plate on the grounds that it was offensive, and later separately ordered him remove a separate vanity plate he later attached to the front of his car. He is now taking the case to court with help from none other than the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the same organization referenced above.

I have mixed feelings about how this case will go. With “ASIMIL8”, combined with the Star Trek frame, it is obvious that the intent is benign (although it could be less so if the frame was removed). With “GRABHER”, it seems offensive and potentially threatening unless you know that “Grabher” is a surname – which, prior to these news stories, most people did not. But at the same time, it is still a legitimate surname and rightfully a source of pride for Mr. Grabher.

The latest news in the Grabher matter: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/grabher-asked-to-remove-licence-plate-again-1.4139827

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Meanwhile in Nova Scotia...

It really boils down to the question of what matters in these cases – the intent of the message or the way it’s perceived by others. The authorities in both cases seem to be erring on the side of protecting the people who are offended over the right of the person to broadcast a message with no intention of causing offence.

I’m not sure what standard should be used or why such supposed offensiveness wasn’t picked up on when the plate was issued, but if the plates are causing complaints I can see why the court would rule this way. I can also understand why the people who own the plates are angry and fighting back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile in Nova Scotia...

I’m not sure what standard should be used or why such supposed offensiveness wasn’t picked up on when the plate was issued

The person reviewing Grabher’s application would be aware of his name, unlike people seeing the car. ASIMIL8 may have been reviewed by a Star Trek fan, or more likely by someone who inferred no negative meaning from it (it’s too subjective—but in the context of a Borg-themed frame should be OK).

crade (profile) says:

Usually I can at least follow these hyper sensitive complaints.. I don’t even get this one.. Is it the actual borg that are supposed to be racist? is the word Assimilate by itself supposed to be racist regardless of context? If so, against what? Is it supposed to point to Nick wanting Canada to be more of a melting pot and less of a mosiac? There is some sort of context here that I am missing.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“is the word Assimilate by itself supposed to be racist regardless of context?”

I’m guessing this. From other comments here it seems that similar sentiments are often addressed to native populations. I’m not sure if it’s the same in Canada, but I know that this kind of thing is also often addressed toward immigrants in the US/UK, and often not aimed at white people.

I suppose it just boils down to knowledge and culture – if you either don’t know of the Borg or they’re not the first thing you think of when hearing the word “assimilate”, you might believe it to have the racist rather than nerdy connotation (especially if the frame that provides context for the plate is removed).

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, context is still important. Seeing the word in the context of food, academic discussion, Star Trek, etc. gives the word a slightly different connotation. The word is generally inoffensive when taken in context.

However, a licence plate does not give context. Without context, it’s down to the person seeing it as to which connotation it’s given. One of those connotations is racist.

Now, you can certainly argue that in this case it’s the person assuming a racist context who is at fault and not the licence plate holder or issuer. I’d agree. But, this is a quirk of the English language – if a word can be benign or offensive depending on context and the context is removed, some people will find it offensive even if that’s not the intent.

Chuck says:

Bad Apples

This entire thing reminds me of the problem with cops in America right now: a few bad apples spoil the bunch. When you have bad apples, the idea is to immediately throw them out before they have even a moment to pass whatever ails them (usually worms, in the case of apples) along to adjacent apples. I say this because it’s amazing how badly people are capable of misinterpreting that analogy these days.

With cops, so too it should be with social progressives. I’m a liberal. I’m proud of that. “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards progress” they say, and I’m proud to be on the side of history that is destined to win, eventually.

But there is such a level of absolutism that some progressives have that it really does more harm than good. Do the people of Winnipeg really believe that pissing off Trekkies is going to do them any good? Seriously?

And here’s another example. I live in a part of Alabama where there’s a single family – a black family, since I guess now it’s alright to use the term “black” again (a shame, since I’d just gotten used to african-american) – who owns every single McDonald’s within about 45 miles. They bought the rights to 5 counties back when McDonald’s would actually sell exclusive area rights to a franchise, and they’ve kept them.

As a progressive, I want to be happy about this. As a customer, it infuriates me.

Why, you ask? Because every time they hire a single white employee – and it’s always only one at a time – no matter how perfect they work, no matter how right they get my order, no matter what percentage of the time the other, yes, black, employees get my order wrong – and it’s easily 70% of the freaking time – the white person is ALWAYS fired in LESS than 2 months, while the same black employees who’ve been f**king up my order for the past 12 years or more are STILL working there.

I hate this, not because they’ve somehow managed to hire the most incompetent black people on earth (though they have, really. I’ve worked at 7 or 8 different places with black co-workers and they were often the most productive people there. these people at McDonald’s are the exception, not the rule.) but because every time I drive off with half my order wrong, I have this thought:

“No, reverse racism is not a thing, it’s a bulls**t construct developed by horrible people to justify even worse behavior.”

“Except here.”

And I really, really, REALLY don’t want to think that last part, but it’s true.

Bad apples strike again.

Anon says:

Yes and No

First… Assimilation, and the Residential School system intended to teach the Indians to become just like white people – is still a *very* sore point with the native Canadian population, 40 years after it mostly ended. Children were often forcibly removed from their parents; beaten if they did not speak English; being from reserves many miles (or hundreds of miles) from home, were not allowed to visit home very much; and worst, in an environment where priests, nuns, and ministers were in complete charge of unaccompanied children, sexual and physical abuse were rampant. “Assimilation” was the description of this policy. It resulted in a generation or two of well educated natives who hated the white man and without an early family life, lack parenting skills – blamed for many of the problems on reserves today.

Plus- most importantly – Canada does NOT have free speech. (google David Ahenakew ) Freedom of expression, offensive or not, takes a back seat to many other social and legal demands in a way that the USA with their First Amendment, does not. “Hate speech” can be prosecuted, for no other reason than it is hate speech. What qualifies as hate speech can be defined by the political correctness movement of the day…

OTOH, we are legalizing marijuana, so that’s a plus.

Anonymous Hero says:

makes sense

This all makes sense to me except for one minor detail.

> If you’ve existed at all in the modern day political climate you’ll understand how some people who are—rightfully—sensitive to the rise of normalized racism, saw Troller’s plate as problematic.

I still don’t see how ASIMIL8 is offensive or racist.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: makes sense

I still don’t see how ASIMIL8 is offensive or racist.

Think of the term "White Pride." An outsider with no awareness of its history would question why it’s offensive when "Black Pride" isn’t. Fill them in on the history of the term and those who tend it use it, and its a different matter.

The same goes for "All Lives Matter." True, and a commendable attitude. But it looks damned ugly when you look at the folks using it in denial of the well-documented added risks black people face from police.

In Canada, for the aboriginal population, "assimilation" is much the same. For them the term is about a century of children being seized and shipped off to residential schools to force them to assimilate into European culture. Kept away from their parent for years and forbidden to use their native language or practice their native culture. Often backed by physical and sexual abuse.

If a TV show popularized "White Pride" in a science fiction context and someone put it on their vehicle, sure, they should have every right to. But it’s understandable that someone might object.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: makes sense

Things like All lives matter and Blue lives matter are only a problem if BLM is inherently racist to begin with.

If BLM isn’t inherently racist, then the correct response to either of those is simple “sure, what’s your point”. A butt hurt response only confirms that racist nature of the original.

Only black lives matter. Not whites. Not other minorities.

It turns a problem that actually impacts a wide range of people and turns it into flaming racists narcissism.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: makes sense

“Only black lives matter. Not whites. Not other minorities.”

But, that’s not what the name means. It literally means “black lives matter as much as anyone else’s”. As anyone who saw why the cause started and what it was in response to should know.

The problem is, some racists deliberately took the name out of context to pretend that it was some kind of black supremacist movement. It wasn’t. it was simply a reaction to the public executions of black people in similar situations to those where white suspects had been allowed to walk away from unharmed. Anyone who pushes All/Blue Lives Matter either don’t understand the original complaint or are offended that black people would be treated as equals.

The sad thing is, the whole idiocy could have been avoided by adding a single world. Calling it Black Lives Also Matter would have clarified the position, and given it an amusing if ironic acronym (BLAM!). But, because some people are too stupid to understand context, we have movements opposing equal rights for black suspects by people who are supposedly not racists because they’ve mentally inserted the work “only” instead of “also”. It’s bizarre.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Abuse

> But it’s also worth noting that something like a vanity
> plate is plainly a form of speech and having a government
> strip a citizen of that speech simply because other
> people are wrong about that speech is flatly insane.

It’s even more insane than that. Apparently in Canada, it only takes *one* person to be offended and register a complaint about your tag and they revoke it.

Seems like system ripe for abuse to me.

sikak iskwew says:

of course its racist. canada is a racist country filled with racist white people whose entire presence on indigenous homelands is premised on genocide and the belief in white supriority. i mean, your forefathers were prefectly fine with mass murdering, displacing, molesting, raping, etc entire populations of indigenous peoples and then stealing their lands and blaming them for what your ancestors did.

of course white racists in canada dont even have the courage of their convictions to admit their racism so we have people practicing passive-aggressive coded racism, like this license plate.

ya’ll are sick fucks.

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