Man forced to surrender his "offensive Star Trek license plate


One of the greatest evils Canada foisted on a vulnerable population was the residential school system. It was paved with good intentions: bringing its aboriginal population to modern schools to assimilate them into modern “European” society, but even putting aside the separation of families, the system was rife with abuse against the children it sought to help.

That’s a wound that’s still fresh, the last school closed in 1996, and it’s perfectly understandable why the word “assimilate” is offensive.


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Is it just me, or has this community taken to flagging instead of debate recently?


I think this is roughly the point where a generally noble impulse jumps the shark.


Well played.


Obviously the guy didn’t set out to offend anyone, it’s not as if he had some deliberately antisemitic slogan or secret white-power code word on his plate, thus using his mandated government plate to preach hate.

However, being assimilated into The Borg would legitimately be offensive if the Borg were real and billions of people disappeared into its machinery. That’s the problem, for Native Americans it was real.


Apparently mine was too.


It’s one thing to be a big Trek fan. It’s something else to decide to get a licence plate based on some of their most famous bad guys. It’s a little like a Christian getting a Satan licence plate.


Yeah, context is key as @Quinquennial points out. And of course the population of Manitoba has 1.4 million aboriginal citizens. I’d get dinged for something antisemitic on a vanity plate, and my state only has ~300k Jewish people in it.

And yes.

Right, so it should only be mildly annoying to the holder of said license plate. I hope he gets a refund for the cost of the vanity plate. Them’s the breaks sometimes.


To that point if I were him that’s ostensibly what my response would be. I’d just /face palm and say “fine. Whatever. This is why we can’t have nice things. Refund my cost”.

This is the world we live in now. Whatever. Let me know when the spaceship arrives to take me off this rock.


I wonder if there has ever been a Star Trek fan who got in hot water over similarly misunderstood cosplay.

“I wasn’t dressing up as a Nazi! I was dressing up as Mister Spock disguised as a Nazi!”


They don’t have to get it for it to not have anything to do with them.

This thing gets a big FFS.


I think some commenters here are suffering from the deal of when you are used to privilege equality feels like oppression.

In the context of Star Trek no not offensive… In the context of what has been done do the native population, well it is offensive.


The word “assimilate” is used in all sorts of different contexts that have nothing to do with Aboriginal N. Americans.


And here I was thinking it was something naughty.


I can speak to this. There are absolutely “Star Trek Fake Nazi” cosplayers. They work on getting the uniforms wrong in exactly the same way that the costume people got the uniforms wrong in the series.

Fun fact: The MP-40 submachine guns in the image are fitted with blank firing devices. You can see how the barrel diameter is reduced by the devices in order to get enough recoil from blanks to cause the gun to cycle normally.


It is also used by the reactionary other kind of “nativists” to push for a Eurocentric white agenda in the Americas, as a counter to immigration.


That’s why there are mods, to arbitrate over flags.

It’s a fair argument that minimizing Aboriginal concern by suggesting their point holds no merit could be construed as victim-blaming. As an Aboriginal myself, I’ve seen no small amount of that. But I don’t think that means there’s no avenue for reasoned discussion on the topic in general (the idea of outrage-as-chilling-effect-on-speech), and I’m going to try and allow that conversation to take place in this topic. We’ll see if I ultimately regret it or not shortly I guess. :slight_smile:


Reminds me of an account I read by a Marvel fan who begged his mom to let him dress up as Red Skull for Halloween when he was a kid.

Golden Age Red Skull.

His mom finally relented, buying him the mask and making the green jumpsuit but drew the line at sewing a giant swastika on the chest. Annoyed and defiant, he found a marker and drew one on himself shortly before heading out for trick-or-treating.

Only years later did he realize the full extent of the horrors associated with that icon or how many adults who saw his costume that night might not appreciate it in the same context and spirit in which it was intended.


Honestly that’s what I thought at first! I saw the As and instantly my mind went there.