A strongly worded bumper sticker is a good enough way to let everyone driving near you know you're an asshole. But the true lowlife knows it's even better to make your rotten thoughts official. That's why one such cretin got their racism sanctioned by the state — temporarily, anyway — in the form of a license plate announcing the driver's true feelings about Muslims.
The "FMUSLMS" license plate was first photographed by St. Cloud resident Haji Yusuf, whose post highlighting the offensive message went viral almost immediately after he posted it online this past weekend.
"While [Donald] Trump is winning," Yusuf wrote, "meanwhile some in St. Cloud don't want to be left behind." His post was recognized and reshared by UniteCloud, the St. Cloud-based anti-racism group that's trying to help that city improve on its long-troubled relationship with its Somali community.
As it turns out, the driver might have just been visiting St. Cloud: The plate was issued in June 2015 out of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's office in Foley. That agency's driver and vehicle services division reviewed the plate and, somehow, no one caught the not-even-thinly veiled racism it entailed. Perhaps they thought it was the call letters to a cool new FM talk station.
The DPS is distancing itself from granting the request to the racist driver, whose identity remains unknown. In a statement issued Monday afternoon, spokesman Bruce Gordon said the plate is "offensive and distasteful," and the state's in the process of revoking its issuance and getting it back off the streets.
“The Department of Public Safety apologizes for this error," Gordon said. "The Driver and Vehicle Services Division is reviewing its process for approving personalized license plates today and will immediately provide additional review and oversight of applications.”
Also disapproving was Gov. Mark Dayton, who chimed in with a statement of his own. Whoever wanted that plate "should be ashamed," said the governor, who recently lent the weight of his office to a public relations campaign to combat anti-Islamic sentiment in Minnesota.
"That prejudice has no place in Minnesota," Dayton said.
The plate's appearance caught the eye of the national Council on Islamic-American Relations, where spokesman Ibrahim Hooper noted that this plate might be a new embarrassment for Minnesota, but is hardly the first of its kind for the United States.
"In an overall atmosphere in which anti-Muslim bigotry is rising, it's somehow seen as, 'This is OK for me to do,' " Hooper told the St. Cloud Times.