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Udink family’s vanity license plates considered offensive

State dissects Dutch name

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

MERLIN, Oregon - The state of Oregon has ordered a family to turn in the vanity license plates on its cars because their Dutch last name, which is printed on the plates, is similar to an offensive word.

The plates, UDINK1, UDINK2 and UDINK3 are on the vehicles of Mike and Shelly Udink and their son Kalei. Two of the plates are five and seven years old. One was issued last year.

Last summer, Kawika Udink’s application for UDINK4 was rejected. The state, which owns any plate it issues, ordered that the other three plates be returned.

According to a state official who sits on the panel that approves the requests, DINK has several derogatory meanings. The word can be treated as a verb, which gives it a sexual reference, and also can be a racial slur targeted at the Vietnamese.

House said the “U” in the front could be construed as “You.”

The panel’s ruling surprised Mike Udink, a line foreman for a utility company, who says his is a regular surname in The Netherlands.

Officials say they have a right to censor license plates.